Homer Alaska - Outdoors

Story last updated at 4:55 PM on Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tagged fish waiting for derby-ticket fishermen

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer

The halibut are giving their all in this year's Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby. What's missing are more fishermen with derby tickets.

All is not lost, however. With the derby continuing until Sept. 15, there is time to correct that imbalance.

"We have quite a few tagged fish caught with no derby tickets and released back for someone else to catch," said Paula Frisinger, derby coordinator for the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center-sponsored event.

The fisherman with the biggest halibut will take home a prize of $10,000, but the fishermen reeling in tagged halibut stand to take home even bigger winnings. There is:

• One GCI-sponsored tag worth $50,000;

• One Stanley Ford-sponsored tag worth a new Ford pickup;

• Five tags worth $10,000 each;

• 25 tags worth $1,000 each;

• 45 tags worth $500 each;

• 23 tags worth $250 each.

Only five have been caught to date:

• 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;

• Brice Vollbrecht of Tenstrike, Minn., caught June 22 while fishing with Capt. Nick Spellitt of Homer Ocean Charters aboard the Diamond Cape;

• Rebecca Lyon of Anchorage, caught July 1 while fishing with Capt. Brett Weaver of Homer Ocean Charters aboard the Bay Explorer.

Value of the tagged fish that have been caught remains a mystery until after the derby ends.

Since the derby began May 15, 25 tagged flat fish have been caught by fishermen without derby tickets. No ticket means no prize.

Pam Seward of LaMirada, Calif., is currently in first place with the biggest halibut. Seward hooked a 219.6-pound lunker June 15 while fishing with Capt. Mike Manns of Manns Charter Service board the Arctic Addiction.

Another way to win in this year's derby is by releasing a halibut weighing 50-pounds or more. The names of three fishermen are drawn each month in that category with a monthly overall prize of $1,000, and prizes of $250 each for a senior and for a veteran-military fisherman.

Homer has a two halibut per day, per person limit. Derby tickets are $10 each or $75 for a 10-day ticket. For more information on the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby, visit www.homerhalibutderby.com.

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