Idaho angler lands lead in Homer halibut derby

  • James Jell of Moscow, Idaho, moves into the lead of this year’s Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby with a 198.2-pound halibut he landed July 7 while fishing with Capt. Chad Kiesel of Silver Fox Charters aboard the Arctic Envy.-Photo provided
  • Warren Dick-Photo provided
  • Griffin Jory-Photo provided
  • Monique Peters-Photo provided
  • Lance Hagedon-Photo provided
  • Chance Lockyer-Photo provided

It’s a change in leaders — yet again — in the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby, with James Jell of Moscow, Idaho, bringing in a 198.2-pound halibut. Jell hooked the monster fish on July 7 while fishing with Capt. Chad Kiesel of Silver Fox Charters aboard the Arctic Envy.

“(It’s) another exciting week here at the derby headquarters,” said Paula Frisinger, coordinator of the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center event that began May 15 and ends Sept. 15.

Jell’s big catch booted Christopher Johnson of Colorado out of the first-place position and a chance at the $10,000 jackpot prize. Johnson reeled in a 197.6-pound barn door June 21, while fishing with Capt. Scott Glosser of Captain Scott’s Sportfishing aboard the Mako.

Five tagged halibut also were brought in during the week by the following anglers:

•Griffin Jory of Lakewood, Colo., caught July 3 while fishing with Alaska Coastal Marine;

•Warren Dick of Anchorage, caught July 3 while fishing with Norm’s Saltwater Adventures;

•Monique Peters of Willow, caught July 4 while fishing on a private boat;

•Lance Hagedon of Eagle River, caught July 5 while fishing on a private boat; and

•Chance Lackyer of Anchorage, caught July 6 while fishing with Homer Ocean Charters.

While the tagged fish aren’t nearly as impressive when it comes to pounds and ounces, they offer the most possibilities for winning a prize. Earlier this year, members of the chamber and charter captains caught, tagged and released 114 halibut. The value of the tags includes a GCI-sponsored tag worth $50,000, a Stanley Ford of Kenai-sponsored worth a new Ford F-150 pickup, four tags worth $10,000 each, 38 worth $1,000 each, 59 worth $500 each and 11 worth $250.

The value of the tags caught during the derby will be announced Sept. 16. In addition to the five caught already this month, one was caught in May and 15 in June.

Although Jell’s was the largest halibut caught last week, a 202.2-pound monster offered the largest reminder. The angler that brought in the huge fish had not purchased a derby ticket. No derby ticket, no chance at a prize.

Derby tickets are $10 per day and can be purchased at the chamber and many local businesses. 

Homer has a two halibut limit per day, per person.

In other fishing news, Frisinger reported a huge lingcod that receives a state of Alaska Trophy Certificate. The size of the cod: 64.4 pounds.

For more derby information, visit

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at


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