Idaho Man Made $15,241 For Winning Homer Halibut Derby

Sam Mills of St. Maries earned $15,241 for the 240-pound flatfish he caught July 27 while fishing with Capt. Chris Andrews on Alaska Coastal Marine’s Nautilus 2.

Only two derbies have produced smaller winners, and both of them happened in the last five years.

In 2015, a 224.4-pound fish made history as the smallest winner since the derby began in 1986. In 2013, the winner weighed 236.2 pounds.

Four of the last five winners have weighed less than 300 pounds, matching the number of winners that failed to hit the 300-pound mark in the derby’s first 27 years.

In general, halibut caught today in Gulf of Alaska waters near popular fishing destinations like Homer are smaller than halibut of the mid-1980s, when the derby began. Scientists don’t know why halibut are shrinking, but one of the theories is fishing pressure.

For that reason, a couple of years ago the derby added a prize to encourage participants to release fish that measure 48 inches or more. Those who do put their names in a drawing for $1,000, which this year was awarded to Richard Ragan of Anchorage.

Not all of the big fish are gone, however – the winner of this year’s Valdez halibut derby, caught by Freida Wiley of Valdez, weighed a derby-record 374 pounds.

Three Homer derby participants caught tagged fish, two worth $1,000 and another worth $500. Her catch was worth $15,000.

The Homer derby awards $10,000 to the winner, plus 50 cents from each $10 derby ticket sold. This year, 10,482 tickets were sold, a slight dip from the 10,756 sold in 2016 and a slight increase over the 10,433 sold in 2015.

The summer-long derby ended Sept. 15.

1986 — Tony DeMichelle, Homer, 312.0 lbs., $13,700
1987 — Ruby Caswell, Wasilla, 315.5 lbs., $5,000
1988 — Vince DeGeorge, San Clemente, California, 262 lbs., $9,631
1989 — William Lawrence, Anchorage, 275 lbs., $10,864
1990 — Steve Thomas, Delta Junction, 312.5 lbs., $12,306
1991 — Lonnie Crum, Anchorage, 304.8, $18,434
1992 — Patrick Niekamp, Ft. Recovery, Ohio, 308.5 lbs., $20,096
1993 — Yolanda McCarter, Escondito, California, 307.8 lbs., $18,644
1994 — Mike Wagner, Santa Rosa, California, 307.1 lbs., $18,734
1995 — Jim Clymer, Homer, 346.9 lbs., $31,730
1996 — Jerry Meinders Willmar, Minnesota, 376 lbs., $25,984
1997 — Jeffrey Council, Newberg, Oregon, 359.3 lbs., $28,844
1998 — Sean Coy, Wasilla, 320.8 lbs., $25,392
1999 — John McCray, Tuttle, Oklahoma, 295 lbs., $30,300
2000 — David Chaparro, Chicago, Illinois, 337 lbs., $31,820
2001 — Tom Barkman, Homer, 322 lbs., $33,514
2002 — Clayton McDowell, Eagle River, 347 lbs., $48,675
2003 –Joseph Volk, Reedsville, West Virginia, 345.4 lbs., $46,302
2004 — Don Hanks, Sparks, Nevada, 352.6 lbs., $51,298
2005 — Jim Corliss, Corvallis, Oregon, 310.4 lbs., $48,504
2006 — Duane Olson, Anchorage,  341.8 lbs., $43,612
2007 — Jerry Saunders, Chugiak,  358.4 lbs., $37,243
2008 — Jeff Pardi, San Rafael, California, 348.2 lbs., $45,475
2009 — Thomas Youngblood, Homer,  354.6 lbs., $40,440
2010 — Jamie Lynn Olvera, Fairbanks,  277.6 lbs., $40,610
2011 — Chad Aldridge, Soldotna, 350.8 lbs., $28,260
2012 — James Peeples, Chico, California, 323.2 lbs., $10,000
2013 — Gene Jones, Bellevue, Iowa, 236.2 lbs., $21,281
2014 — Jackson Hobbs, Franklin, Idaho, 335 lbs., $16,731.50
2015 — Linda Scott, Bloomington, Minn., 224.4 lbs., $15,216.50
2016 — Austin Nelson, North Pole, 252.2 lbs., $15,419.50
2017 — Sam Mills, St. Maries, Idaho, 240.0 lbs., $15,241

H/T ADN

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *