VALDEZ, Alaska – With less than a week 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.
Fred Hyder reeled in his 253.8 pound halibut on July 10th and it has been on top of the leader board ever since. If you look at the record books, a 253.8 pound halibut is a plausible winner. The largest halibut on record in Valdez is 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, a 203.6 pound halibut caught by Scott Hebig, was the smallest winner on record in the Valdez Halibut Derby.
In the silver salmon derby, if the 16.48 pound silver caught by Karen Phillips of Fairbanks 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 five fish weighing less than 16.48 have been winners. In fact, the last time a Silver Salmon winner weighed in at less than 16.48 would be 1983 when Bill Hureaux of Valdez won with a 16.06 pound fish. 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. “I know it won’t last”, said current leader Karen Phillips “but it will be five minutes of fun and fame”. Phillips said she had not given any thought to what she would do with $15,000 if she did win, but quipped “I’m sure I’ll come up with something”.
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. This Friday, 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 Friday will win $500 in cash in addition to the daily prizes. The Valdez Halibut and Silver Salmon Derbies end Sunday, August 6th 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 6th at 6pm at the Elks Lodge. The truck drawing will commence at 7pm.
Overall Silver Leaders