First-Timer Catches Big Valdez Derby Halibut

The following is courtesy of Valdez Fish Derbies:

With a 130.8-pound fish, Kimberly Baridiano – of Valdez. fishing on the Only Fins, caught hers on June 25.

VALDEZ, Alaska – Kimberly Baridiano moved to Valdez from the Philippines two years ago and went halibut fishing for the first time last Tuesday. Baridiano hooked into a 130.8-pound halibut and her catch put her on the leader board for a couple days, but it was the experience of catching a large fish that helped her understand why other people really get hooked on fishing. She went out on an overnight trip with her boyfriend and said initially the trip was more about camping and spending time together …until she hooked the big one. 

When Baridiano caught her halibut, she said the only thing she could think was, “Oh my god, this is so heavy. I cannot even put it in my own frickin’ boat!” She said she is now in awe of the people who do this. “It’s just a lot of dedication, a lot of time, a lot of (like) money”. Before going fishing Baridiano said she saw people who were happy to catch anything, and she had a ‘whatever’ type attitude. After catching her fish, she said this, “I got into this kind of (like) activity and I’m like, oh, yeah, now I want a bigger one …I get it”. Halibut anglers in Valdez are all trying to catch the derby winning halibut and take home $10,000. Currently leading the derby is Jeff Smith of Tucson, AZ with a 160.8 lb. halibut.

Jeff Smith of Tucson, Arizona, remains the leader at the Valdez Halibut Derby after carching a 160.8-pounder aboard the Connie B III. (VALDEZ FISH DERBIES)

Alaska Department of Fish and Game reports halibut are well-distributed throughout Prince William Sound and fishing has been good. ADF&G suggests fishing at the entrances of a bay or on large mounds at depths of 150 to 300 feet with a jig tipped with herring. Lingcod season opened July 1 and anglers are catching good-sized lingcod by jigging over rocky pinnacles in the outside waters of the Sound. Yelloweye Rockfish retention also opened on July 1 and anglers are having success finding pelagic rockfish near the entrances to Prince William Sound. Fishing for Pacific (gray) cod continues to be excellent. King salmon fishing has been fair to good in Prince William Sound with anglers finding success near Glacier Island. According to ADF&G King Salmon have been smaller sizes, but catch rates have been good. Anglers can try for Kings by trolling a herring behind a medium-sized flasher.

 The 2024 Valdez Kids Pink Salmon Derby is Saturday, July 20 and open to kids aged 5 to 16. Kids qualify for prizes by picking up a free Valdez Fish Derbies hat and posting a picture of themselves with the hat and a pink salmon in Valdez. Winners will be chosen at random to win cash prizes and fishing poles. The Kid’s Derby is sponsored by Valdez Fish Derbies and there is no entry fee. Pink salmon fishing is generally productive at Allison Point and along the shorelines. Pixies, spinners and Vibrax are all good options.

The Valdez Silver Salmon Derby will start Saturday, July 20 with a grand prize of $10,000 cash for the largest fish caught. The Women’s Silver Salmon Derby is slated for Saturday, August 10 and a Carnival Treasure Hunt is slated for Friday, August 9. CLICK HERE for more information.

Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders

1st           Jeff Smith                           Tucson, AZ                         160.8 lbs.           June 29                Connie B III

2nd               Summer Ruge                  Fairbanks, AK                   159.4 lbs.           May 27                 Chugach Girl

3rd           Tim Bouchard                   Valdez, AK                          153.4 lbs.           June 28                 Alaskan Adventure

Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – June 30th through July 6th

1st           Alex Filos                            North Pole, AK=               118.0 lbs.           June 30                 VO3
2nd          Jeff Poucher                      Fairbanks, AK                   117.7 lbs.           July 5                     Sentinel

For more information on the Valdez Derbies, visit: