Every year Alaska holds The Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby with the chances to win big with what you reel in. The 2018 derby runs from May 15 to September 15.
There’s a new leader in town, Bevilyn Wright from Texas reeled in a whopping 194-pound Halibut. Bevilyn is solidly in the first place for now, but there’s still time for someone else to haul in an even bigger fish before the end of the derby. On September 15, the winner will be announced for the biggest catch and will receive a cash prize and bragging rights.
If you think that Halibut is big, check out the new world record halibut caught by Marco Leibenow at a massive weight of 515 pounds. This Halibut was found in the waters off the coast of Norway and took the fisherman 90 minutes to reel in. It was a shock to us all that it was caught somewhere other than Alaska. After all that time they realized the boat did not have the capacity to handle a halibut of this size. Liebenow and his two companions towed the fish along their boat till they got to the dock and were able to transport it out of the water to be measured and weighed. This fisherman’s dream certainly came true when he got the results of catching the largest halibut of all time.
Leibenow is not the only one with a record catch. A man from South Dakota came close to the record for the largest Kenai king salmon ever caught. He and his father were on the river for three days and their hopes of catching something were gone. At last, on their last day, Johnson reels in a massive 70 pound Kenai king salmon. This was not an easy job for Johnson to bring into the boat. With the king salmon fighting back, it took him over an hour to complete the task. When that fish came out of the water people were in shock to see the size and thought for sure he broke the record. After patiently waiting for the results, he was still shy of the record by 28 pounds.
The record is still held by Les Anderson, catching a king salmon which weighed in at 97 pounds and 4 ounces back in 1985. They had to attempt three separate times to reel in the salmon, but it was not possible to get it up on the small boat. Anderson kept the salmon with the hook in the mouth and brought him back to the land. The 68-year-old will always be remembered as “the man who caught the world-record salmon.”
With Alaska being one of the hottest places for fisherman to go, this past season for fishing is showing us a decline in what people are catching. The halibut and king salmon aren’t growing anywhere near the size of these record-setting fish.
The Fish and Game are now changing the rules for sports fishing. You are no longer allowed to use bait to catch the salmon. Any king salmon that fisherman catch must be caught and released right back into the river. The preseason levels of king salmon were so low, an immediate closure was necessary in order to protect the populations of these vulnerable fish. The same goes for the halibut. Where in the past you were able to take home multiple halibuts, you are now limited to one halibut a day, as long as it meets the minimum size requirements.
The Fish and Game Department will notify fishers when the rules for sportfishing will be changed and when the number of the king salmon have increased. The numbers of the salmon are much lower than in the past. The size really does matter now and only time will tell if the population of these two fish recover.