As the end of the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby draws near, the top place is still held by Austin Nelson from North Pole and his 252.2-pound halibut that he caught on Aug. 16.
Unless another angler with a derby ticket reels up a larger halibut by 7 p.m. this evening, Nelson will take first place in the derby and reap the cash reward.
The derby winner receives $10,000 plus $.50 for every ticket sold. As of Sept. 7, the Homer Chamber of Commerce reported 10,393 tickets sold over the course of the summer. Based on those most current numbers, the derby winner will receive at least $15,196.
The 2015 derby winner, Linda Scott of Bloomington, Minn, received $15,216.50 for the 224.4-pound halibut she caught. The current ticket count is just below 2015’s total sales of 10,433 tickets.
Though the sales have remained steady between last year and this year, overall ticket sales have been declining the last 5 to 10 years. Between 2008 and 2015, ticket sales went down by 7,336, according to data from the Homer Chamber of Commerce.
The reduced participation in the derby results from the charter fishing regulations that restrict the days, number of trips per day and the number of fish kept, said HCOC executive director Karen Zak in a May 26 Homer News article.
Anna Frost can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.