By Valdez Fish Derbies
For the Star 

No joshing: halibut derby off to a big start

Ten thousand in cash will replace truck raffle for 2015 season


Photo courtesy Valdez Fish Derbies

Josh Hughes of Wasilla is currently leading the derby with a 123.6 pound halibut he caught May 27 aboard the "Jaime Lynn."

Warm weather and an early spring have given Valdez charters and boat owners an opportunity to get their boats into the water and get fishing a bit early.

Harbormaster Jeremy Talbott said he has seen a lot of private boaters hitting the waters to set pots for shrimp and has already seen two 75 pound halibut come across the docks.

The Halibut Derby began Saturday, May 23 and the leaderboard is dominated by men named Josh. Young Josh Hughes of Wasilla is currently leading the derby with a 123.6 pound halibut he caught May 27 aboard the "Jaime Lynn." Josh Kramer of Fredricksburg, Texas is currently in second place with a 116 pound halibut he caught May 25. Finally, Josh Wendt of North Pole is in third place with a 109.4 pound halibut he caught May 23 aboard the "Aleisha."

Charter Captains in Valdez are also preparing for a busy season as anglers have high hopes of being the winner of the $15,000 first place prize in the Valdez Halibut Derby. A ticket costs $10 for the day or $50 for the season and must be purchased before heading out on the water. Ticket sale locations can be found at The limit for halibut in Prince William Sound is still two per person, and one of those fish can be

no longer than 29 inches in length. The derby shack is located kitty corner from the Harbormasters office.

In addition to the grand prize of $15,000, there will be a second place prize of $5,000 and third place of $2,000 for catching the largest three fish of the season. Halibut derby anglers can also win weekly first and second place prizes in the derby. The Halibut Hullabaloo is slated for June 12-21. The angler that catches the largest halibut during this period will win $1,000 in addition to the daily prizes.

This year, the Valdez Fish Derbies will say goodbye to the truck raffle and hello to $10,000 cash. Every daily derby ticket purchased equals one raffle ticket, and each season ticket purchased equals five raffle tickets for the $10,000 drawing at the end of the season.

The Kids Pink Salmon Derby has been set for Saturday, July 18 and will feature first, second and third place prizes in four different age divisions. The Kids derby is free and open to kids age 5 to 16 years of age. The Silver Salmon Derby in Valdez will again boast a $15,000 first place prize and daily prizes. It runs July 18 through September 6. The Annual Valdez Women's Derby is slated for Saturday, August 8, with an opening ceremony Friday, August 7.

There will be a $500 prize for the vendor and operator selling the winning derby ticket in both derbies. For more information on the Valdez Derbies, visit:

Photo courtesy Valdez Fish Derbies

Josh Wendt of North Pole is currently in third place in the Valdez Halibut Derby after landing this 109.4 pounder May 23 aboard the "Aleisha."


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