VALDEZ, Alaska – Frieda Wiley wasn’t even supposed to go fishing Sunday but when her husband had a cancellation on his charter boat she got the opportunity to go. The 374 pound halibut she reeled up stands a good chance of winning $15,000 in the Halibut Derby and set the record for the largest halibut on record in the Valdez Halibut Derby.
Wiley said she has been waiting 20 years to catch this fish and it took her 45 minutes of hard reeling to bring it in. “My back started spazzing out a little bit and my arm was starting to shake” said Wiley. “Once I hooked it, I felt the head shake and I knew it was something large”. Wiley’s halibut measured 91 inches long and towered over her as she smiled and accepted congratulations from the growing crowd at the Valdez Harbor.
Although Wiley was excited about catching the big halibut, she said she was originally planning to go out silver salmon fishing. “I got my halibut derby season ticket the first day of the derby and I got my silver salmon derby ticket when that derby started. I can’t wait to go fishing in the Women’s Silver Salmon derby”.
Some very nice silver salmon have come into Port Valdez and Wiley said they saw them jumping in the Gulf. Valdez Fish Derbies weigh-in coordinator Dana Morales said most of the daily winners have been in the 10 to 12 pound range. “The fishing should be good for the Women’s Silver Salmon Derby on the 12th” said Morales.
The Women’s Silver Salmon Derby is this Saturday with an opening ceremony Friday night. Last year Nana Matsui of Valdez, Alaska won the Derby and was crowned Queen of the Silver Salmon Sisterhood with a 15.90 pound silver salmon. The biggest silver salmon caught in the Women’s Derby was an 18.84 pound silver caught by Betty Valdes of Eagle River in 2010.
The largest silver salmon caught in the Women’s Derby was an 18.84 pound silver caught by Betty Valdes of Eagle River in 2010. Registration is currently underway for the Women’s Derby upstairs in the new Prospector building on Egan Drive. The theme this year is “Adventure on the High Seas” and there will be a group costume contest Friday. Live music is planned for Saturday and derby organizers are expecting another exciting year. CLICK HERE to visit the Women’s Derby registration page at www.valdezfishderbies.com.
Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st Frieda Wiley Valdez, AK 374.0 lbs. Aug 6 Dan Orion
2nd Tim Stadtmiller Fairbanks, AK 266.6 lbs. June 19 Dan Orion
3rd Daniel Schmitz Wasilla, AK 176.6 lbs. June 12 Jamie Lynn
Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners
1st Stephen Brewi Valdez, AK 122.6 lbs. July 30 Jake
2nd David Vlieger Wahkon, MN 101.0 lbs. Aug 3 Bold Eagle
Silver Derby – Overall Leaders
1st Cole Baxter Fayetteville, GA 15.62 lbs. July 26 Shark Tooth Charters
2nd H. Charles Sparks Fairbanks, AK 14.50 lbs. Aug 6 Patriot
3rd Jerrett Lewis Gulf Breeze, FL 14.34 lbs. Aug 4 Killswitch/KGB