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

By Valdez Fish Derbies
For the Star 

Record set in Valdez Halibut Derby Sunday with 374 flat fish

Ladies prepare to take the spotlight for the Women's Silver Derby


August 9, 2017

Frieda Wiley wasn't even supposed to go fishing Sunday.

When her husband had a cancellation on his charter boat, she got the opportunity to go. Now the 374 pound halibut she reeled in stands a good chance of winning $15,000 in the Halibut Derby - and it set the record for the largest halibut on record for the derby.

Wiley said she has been waiting 20 years to catch this fish and it took her 45 minutes of hard reeling to bring it in.

"My back started spazzing out a little bit and my arm was starting to shake" she said. "Once I hooked it, I felt the head shake and I knew it was something large".

Wiley's halibut measured 91 inches long and towered over her as she smiled and accepted congratulations from the growing crowd at the Valdez Harbor.

Although Wiley was excited about catching the big one, she said she was originally planning to go out silver salmon fishing.

"I got my halibut derby season ticket the first day of the derby and I got my silver salmon derby ticket when that derby started," she said. " I can't wait to go fishing in the Women's Silver Salmon derby."

Some very nice silver salmon have come into Port Valdez and Wiley said they saw them jumping in the Gulf.

Photo courtesy Valdez Fish Derbies

Frieda Wiley hauled in this 374 pound halibut Sunday, setting a Valdez Halibut Derby record and - mostly likely - $15,000.

Valdez Fish Derbies weigh-in coordinator Dana Morales said most of the daily winners have been in the 10 to 12 pound range.

"The fishing should be good for the Women's Silver Salmon Derby on the twelfth," Morales said.

The Women's Silver Salmon Derby is this Saturday, with an opening ceremony Friday night. Last year Nana Matsui of Valdez won the Derby and was crowned Queen of the Silver Salmon Sisterhood with her 15.90 pound silver salmon. The biggest silver salmon caught in the Women's Derby was an 18.84 pound silver caught by Betty Valdes of Eagle River back in 2010.

Registration is currently underway for the Women's Derby upstairs in the new Prospector building on Egan Drive. The theme this year is "Adventure on the High Seas" and there will be a group costume contest Friday. Live music is planned for Saturday and derby organizers are expecting another exciting year.


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