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Anglers compete to land big one

Posted: Tuesday, April 22, 2003

As the heart of Alaska's sportfishing community, it's no surprise the Kenai Peninsula is home to some of Alaska's oldest and most popular fishing derbies.

Many of these derbies offer huge cash prizes for anglers lucky enough to pull out that rare trophy "lunker."

Here are a few of the derbies taking place this summer:

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, Clayton McDowell of Eagle River caught a 347-pounder, good enough for a first prize of $48,675, 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 Labor Day. 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 $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 (907) 235-7740.

The 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 Dave Grob of El Cerrito, Calif., weighed in at a whopping 377 pounds. For his efforts, Grob took home a check for $2,500.

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.

Tickets are $5 per day and only one fish may be checked per ticket. There will be 11 $100 prizes awarded from a random drawing from among the tickets sold.

Call the Ninilchik Chamber of Com-merce at (907) 567-3571 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 48th year.

There are prizes galore, including a grand prize of $10,000. The next dozen biggest salmon caught during the nine-day tourney will win lesser cash prizes down to a low of $500. Tagged fish qualify for prize money of $10,000 to $50,000, but all caught tagged fish will be worth at least $100. The top 50 silvers will win prizes of cash, goods and services. There are $50 daily prizes for the top fishes entered by a man, woman and youth. A $20 daily prize will be paid for the "mystery fish" drawn at random from the fish entered that day.

This year's tournament runs from Aug. 9-24. 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.

Seward also hosts a halibut derby running this year from May 1 to Aug. 1. The winning halibut each week will win $500, while second- and third-place finishers will take home $250 and $125 cash prizes. The grand prize winner will receive a cash prize based on the number of entries.

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 9 and 10. On Friday, people bid on the boat they think will bring in the largest fish, while the fishing takes place on 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 43 pounds, netted the winner $2,612, while the winning bidder received $5,225. Call 235-7427 for more information.

As the heart of Alaska's sportfishing community, it's no surprise the Kenai Peninsula is home to some of Alaska's oldest and most popular fishing derbies.

Many of these derbies offer huge cash prizes for anglers lucky enough to pull out that rare trophy "lunker."

Here are a few of the derbies taking place this summer:

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, Clayton McDowell of Eagle River caught a 347-pounder, good enough for a first prize of $48,675, 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 Labor Day. 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 $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 (907) 235-7740.

The 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 Dave Grob of El Cerrito, Calif., weighed in at a whopping 377 pounds. For his efforts, Grob took home a check for $2,500.

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.

Tickets are $5 per day and only one fish may be checked per ticket. There will be 11 $100 prizes awarded from a random drawing from among the tickets sold.

Call the Ninilchik Chamber of Com-merce at (907) 567-3571 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 48th year.

There are prizes galore, including a grand prize of $10,000. The next dozen biggest salmon caught during the nine-day tourney will win lesser cash prizes down to a low of $500. Tagged fish qualify for prize money of $10,000 to $50,000, but all caught tagged fish will be worth at least $100. The top 50 silvers will win prizes of cash, goods and services. There are $50 daily prizes for the top fishes entered by a man, woman and youth. A $20 daily prize will be paid for the "mystery fish" drawn at random from the fish entered that day.

This year's tournament runs from Aug. 9-24. 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.

Seward also hosts a halibut derby running this year from May 1 to Aug. 1. The winning halibut each week will win $500, while second- and third-place finishers will take home $250 and $125 cash prizes. The grand prize winner will receive a cash prize based on the number of entries.

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 9 and 10. On Friday, people bid on the boat they think will bring in the largest fish, while the fishing takes place on 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 43 pounds, netted the winner $2,612, while the winning bidder received $5,225. Call 235-7427 for more information.



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