Halibut fishing brings shifts in derby leaders

Michigan angler Molly Malthby continued to hold onto her lead in the 2014 Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby, with the 196.8-pound flat fish she caught June 6 while fishing with Capt. Ben Martin aboard the Fringe Benefit for North Country Charters.

Michael Martini of Sunman, Ind., also managed to maintain his second-place position with a 141.80-pound halibut caught June 5. Martini also was fishing with Martin.

New to the leader board this week is Sean Hoffbeck of Kenai, who slid into third place with a 134.40-pound halibut caught Sunday. Hoffbeck was fishing with Capt. Gabe Linegar of Drift Alaska Charters aboard the Casino at the time he hooked into the fish. Moving into fourth place is Weldon Creech of Houston, Texas. Creech caught a 110.60-pound halibut Sunday while fishing with Capt. Ethan Harders of Big Bear Halibut Charters aboard the Bear Force II.  

It isn’t only big fish that are winners in the four-month derby that began May 15, continues through Sept. 15 and is sponsored by the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center. On June 19, Jan R. Kissell of Deming, N.M, reeled in a halibut sporting a tag from the 2013 derby and ended up with a sizeable prize. 

“Anglers who have a current Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby ticket and catch a previous year’s tag receive $100 in Homer Bucks,” said Meldonna Cody, the chamber and visitor center’s events coordinator. “Homer Bucks spend like cash and are accepted at a large variety of Homer businesses.”        

Kissell was fishing with Capt. Steve Morphis of Inlet Charters aboard the Whistler.

With Malthby, Martini, Hoffbeck and Creech in the top four derby spots, the remaining top 10 spots on the derby leader board include:

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

Sixth 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;

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

Eighth place: 69.60-pound halibut caught May 24 by Michael “Micky” Shober of Gillette, Wyo., while fishing with Capt. Scott Glosser of Captain Scott’s Sportfishing;

Ninth place: 14.40-pound halibut caught May 21 by William “Bill” Shepherd of Everett, Wash., while fishing with Capt. David Bayes of Central Charters aboard the Grand Aleutian;

Tenth place: 10.00-pound halibut caught June 1 by Mark Mehalko of Grand Blanc, Mich., while fishing with Capt. Tom Bunnell of Halibut Hunter Charters aboard the Halibut Hunter. Mehalko’s 10-pounder, caught while trolling near Anchor Point, also was sporting a tag worth $250.

Daily tickets to fish in the derby are $10. They can be purchased at the chamber and visitor center, as well as at many local businesses.

For more information, call 235-7740 or visit homeralaska.org.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.