Homer Alaska - Outdoors

Story last updated at 3:30 PM on Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Released fish top derby action

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer

Competition is building in the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby's release fish category. With three names drawn each month of anglers who released halibut in the 50-pounds-or-more range, a total of 11 have been reported in the derby's third month.

The next drawing takes place Aug. 16, with an overall prize awarded of $1,000 and prizes of $250 each awarded to a senior and to a veteran-military angler. Since the derby, sponsored by the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, began May 15, five released fish were reported before the June 16 drawing and six before the July 16 drawing. The fourth and final drawing take place Sept. 16, one day after the derby ends.

Carol Allis of Phoenix, Ariz., has maintained her lead in the biggest-halibut category, with a 300-pound barndoor she brought in July 25 while fishing with Capt. Willie Beach of Reel Fun Charters aboard the Daze Off. In this year's derby, the angler with the biggest fish caught between May 15-Sept. 15 goes home $10,000 richer.

The biggest opportunity for anglers to hook prize-worthy halibut is in the tagged fish category. Earlier this year, 100 halibut were caught, tagged and released. The tags included:

• One worth $50,000;

• One worth a new Ford pickup;

• Five worth $10,000 each;

• 25 worth $1,000 each;

• 45 worth $500 each; and

• 23 worth $250 each.

To date, the following anglers have caught tag-wearing halibut, the values of which won't be known until the derby ends:

• 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;

• Ron Anderson of Winlock, Wash., caught July 13 on a private boat; and

• Elizabeth Cupp of Homer caught July 18 on a private boat.

Dan Uniejewski of Franklin, Tenn., had the rare experience of catching a lefty, a halibut with both eyes on the left side of its head rather than the right side, on July l24 while fishing with Capt. Ben Martin of North Country Halibut Charters aboard the Fringe Benefit. The "catch a lefty" prize is $100.

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

Derby tickets are $10 per day of $75 for a 10-day ticket.

For more information about the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby, call 235-7740 or visit www.homerhalibutderby.com.

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