The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Valdez Fish Derbies
For the Star 

Clock is winding down on Valdez fish derbies

There is still plenty of time to catch the biggest fish this year


When Brad Burch got to Port Valdez last week, there was a Bobcat waiting to haul his catch off the boat.

His halibut measured was an impressive 87.5 inches and weighed in at 296.2.

Burch is the new leader in the halibut derby as of Tuesday morning and is just set to win $15,000 cash - if his mammoth fish hangs onto the lead through the end of the Valdez Halibut Derby, which ends Sunday.

Burch, of Clackamas, Oregon, says he fishes Valdez often and is confident in his catch.

"Of course it will," he said when asked if he believes his catch will be this year's big one.

If he wins the $15,000, Burch said he would give some to his captain from the "Magic Dragon" and then pay off some bills.

But anything can happen between now and Sunday.

Photo courtesy Valdez Fish Derbies

A bobcat was used to haul the 296.2 pound halibut caught last week by Brad Burch of Clackamas, Oregon - a strong contender for the top fish haul in the Valdez halibut derby.

There have only been five silver salmon weighing in at less than 16.48 pounds in the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby since it's inception in 1977, but Karen Phillips' 16.48 pound silver caught August 19 has dominated the leaderboard for almost two weeks. Lots of silvers are being caught but they're running small this year. As is the norm for this time of the year, there was a report of a 17 pound silver salmon caught without a derby ticket.

This Friday, anglers will have a chance to win an additional $500 during Big Prize Friday. The person who buys a derby ticket and brings in the biggest silver salmon Friday will win $500 in cash in addition to the daily prizes. The Valdez Halibut and Silver Salmon Derbies end Sunday, Sept. 6, at noon. The raffle for $10,000 cash will be held that day, after the close of the derby. Everyone who purchased a Valdez derby ticket will be entered in that drawing.

Silver and halibut derby winners will be awarded and the drawing will be held at the awards party Sunday at 6 p.m. at the Elks Lodge. The truck drawing will commence at 7 p.m.


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