VALDEZ, Alaska – “It feels incredible! It doesn’t even feel real right now”, said Christina Ives a couple days after reeling in a 285.6-pound halibut. “It happened two days ago and I’m still ecstatic about it It doesn’t even feel real. It’s crazy I can’t believe it’s happening”.
Ives won the first place weekly prize and is currently in first place overall in the derby. If her fish hangs on as the largest through the end of the Valdez Halibut Derby September 1st, she could win $10,000 cash. Ives moved from Wisconsin to Alaska four years ago as a student and is currently working as a Corrections Officer in Fairbanks. “I’m just trying to live the Alaska Dream, I guess”, said Ives.
Ives said she has checked the previous winners out on the valdezfishderbies.com website and is aware that her catch is big enough to potentially hold on through the end. When asked about her chances, Ives responded, “I think they’re pretty good. I hope they’re pretty good but I don’t want to get my hopes up. But I feel like I have a really good chance of at least placing, whether it’s 1st or 3rd. I’ll be happy with either one …but of course I’m hoping for 1st. If Ives wins cash, she said she is not sure what she would do with the money but thought that she would like to use some to go fishing again and to pay off student loans. David Stack of Tyler, Texas reeled in a 158. 2 pound halibut on June 6th and is currently in 2nd place overall. Stack caught his 158.2 pound halibut aboard the Sea Walker June 6th. Edward Wahmann of Tok, Alaska is currently in 3rd place overall with a 126.2 pound halibut caught June 8th aboard the Nunatak. Ives wins the 1st place weekly prize and Stack wins the 2nd place weekly but they missed the Halibut Hullabaloo tournament by just one day. The Halibut Hullabaloo tournament runs June 7th through 16th and the angler catching the largest halibut within that time period will take home $1,000 cash in addition to the regular cash and prizes. A regular daily or season derby ticket is all an angler needs to purchase to participate in the Halibut Hullabaloo tournament.
Charters are heading out further for halibut, but Alaska Department of Fish and Game suggests that you don’t have to travel far to land a catch. They suggest trying fishing on a muddy bottom off a rock slope in 150 to 300 feet of water. ADF&G also suggests that shrimp flies might be a good option for Rockfish. “With a little added bait and targeting rocky pinnacles, you shouldn’t have trouble getting into some fish”, says ADF&G.
The Valdez Fish Derbies will be hosting the Kids Pink Salmon Derby Saturday, July 20th and the Women’s Silver Salmon Derby is slated for August 10th with an opening event Friday, August 9th. For more information on the Valdez Derbies, visit: www.valdezfishderbies.com