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Fish on! Anglers vie to land lunkers

Posted: Monday, April 05, 2004

For anglers looking for more than just bragging rights, the Kenai Peninsula offers a number of ways to cash in on its trophy sportfish in the form of annual sportfishing derbies. Many of these derbies offer huge cash prizes for anglers lucky enough to pull out that rare "lunker." Here are a few of the derbies taking place this summer on the Kenai:

Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby

Sponsored by the Homer Chamber of Commerce, the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby began in 1986 and has been a hit ever since.

Last year, Joseph Volk of West Virginia caught a 345.4-pounder, good enough for a first prize of $46,302, the largest purse to date. The largest derby winner weighed 376 pounds and was caught in 1996.

This year's event will run from May 1 through Sept. 30. Daily derby tickets are $10 and must be purchased in advance from official ticket vendors, which include local charter offices, bed and breakfasts, various stores and the official derby headquarters at Homer Harbor. Check there for specific derby rules.

There are a variety of ways to win and win big. There is a $10,000 drawing from among all the released halibut verified as being more than 80 pounds; monthly prizes of $1,000, $750, $500, $250 and $125 for the top five fish; $100,000 worth of specially tagged fish and a $2,000 cash drawing from among all ticket stubs.

Then, of course, there is the jackpot prize for the largest halibut caught during the season. Three dollars from each derby ticket sold will go into the jackpot.

The derby is the chamber's largest fund-raising event of the year. Call the chamber at 235-7740 or visit www.homerhalibutderby.com for more information.

Ninilchik Halibut Derby

Although smaller in scale, the annual Ninilchik Halibut Derby certainly is no slouch when it comes to having large fish. Last year's grand prize winner, caught by Don Habertein of Lake Forest, Calif., weighed in at a whopping 241 pounds. For his efforts, Habertein took home a check for $2,500.

This year's Ninilchik derby runs from May 5 through Aug. 31. Tickets can be purchased at a variety of vendors in town.

In addition to the $2,500 grand prize, Ninilchik derby participants have a chance to catch a $20,000 or $10,000 tagged fish, plus 48 other tagged fish worth numerous other prizes. There also are cash prizes awarded for the biggest fish caught each week and each month.

Tickets are $7 and are good for seven days or until the ticket holder weighs a fish.

Visit www.ninilchikchamber.com for more information.

Seward Silver Salmon Derby

As Alaska fishing derbies go, the Seward Silver Salmon Derby, sponsored by the Seward Chamber of Commerce, is the granddaddy of them all. This is its 49th year.

There are prizes galore, including a grand prize that came in last year at $10,000 that's a lot of silver! The derby also features daily prizes and tagged fish good for cash and valuable prizes from area merchants.

This year's tournament runs from Aug. 7-24. Entry fees are $50 for the entire tourney or $10 per day. You may fish from shore or from a boat.

Charters and boat rentals are available, but it is wise to make reservations early.

For more information, call the Seward Chamber of Commerce at (907) 224-8051.

Anchor Point 'Calcutta' offers two ways to win:

An annual fund-raiser for South Peninsula Sportsmen's Association, the King Salmon Calcutta Tournament is a different kind of fishing event. The tournament runs Friday and Saturday, May 7 and 8. On Friday, people bid on the boat they think will bring in the largest fish, while the fishing takes place Saturday. When the boats return, whoever bid on the boat bringing in the largest fish takes home half the pot. Last year's largest fish, weighing just over 50 pounds, netted the winner $2,400, while the winning bidder received $4,800. The final $2,400 raised went to the sportsmen's association for a variety of events it puts on throughout the year. Call 235-7427 for more information.

Photo by M. Scott Moon Anglers return from a day of fishing the Kenai River as the sun sets over the city of Kenai.

For anglers looking for more than just bragging rights, the Kenai Peninsula offers a number of ways to cash in on its trophy sportfish in the form of annual sportfishing derbies. Many of these derbies offer huge cash prizes for anglers lucky enough to pull out that rare "lunker." Here are a few of the derbies taking place this summer on the Kenai:

Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby

Sponsored by the Homer Chamber of Commerce, the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby began in 1986 and has been a hit ever since.

Last year, Joseph Volk of West Virginia caught a 345.4-pounder, good enough for a first prize of $46,302, the largest purse to date. The largest derby winner weighed 376 pounds and was caught in 1996.

This year's event will run from May 1 through Sept. 30. Daily derby tickets are $10 and must be purchased in advance from official ticket vendors, which include local charter offices, bed and breakfasts, various stores and the official derby headquarters at Homer Harbor. Check there for specific derby rules.

There are a variety of ways to win and win big. There is a $10,000 drawing from among all the released halibut verified as being more than 80 pounds; monthly prizes of $1,000, $750, $500, $250 and $125 for the top five fish; $100,000 worth of specially tagged fish and a $2,000 cash drawing from among all ticket stubs.

Then, of course, there is the jackpot prize for the largest halibut caught during the season. Three dollars from each derby ticket sold will go into the jackpot.

The derby is the chamber's largest fund-raising event of the year. Call the chamber at 235-7740 or visit www.homerhalibutderby.com for more information.

Ninilchik Halibut Derby

Although smaller in scale, the annual Ninilchik Halibut Derby certainly is no slouch when it comes to having large fish. Last year's grand prize winner, caught by Don Habertein of Lake Forest, Calif., weighed in at a whopping 241 pounds. For his efforts, Habertein took home a check for $2,500.

This year's Ninilchik derby runs from May 5 through Aug. 31. Tickets can be purchased at a variety of vendors in town.

In addition to the $2,500 grand prize, Ninilchik derby participants have a chance to catch a $20,000 or $10,000 tagged fish, plus 48 other tagged fish worth numerous other prizes. There also are cash prizes awarded for the biggest fish caught each week and each month.

Tickets are $7 and are good for seven days or until the ticket holder weighs a fish.

Visit www.ninilchikchamber.com for more information.

Seward Silver Salmon Derby

As Alaska fishing derbies go, the Seward Silver Salmon Derby, sponsored by the Seward Chamber of Commerce, is the granddaddy of them all. This is its 49th year.

There are prizes galore, including a grand prize that came in last year at $10,000 that's a lot of silver! The derby also features daily prizes and tagged fish good for cash and valuable prizes from area merchants.

This year's tournament runs from Aug. 7-24. Entry fees are $50 for the entire tourney or $10 per day. You may fish from shore or from a boat.

Charters and boat rentals are available, but it is wise to make reservations early.

For more information, call the Seward Chamber of Commerce at (907) 224-8051.

Anchor Point 'Calcutta' offers two ways to win:

An annual fund-raiser for South Peninsula Sportsmen's Association, the King Salmon Calcutta Tournament is a different kind of fishing event. The tournament runs Friday and Saturday, May 7 and 8. On Friday, people bid on the boat they think will bring in the largest fish, while the fishing takes place Saturday. When the boats return, whoever bid on the boat bringing in the largest fish takes home half the pot. Last year's largest fish, weighing just over 50 pounds, netted the winner $2,400, while the winning bidder received $4,800. The final $2,400 raised went to the sportsmen's association for a variety of events it puts on throughout the year. Call 235-7427 for more information.



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