The taste of victory was short and sweet for Pat Wing of Valdez. The 187.7 pound halibut Wing reeled in Thursday, July 19th put him on the top of the leader board in the Valdez Halibut Derby. Wing caught his fish aboard the Tango and it measured 75 inches long. The following day, Bonnie Woods brought in a fish measuring 75 inches, but it was a bit fatter through the mid-section, remarked Woods. Her fish tipped the scales at 196.4 pounds and dropped her solidly into first place in the standings.
Just a day after Woods brought in her 196.4 pound halibut, Norman Darling of North Pole caught a 202.3 pound halibut aboard the Dawn Treader. Darling now sits in first place in the Valdez Halibut Derby, but Woods said she is sure more changes are yet to come. "I'm not done yet. I've still got a couple charters yet. But I'm sure come September 2nd neither one of those fish will still be on the board."
It would appear the story could have gone one further as Carey McCarty brought in a 213 pound halibut, but hadn't purchased the $10 derby ticket that could have won him at least the weekly prizes. McCarty seemed to take it pretty philosophically, though; he said, laughing, "Don't forget to buy a derby ticket when you come up."
Pink salmon fishing has been great at Allison Point and anglers are reporting catching their limits in a few hours according to Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The silvers are further out, but moving toward Port Valdez according to halibut charter captains.
The Valdez Silver Salmon Derby started Saturday and Big Prize Friday is slated for July 27th. On Big Prize Friday, the person who catches the largest silver salmon will win their choice of $500 cash or two round-trip Era Alaska tickets between Valdez and Anchorage or Valdez and Fairbanks. The Women's Silver Salmon Derby is Saturday, August 11th.