If things were ho-hum in the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby last week, it’s a whole new song and dance this week.
“It was action like you would not believe,” said Paula Frisinger, coordinator of the May 15-Sept. 16 event sponsored by the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center.
On June 20, Gary Koos of Starbuck, Minn., brought in a 182.5-pound halibut while fishing with Capt. Rob Hyslip of Big Bear Halibut Charters aboard the Bear Force I. That put Koos in the lead, but only for a day.
Christopher Johnson of Fort Collins, Colo., reeled in a 197.6-pound flat fish on June 21, while fishing with Capt. Scott Glosser of Captain Scott’s Sportfishing aboard the Mako.
“Then on top of that we had some extraordinary tagged fish come in so far and many tagged fish caught and released (because) they had no derby tickets,” said Frisinger.
The derby offers a $10,000 jackpot prize for the biggest halibut caught during the derby, but landing a tagged halibut offers even bigger possibilities.
Halibut were caught, tagged and released earlier this year by chamber members and charter captains. They include a GCI-sponsored tag worth $50,000; a Stanley Ford of Kenai tag worth a new Ford F-150 pickup; four tags worth $10,000 each; 38 tags worth $1,000 each; 59 tags worth $500 each; and 11 tags worth $250.
To date, tagged halibut have been caught by:
•Janet Baldauf of Homer, caught May 19, fishing with Captain Pete’s Alaskan Experience;
•Chester Kaczanowski of Dearborn Heights, Mich., caught June 14, fishing with Bob’s Trophy Charters;
•Anthony Hanson of Anchorage, caught June 15, fishing with Bob’s Trophy Charters;
•Louis Nagy of Nazareth, Penn., caught June 17, fishing with Bob’s Trophy Charters;
•Robert Beals of Nashville, Tenn., caught June 18, fishing with Homer Ocean Charters;
•William Ivory of Anchorage, caught June 21, fishing with Bob’s Trophy Charters;
•Del Parks Jr. of Stockton, Calif., caught June 21, fishing with Tim Berg’s Alaska Fishing Adventures;
•Sherman Ampey of Paw Paw, Mich., caught June 22, fishing with Bob’s Trophy Charters;
•Mitchell Levine of New York, N.Y., caught June 2, fishing with North Country Halibut Charters;
•Gennie Kirby of High Point, N.C., caught June 23, fishing with Bob’s Trophy Charters;
•Todd Carlisle of Blaine, Minn., caught June 23, fishing with North Country Halibut Charters;
•Richard Bennecke of Gardnerville, Nev., caught June 23, fishing with North Country Halibut Charters.
“Did one of our lucky anglers win the GCI $50,000 tagged fish or the Stanley Ford F-150 or did they win one of the $10,000 tagged fish? That question will be answered Sept, 16 for all our tagged-fish winners,” said Frisinger.
Homer has a two halibut per day per person. Only anglers who have purchased a derby ticket are eligible for prizes. Tickets are $10 per day.
To captains who released tagged halibut caught by anglers without derby tickets, Frisinger said, “Thanks for keeping those money fish alive and ready for someone that has a derby ticket.”
Two young anglers — a 9-year-old and a 12-year-old — also brought their catch to the weigh-in station on the Spit.