Derby’s first ‘released fish’ prize awarded

Minnesota angler Molly Malthby held on to her lead in the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby’s big-fish category, but the week saw other action in the four-month event, as well as one sobering reminder.

“An angler staying at Homer Spit Campground had a halibut topping 239 pounds, but did not have a Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby ticket,” said Meldonna Cody, event coordinator for the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, derby sponsor.

Tickets to fish the derby are $10 a day and can be purchased at the visitor center, the derby headquarters on the Spit or at many local businesses.

Matt Hines of Minnetonka, Minn., is winner of this year’s first released fish drawing. Hines hooked his halibut June 10 while fishing with Capt. Bryan Bondioli aboard the Ashtikan for Captain B’s Alaskan C’s charter. The prize was sponsored by Kachemak (Napa) Auto Parts.

Anglers with a derby ticket who catch and release a halibut measuring 48 inches or more are eligible for drawings that occur three times throughout the derby. Each drawing is worth $500, with an end-of-the-season drawing worth $1,000

There are multiple ways to go home a winner in the derby, which began May 15 and continued through Sept. 15.  The angler with the biggest fish takes home the jackpot prize of $10,000 plus $.50 for each ticket sold. The captain of the boat on which the winning fish receives a prize valued at 10 percent of the winning fish prize. The individual who sold the derby ticket to the winning angler also is a winner, with a $1,000 prize. 

More than 100 flat fish were caught, tagged and released earlier this year. The tagged halibut, if caught, are worth $1,000, $500 and $250, with two major tagged fish prizes of a Ford F-150 truck from Stanley Ford and $50,000 in cash from GCI.

The derby also offers a drawing of five prizes for anglers 12 years of age and younger. The prizes range from $125 to $300, and the drawing is held alt the end of the derby.

Hooking into a left-handed halibut will net the lucky angler a $100 prize. 

Even non-anglers get a chance to go home a little richer with the “Just for the Halibut Prize.” Purchasing a derby ticket qualifies the purchaser for a $5,000 drawing at the end of the derby.

Current derby leaders are:

First place: 196.80-pound halibut caught June 6 by Molly Malthby of Cheboygan, Mich., while fishing with Capt. Ben Martin aboard the Fringe Benefit for North Country Charters;

Second place: 141.80-pound halibut caught June 5 by Michael Martini of Sunman, Ind., while fishing with Capt. Ben Martin of North Country Charters;

Third place: 108.80-pound halibut caught June 4 by David Longacre of Orrstown, Pa., while fishing with Capt. Willie Beachey of Reel Fun Charters; 

Fourth place: 91.20-pound halibut caught June 3 by Gordon Muir of Ft. Benton, Mont., while fishing with Capt. Pete Wedin of Captain Pete’s Charters aboard the Julia Lynn;

Fifth place: 82.40-pound halibut caught May 25 by Shawn Agnew of Erie, Ill., while fishing with Sea Flight Sportfishing Charters aboard the Seaflight;

Sixth place: 69.60-pound halibut caught May 24 by Michael “Micky” Shober of Gillette, Wyo., while fishing with Capt.