Press release from the Valdez halibut derby:
Catching a large fish without a derby ticket can happen to anyone at any time. An angler who has been visiting Valdez for years put his boat in the water and did “just a little fishing,” according Mike Waller of Easy Freeze.
“He was just getting his boat in the water and didn’t expect to catch that big a fish where he did,” Waller said.
Waller wouldn’t give up where the big fish was hooked and landed, but he does have a picture of the angler with his 276.5-pound catch. A fish that big would have won the weekly prize, taken the lead in the Valdez Halibut Derby and had a chance to win the $15,000 first place prize.
As it stands, a 158.3-pound halibut caught by Gregg Wojcik of Delta is currently in first place in the overall derby.
The 11-day Halibut Hullabaloo tournament kicked off Thursday, June 9, and will run through Sunday, June 19. The angler catching the largest halibut during that period will win $1,000 in cash plus the weekly first place prize package worth more than $300.
Currently Kathy Young of Fairbanks is leading the women's Halibut Hullabaloo tournament with a 112.9-pound fish. Last year’s winner weighed in at 199.5 pounds.
There are no special rules or tickets to buy, anglers simply need to purchase a season halibut derby ticket for $50 or a daily halibut derby ticket for $10 and weigh-in their fish during the Halibut Hullabaloo.
Anglers are continuing to catch halibut around Knight Island, Main Bay vicinity, Middle Ground Shoal and near ocean entrances according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G). Pacific cod are still being caught in large numbers throughout the Sound. The ADF&G is also reporting a few kings being caught at the Valdez release site. Hatchery fish returning to the Valdez release sites should continue to show up throughout June.
Wojcik reeled in his fish aboard the Dan Orion on June 3. Close behind in second place is John Tester of North Pole with a 153.8-pound fish caught aboard the Dan Orion on May 25. Holding tight to third place in the overall standings is local Valdez resident Carrie Carpenter with a 138.4 pound halibut she brought in aboard the Aleasha.
The complete list of Valdez Fish Derbies prizes for both the halibut and silver salmon derbies can be found at www.valdezfishderbies.com. The Kids Pink Salmon Derby is set for Saturday, July 16, and the Women’s Silver Salmon Derby is set for Saturday, August 13, with a luau theme this year.
Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st -- Gregg Wojcik, Delta, 158.3 lbs., June 3, Dan Orion
2nd -- John Tester, North Pole, 153.5 lbs., May 25, Dan Orion
3rd -- Carrie Carpenter, Valdez, 138.4 lbs., May 29. Aleasha
Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – Week #3
1st -- Shane Beck, Ft. Wainwright, 129.6 lbs., June 5, Go Get Her
2nd -- Ken Delovitch, Fairbanks, 126.2 lbs., June 8, Dan Orion