VALDEZ, Alaska – Jeff Saxe of Valdez has his own boat and fishes in Valdez every Summer. As the owner of Eagle’s Rest RV Park, Saxe probably talks to more tourists each year than anyone in Valdez and he is really excited about how good the halibut fishing is this year. Saxe reeled in a 157 pound halibut May 30th and he wasn’t the only angler to reel in halibut the day he caught the derby leader, “We got our eight fish by noon and we were done and headed back to town,” said Saxe. Many halibut charters are open and have availability this year due to out of State cancellations, so hopping on a charter has been a welcome opportunity for many locals as well as Alaskans from around the State. As a local business owner facing low occupancy rates at his RV Park due to restricted Inter-state travel, Saxe is trying to make the best of a bad situation by inviting Alaskans to come see Valdez, “Valdez is open and we enjoy our customers from Fairbanks, Delta, Mat-Su and the rest of the State,” commented Saxe.
Charles Young of Fairbanks, Alaska made the trip to Valdez and enjoyed his visit. “It was my granddaughter’s fifth birthday; we had a party for her and then it was shortly after that I hooked into a big fish,” said Charles. “We picked up a couple of rockfish and two more halibut that day.” The 128.8 pound halibut he caught May 24th is currently in 2nd place overall. Cody Buchanan of Hamlin, Texas reeled in a 127 pound halibut on June 7th and is currently holding onto 3rd place.
Cody Buchanan of Hamlin, Texas reeled in a 127 pound halibut on June 7th to win the Halibut Hullabaloo. The Halibut Hullabaloo tournament was June 5th through 14th. Buchanon caught the largest halibut and took home $500 cash in addition to the regular cash and prizes. A daily halibut derby ticket is $10 and a season ticket is $50. The regular Valdez Halibut Derby runs through September 6th. The Silver Salmon Derby is slated to begin July 25th.
The Valdez Fish Derbies will be hosting the Kids Pink Salmon Derby Saturday, July 25th and the Women’s Silver Salmon Derby is August 8th. The big events are not happening this year and the derbies have a few changes for 2020 to allow for physical distancing but we will have both a Kids Pink Salmon Derby fishing day and a Women’s Silver Salmon Derby fishing day. For more information on the Valdez Derbies, visit: www.valdezfishderbies.com
Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st Jeff Saxe Valdez, AK 157.0 lbs. May 30 Go Get Her
2nd Charles Young Fairbanks, AK 128.8 lbs. May 24 Reel Dream
3rd Cody Buchanan Hamlin, TX 127.0 lbs. June 7 Jamie Lynn
Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – Week #3
1st Cody Buchanan Hamlin, TX 127.0 lbs. June 7 Jamie Lynn
2nd Travis Frisk Anchorage, AK 125.0 lbs. June 13 Red Head