It's time once again for the Homer Chamber of Commerce's Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby. While much of this year's derby will look a whole lot like last year's derby, there are two important additions.
Grant Aviation is selling tickets in Homer and Anchorage this year and is offering a discount on air travel from Anchorage to Homer for travelers who purchase a derby ticket through Grant.
Also, for those who have no way to get out on the water or desire to fish, this year you won't need to catch a halibut to win. Every ticket purchased will go into a drawing worth $500.
The derby started Saturday and runs through Sept. 30.
This year looks to be one of the biggest yet with more than $190,000 in cash prizes.
Beyond just the top spot for the biggest fish, which netted Tom Youngblood $40,440 last year, there will be prizes for released fish, the catch-a-lefty prize, monthly cash prizes awarded to the top four placers, prizes for kids and lady anglers, barn door prizes, prizes for the winning angler's captain and more than $120,000 in tagged fish cash prizes.
So far there are 55 fish swimming in Kachemak Bay waters tagged for a value of $500, 39 fish worth $1,000 and five fish worth $10,000.
Derby director Paula Frisinger said that this year was a marked improvement over last year's tagging efforts.
"This year was phenomenal. It was a little iffy in the morning because of the weather. It was pretty windy and wavy but once we got out there it turned out to be a gorgeous day. Everyone pretty much got their tagging done by noon and went out fishing," said Frisinger.
To enter the derby anglers must first purchase a derby ticket, which costs $10. Each ticket allows any halibut caught during one day of fishing to be entered into the derby. There is a two halibut limit per person per day.
Multi-day tickets good for 10 days of fishing are available for $75.
Tickets can be purchased at local charter offices, local stores and some captains will sell tickets.
Each ticket sold adds $2.50 to the overall jackpot. The derby usually pulls in sales of between 13,000 and 18,000 tickets.
For weighing derby halibut, anglers will have to stop in at the Homer Halibut Derby headquarters on the Spit between 5:30 a.m. and 8 a.m, and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
"I'll be getting things ready for halibut headquarters down there on the Spit. We're really excited, the sun is shining right lately and we're hoping to have a great derby this year," said Frisinger.
Anglers must catch halibut using sport tackle and comply fully with Alaska Department of Fish and Game regulations.
For a full list of rules, information, monthly standings and updates on the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby check out the Web at www.homerhalibutderby.com.
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