Homer Alaska - Outdoors

Story last updated at 1:43 PM on Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Derby winner claims prize

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer


Photo by McKibben Jackinsky

Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby winner Chad Aldridge of Sterling, right, shares the Oct. 12 pay-off moment with his father, Ron, who was with Aldridge the day the 350.8-pound halibut was caught.

When Sterling resident Chad Aldridge visited the Homer area June 19, he hooked into a 350.8-pound halibut. Aldridge was back in Homer last week — this time to collect his winnings in the 2011 Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby: a plaque, a lot of bragging rights and a check for $28,260.

Accompanying Aldridge was his father, Ron, who was with Aldridge when he hooked into his winning halibut on what just happened to be Father's Day.

Aldridge's prize was the last to be awarded at the Oct. 12 festivities, however.

This is the 26th year the event has been sponsored by the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center and is the "longest derby running in Alaska," said Mike Petersen, derby committee chairman.

For her efforts keeping track of all 14,000 tickets sold in this year's derby, Janet Higley was presented with a bouquet of flowers and given a round of applause by all those at the Oct. 12 gathering.

Prior to the derby's start on May 1, local charter captains and chamber members caught and returned to Kachemak Bay 100 halibut to which they had attached business-sponsored tags.

Six of those were caught during the derby, with another 21 from previous years also reeled in.

Released fish were recognized among derby prizes. Anglers with derby tickets who caught and released a halibut weighing more than 50 pounds qualified for monthly drawings of $1,000. Last Wednesday, the names of all 53 fishermen who released fish were entered into a $5,000 grand prize drawing. The winner was Dave Moen of St. Paul, Minn.

"Wow, I can't believe it," said Moen, when contacted on the phone by Derby Coordinator Paula Frisinger.

Four young anglers also won prizes:

• Stella Bainbridge of Gambier, Ohio, $300;

• Louis Taber of Eagle River, $250;

• Tyler Kaminski of Mead, Wash., $200;

• Logan Dosko of Kenai, $150.

All 14,000 tickets in this year's derby were entered into a drawing for the derby's "barn door" prize, two round-trip tickets between Homer and Anchorage on Grant Aviation. The winner was Bill Aschenbach of Fritz Creek.

For selling the winning ticket, Sportsman's Supply on the Spit won $1,000.

Finally, Petersen called Aldridge forward to accept his prize. With a smile second in size only to the large check Petersen handed him, Aldridge and his father posed for photos.

Picking up the check wasn't the only reason Aldridge had driven the 88 miles from Sterling to Homer. Arriving earlier in the day gave him time to fish, of course.

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