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

By Valdez Fish Derbies
For the Star 

California woman takes the lead in the Halibut Derby with 285 pounder

Quebec man wins Big Prize Friday with a 11.44 pound coho as silvers come in


August 1, 2018

Patricia Johnson of Clovis, California got lucky on July 26, when she hooked into a 285.8 pound halibut aboard the Harvester putting her into the lead of the 2018 Valdez Halibut Derby.

Doug Cranor's month-long lead has finally been broken.

In an interview with the captain of the "Harvester," Buddy Scott, he was asked the ten-thousand-dollar question: "Is winning the derby a matter of skill or luck?"

"I'm going to have to say luck today because we have fished that area several times and just happened to have the ol' girl swim through," Scott said.

When asked what putting a big fish on the leaderboard meant to Buddy, he replied: "Up to ten thousand dollars for her and [it] makes me happy because it's my first year as an actual captain."

Johnson's catch also landed her first place in the weekly derby, putting a little over 100 pounds between her and the second-place weekly winner, Timothy Schackman of North Pole. He reeled in a 185.4-pound halibut on July 23, aboard the "Bold Eagle."

Silver Salmon Derby

In addition to winning the first-place daily prize, Bernard Roberge of Quebec won Big Prize Friday with a 11.44 pound silver salmon and also took home $500 cash in addition to his daily prize winnings.

In first place overall in the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby is Darlene Juve of Decorah, Iowa, with a 14.98 pound silver salmon she reeled in on July 24 aboard the "Orion." Lavonne Kennedy of Valdez holds second place overall with an 11.92 pound silver salmon she caught on July 21, aboard the "Lady Lavonne." Holding on to third place overall, Steve DuBois of Livingston, Montana reeled in a 11.44 pound silver salmon on July 26 aboard the "Aquila."

Valdez Fish Derbies

Patricia Johnson of Clovis, California may have been lucky to hook onto this 285.8 pound halibut – but it takes skill to reel it in.

As the silvers return to Port Valdez in larger numbers during the coming weeks, expect the size of daily winners to increase. The largest fish on record to win the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby was a 22.14 pound fish, but it doesn't always take a huge fish to win the Valdez Derbies. The smallest silver salmon to win the derby, according to records dating back to 1971, is Jim Burzinski of Valdez who reeled in a 15.11 silver to win back in 1971. Visit the Valdez Fish Derbies Silver Salmon Derby "Previous Winners" page for complete list of winners and weights.

The Valdez Women's Silver Salmon Derby should bring in some bigger fish, and a lot of lady anglers. The opening ceremony is scheduled for Friday, August 10, and a closing awards ceremony on Saturday, August 11. The theme of this year's Women's Derby is "Circus" and there will be a group costume contest Friday. Live music and awards are planned for Saturday and derby organizers are expecting another exciting year.


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