Homer Alaska - Outdoors

Story last updated at 4:03 PM on Wednesday, June 13, 2012

New 'big' leader in halibut derby

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer


Photo provided

Carl Lee of Anchorage poses with his 147.6-pound halibut — and his derby ticket.

It was a slow week in the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby, unless you're Carl Lee of Anchorage.

Lee reeled in a 147.6-pound halibut on Sunday while fishing with Capt. Brock of Big Bear Halibut Charters aboard the Bear Force I. That halibut puts Lee in the lead for biggest fish, pushing aside last week's leader, Homer angler Christy Russ with a 128-pound catch.

There are a lot of fishing days remaining before the derby ends Sept. 15, however, so who knows who will eventually take home the $10,000 largest fish prize.

Friday marks the end of the derby's first month, and that means the first monthly prizes will be awarded for releasing a fish weighing 50 pounds or more. Prizes include $1,000, $250 for senior anglers and $250 for either active military or veteran.

The end-of-season released fish prize is a whopping $12,000, selected by a random drawing of all anglers releasing a fish in the fifty-pound-or-more category.

Catching a tagged halibut offers the most opportunities for winning a prize. There is one tag worth $50,000, one worth a new Ford truck, five worth $10,000 each, 25 worth $1,000 each, 45 worth $500 each and 23 worth $250 each. Which tags are worth which prizes will remain unknown until the end of the derby, but to date tagged fish have been caught by:

• Zak Mays of Eagle River, caught May 27 on a private boat;

• Colin Saltzman of Columa, Mich., caught June 1 while fishing with Capt. Sean Martin of North Country Halibut Charters aboard the Irish;

• Ray Kizer of Palmer, caught June 2 while fishing with Capt. Gary Ault of Inlet Charters aboard the Whistler.

This event, sponsored by the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, also offers kids' prizes, a prize for anyone catching a left-handed halibut, a prize to the charter captain of the boat on which the winning fish is caught and a ticket-seller's prize for the individual who sold the derby ticket to the winning angler.

Paula Frisinger, derby coordinator, had an important reminder for anglers. "Don't forget to buy your derby ticket," she said.

In other words, no ticket, no prize. Tickets must be purchased in advance of fishing. They are available at the visitor center and many local charter offices, bed and breakfasts and businesses. Tickets are $10 a day. Multi-day tickets of $75 for 10 days are available at the derby headquarters on the Spit.

Homer has a two-halibut limit per day, per person.

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