Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 9:39 PM on Wednesday, May 4, 2011

120.8-pound halibut leads derby

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff writer


Photo provided

Shane Brooks of Homer, left, is currently in first place in the 2011 Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby. He hooked the 120.8-pound lunker Monday while fishing with his father, Richard, back right, and brother, Capt. Josh Brooks, front right. Richard currently holds third place.

With the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby less than a week old, a 120.8-pound halibut caught by Shane Brooks of Homer claims top spot on the board at derby headquarters on the Spit.

The fish was caught Monday while Shane Brooks was fishing with his brother, Capt. Josh Brooks, aboard the Huntress. Also fishing with them and hooking into a fish worthy of third place was the brothers' father, Richard Brooks of Homer, who landed a 78.8-pound halibut.

"We had just killer fishing for about an hour this morning and figured what the heck, let's bring them on into town," said Capt. Josh Brooks. "If that's a sign of things to come, the halibut fishing is really good."

The first derby fish was reeled in Sunday, the first day of the derby, by Jean Manson of Greenfield, Calif. Manson hooked her 90.2-pounder while fishing aboard the Julia Lynn with Capt. Pete Wedin of Captain Pete's Alaskan Experience.

Now in second place, Manson also is the top lady angler.

Brooks, his father and brother were fishing in the Point Adams and Dogfish Bay area.

"We were just kind of staying out of the wind, fishing in the shallows," he said.

Well known for bringing in prize-worthy halibut in past years, Brooks is one of several hundred halibut charter captains unable to continue business under National Marine Fisheries Service's limited entry program that took effect Feb. 1 in Area 2C, Southeast, and Area 3A, Southcentral.

Operators were required to show a specific amount of activity in 2004 or 2005 and in 2008. A total 327 businesses failed to meet the requirement, according to information provided by the Charter Operators of Alaska. Unable to continue as a charter operator, Brooks on Monday was busy preparing for a summer of commercial fishing.

Derby Standings for May:

• First place, $1,000: 120.8-pound halibut caught May 2 by Shane Brooks of Homer fishing with Capt. Josh Brooks aboard the Huntress, a private boat

• Second place, $750: 90.2-pound halibut caught May 1 by Jean Manson of Greenfield, Calif., fishing with Capt. Pete Wedin aboard the Julia Lynn

• Third place, $500: 78.8-pound halibut caught May 2 by Richard Brooks of Homer fishing with Capt. Josh Brooks

n Lady Angler: Manson

Hoping his clients could hook a tagged halibut, Capt. Pete Wedin focused his attention Sunday on an area where he helped tag halibut this spring in preparation for the derby.

"Not much was happening, so we moved toward Point Pogibshi and that's where the fish were sitting," said Wedin.

Four anglers aboard Wedin's board had purchased derby tickets prior to arriving at the boat Sunday morning, but two, including Manson had not. Using a call-in process, Manson made a last-minute $10 ticket purchase before leaving the harbor.

Captains interested in the call-in ticket-purchasing process are asked to contact Derby Coordinator Paula Frisinger, 235-7740.

"We would love to have their participation," said Frisinger, adding, "It's going to be a great year. See you at the weigh station."

The Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby, sponsored by the Homer Chamber of Commerce, continues through Sept. 30. Homer has a two-halibut limit per day, per person. Only ticket-holders are eligible for prizes. For information visit www.homerhalibutderby.com.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.