Derby wraps up Sunday; ‘anything can still happen’

By 9 p.m. Sunday, the mysteries of  2013 Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby will be resolved.

“We are almost there for our derby season,” said Paula Frisinger, the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center’s derby coordinator. “(It’s the) last week of anticipation of those tagged fish winners and for the current derby leader. Anything can still happen.”

Will Iowa angler Gene Jones take home the $10,000 jackpot prize? Jones reeled in a 236.2-pound halibut July 25 while fishing with Capt. David Bayes of Central Charters aboard the Grand Aleutian. 

Last week’s fishing offered a reminder that there are still big fish to be caught. While fishing with Bayes, Kansas angler Dirk Whitsitt hooked into a 231-pound flatfish. Bayes offered Whitsitt a free day of fishing if he would release the halibut, but Whitsitt passed up the offer. The story of Whitsitt’s big catch ran on the web at

“I think the most newsworthy part of the article is that it’s up to 13,000 likes and almost 8,000 shares, pretty good advertising for Homer,” said Bayes.

Also to be announced is the value of tagged halibut caught during the derby. Earlier this year, 114 halibut were tagged and released. The value of those tags includes:

• A GCI-sponsored tag worth $50,000;

• A Stanley Ford of Kenai tag worth a new F150 pickup;

• Four worth $10,000 each;

• 38 worth $1,000 each;

• 59 worth $500 each;

• 11 worth $250 each.

Since the derby began May 15, one tagged halibut was turned in that month, 15 in June, 10 in July and 3 in August. That’s a total 29, leaving 85 still to be hooked.

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

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McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at