VALDEZ, Alaska – Warm weather and an early Spring have given Valdez charters and boat owners an opportunity to get their boats into the water and get fishing a bit early. Harbormaster Jeremy Talbott said he has seen a lot of private boaters hitting the waters to set pots for shrimp and has already seen two 75 pound halibut come across the docks. The Halibut Derby began Saturday the 23rd and the leaderboard is dominated by Josh’s. Young Josh Hughes of Wasilla Alaska is currently leading the derby with a 123.6 pound halibut he caught May 27th aboard the Jaime Lynn. Josh Kramer of Fredricksburg, Texas is currently in 2nd place with a 116.0 pound halibut he caught May 25th and Josh Wendt of North Pole is currently in 3rd place with a 109.4 pound halibut he caught May 23rd aboard the Aleisha.
Charter Captains in Valdez are also preparing for a busy season as anglers have high hopes of being the winner of the $15,000 first place prize in the Valdez Halibut Derby. A ticket costs $10 for the day or $50 for the season and must be purchased before heading out on the water. Ticket sale locations can be found at www.valdezfishderbies.com. The limit for halibut in Prince William Sound is still two per person, and one of those fish can be no longer than 29 inches in length. The derby shack located kitty corner from the Harbormasters office.
In addition to the grand prize of $15,000, 2nd place prize of $5,000 and 3rd place of $2,000 for catching the largest three fish, halibut derby anglers can also win weekly 1st and 2nd place prizes in the derby. The Halibut Hullabaloo is slated for June 12th through 21st. The angler that catches the largest halibut during this period, will win $1,000 in addition to the daily prizes.
This year, the Valdez Fish Derbies will say goodbye to the truck raffle and hello to $10,000 cash. Every daily derby ticket purchased equals one raffle ticket, and each season ticket purchased equals five raffle tickets for the $10,000 drawing at the end of the season.
The Kids Pink Salmon Derby has been set for Saturday, July 18th and will feature 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes in four different age divisions. The Kids derby is free and open to kids age 5 to 16 years of age. The Silver Salmon Derby in Valdez will again boast a $15,000 first place prize and daily prizes and runs July 18th through September 6th. The Annual Valdez Women’s Derby is slated for Saturday, August 8th with an opening ceremony Friday, August 7th and the closing ceremony Saturday night.