VALDEZ, Alaska – With less than two weeks left in the Valdez Halibut and Silver Salmon Derbies, only time will tell if the leaders will hold on to win the $15,000 first place prize.
David Jamison reeled in his 253.0 pound halibut on May 29th and it has been on top of the leader board ever since. If you look at the record books, a 253.0 pound halibut is a plausible winner. The largest halibut on record in Valdez was a 343.6 pound halibut caught by Kevin Lincoln of North Pole but several winners over the last 20 plus years are in the mid-200 pound range. Last year’s winner, was a 253.8 pound halibut caught by Fred Hyder of Willow, Alaska in late July.
In the silver salmon derby, if the 16.96 pound silver caught by Tommy Jobe of Washington, Oklahoma holds on to be the 1st place winner, the fish would be on the small side. The Valdez Silver Salmon Derby began in 1971 and since then only eight fish weighing less than 16.96 have been winners. The smallest winner on record is Jim Burzinski’s 15.11 pound silver caught the first year of the derbies in 1971. In the last 20 years, winners have been in the 17 to 22 pound range. Pravat Phumiin is currently in 2nd place in the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby with a 16.52 pound fish he caught August 17th aboard the Seagall II. Nana Matsui, the international student who won the Women’s Silver Salmon Derby, dropped to 3rd place in the overall derby with a 15.90 pound silver she caught August 13th.
The size of the silvers coming to Port Valdez seems to be increasing each day with daily winners most of last week in the 15 pound range. Friday, September 2nd anglers will have a chance to win an additional $500 during Big Prize Friday. The person who buys a derby ticket and brings in the biggest silver salmon on September 2nd will win $500 in cash in addition to the daily prizes. The Valdez Halibut and Silver Salmon Derbies end Sunday, September 4th at noon. The raffle for $10,000 cash will be held that day after the close of the derby. Everyone who purchased a Valdez derby ticket will be entered in that drawing.
Silver and Halibut Derby winners will be awarded and the drawing will be held at the Derby Awards party Sunday, September 4th at 6pm at the Elks Lodge. Event is free with a derby ticket and tickets will be sold at the door for those who haven’t already got one.
Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st David Jamison Fairbanks, AK 253.0 lbs. May 29 Nanatuk
2nd Kim Steiger Westchester, PA 211.0 lbs. July 5 Halibut Grove
3rd Jeff Leaverton Madisonville, LA 174.4 lbs. June 16 Dan Orion
Silver Derby – Overall Leaders
1st Tommy Jobe Washington, OK 16.96 lbs. Aug 17 Wild Goose
2nd Pravat Phumiin Valdez, AK 15.62 lbs. Aug 17 Seagall II
3rd Nana Matsui Valdez, AK 15.90 lbs. Aug 13 Summer School