VALDEZ, Alaska – Brad Burch of Clackamas Oregon reeled in a 296.2 pound halibut August 26th aboard the Magic Dragon to take the lead in the Valdez Halibut Derby and on that day he said he thought he was going to win the derby. Burch was well aware of the $15,000 first place prize in the Halibut Derby and said he knew from looking at the record books that his was a big enough fish to hold on to the end. Before his halibut was cut into pieces Burch knew what he would do with the money. “I will give some to the Captain and pay off some of my bills” he said. Fred Hyder of Willow Alaska took 2nd place and won $5,000 cash in the Valdez Halibut Derby with a 253.8 pound halibut he caught July 10th aboard the Jaime Lynn. Joe Sharp of Whitesville, New York took 3rd place and $2,000 cash in the halibut derby with a 226.6 pound halibut he caught August 26th aboard the Jaime Lynn.
Karen Phillips did not think her fish would hang on through the end of the derby and she said she had no idea what she would do with the money if she won when asked the day she caught her winning silver salmon. Phillips will now have to figure out what to spend her winnings on. Phillips caught a 16.48 pound silver August 19th aboard the Bigfoot to win $15,000 in the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby. Chris Thoma of Valdez took 2nd in the derby and $5,000 cash with a 16.28 pound silver he caught August 7th. Michael Dalelio of Fairbanks took 3rd place in the silver derby and won $2,000 cash with a 15.98 pound silver he caught August 21st.
This final Big Prize Friday was won by Ralph Evans of Marietta, Georgia. Evans reeled in a 12.76 pound silver to net himself the $500 Big Prize Friday cash award. Brad Burch’s winning Halibut was caught aboard the Magic Dragon and the Captain of that boat, Tom Swafford of Fairbanks, won the $500 Captains prize. In the Silver Salmon Derby, it was Lyle Phillips of Fairbanks that won the Captains Prize. The business selling the winning Halibut Derby ticket and the winning Silver Salmon Derby ticket was Easy Freeze and they win a $500 ticket sellers prize for both derbies.
In the Valdez Fish Derbies, everyone who purchases a daily ticket is entered to win $10,000 cash at the end of the season. Those purchasing season tickets have five entries in the $10,000 drawing. At the end of the season, all the entries are put into a barrel and a winning ticket is chosen. This year Erik Pihlaja of Fairbanks was the winner. Derby officials called him Sunday night with the good news and he was very happy and excited. Next year’s dates, as well as pictures and information about the 2015 winners, can be found at www.valdezfishderbies.com.
2015 Overall Silver Leaders
Overall Halibut Leaders