Homer Alaska - Outdoors

Story last updated at 2:57 PM on Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Time to reel in prize as derby days dwindle

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer

There have been no big changes in the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby in the past week.

That's good news to anglers still hoping to get into the prize-winning action.

The derby's last day is Sept. 15, which leaves barely more than two weeks to hook a tagged halibut or a large halibut, release a halibut weighing 50 pounds or more, or qualify another way for the many prizes available before the derby's end.

Carol Allis of Phoenix, Ariz., is maintaining her lead in the biggest-halibut-caught category with a 300-pound barn door she landed July 25 while fishing with Capt. Willie Beach of Reel Fun Charters aboard the Daze Off.

Since the derby began May 15, there have been three monthly drawings for released fish weighing at least 50 pounds. The overall monthly prize is $1,000, with $250 prizes given to a senior and a veteran-military angler. The fourth and final drawing will be after Sept. 15. Five released fish were reported during the derby's first month, six in the second month and 14 in the third month. None have been reported yet for the fourth month.

Dan Uniejewski, an angler from Franklin, Tenn., caught a lefty — a halibut with eyes on the left side of its head — July 24 while fishing with Capt. Ben Martin of North Country Halibut Charters aboard the Fringe Benefit.

Tagged fish claim the biggest pool of prizes, 100 to be exact. That includes $50,000 and a new Ford pickup. The value of each tagged halibut caught will be announced at the end of the derby.

To date, tagged halibut have been turned in 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;

• 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.

Homer has a two halibut limit per day, per person. Derby tickets rate $10 a day or $75 for a 10-day ticket. The tickets can be purchased at the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, sponsor of the derby, 201 Sterling Highway, or from many local businesses.

For more about the derby, call 235-7740 or visit www.homerhalibutderby.com.

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