VALDEZ, Alaska – With less than two weeks left in the Valdez Halibut and Silver Salmon Derbies, only time will tell if Mickia Cenker of Fairbanks, Alaska will remain in the lead through September 6th and win the Valdez Halibut Derby. Cenker caught a 224 pounder aboard the Halibut Grove. Cenker came down to Valdez to and ended up finding herself on top of the leaderboard. “I came down here for some birthday fishing and obviously got a pretty good present,” Cenker said. Cenker will end up with an even bigger gift if her halibut holds out to the end of the derby for that $5,000 1st place prize. Cenker went on to describe her odds, saying, “There are a lot of people out there, lots of fish to catch, and there’s definitely a bigger one out there.” The Valdez Silver Salmon Derby began in 1971 and the smallest winner on record is Jim Burzinski’s 15.11 pound silver caught the first year of the derbies in 1971. In the last 20 years, winners have been in the 17 to 22 pound range.
Silver salmon are being caught just off the City Docks and at Allison Point so there will be a lot of opportunities for anglers to catch salmon the last two weeks of the derby. Boat anglers are still having success out toward Goose and Glacier Island.
In the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby Charles Young of Fairbanks, AK caught a 14.20 pound silver salmon and is currently in 3rd place overall on the leaderboard. Although his fish was not small, Young plans to do even better, “We’ll be back this coming weekend to try to do it again.” This wasn’t Young’s first time on the leaderboard and it doesn’t look like it will be his last either. Ten years back, Young and his son caught an 18.9 pound silver to win third overall in the silver derby. Young, a seasoned fisherman, knows what he’s doing. “25 years of fishing for silvers, you tend to get that sixth sense.” Young said the secret to silver fishing is to fish deep and be patient.
Currently in 2nd place overall in the Halibut Derby is Jim Rothenbuhler of Salcha with a 201.2 pounder and currently holding onto 3rd place in the derby is Kenny Tussey of North Pole with a 193.4 pound flat fish. Both the Valdez Halibut and Silver Salmon derbies will end at noon on Sunday, September 6th. Last year’s winning halibut was 285.6 pounds caught by Christina Ives from Fairbanks, AK.
Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st Mickia Cenker Fairbanks, AK 224.0 lbs. Aug 16 Halibut Grove 2nd Jim Rothenbuhler Salcha, AK 201.2 lbs. June 23 The Bucketlist 3rd Kenny Tussey North Pole, AK 193.4 lbs. July 5 Dan Orion
Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners
1st Mickia Cenker Fairbanks, AK 224.0 lbs. Aug 16 Halibut Grove 2nd Brayden David Montgomery, MN 109.0 lbs. Aug 19 Nunatuk
Silver Derby – Overall Leaders
1st Alisa Mac Innes Tampa, FL 14.88 lbs. Aug 7 Josie Whales 2nd John Oliver Fairbanks, AK 14.42 lbs. Aug 14 Nseafish nt funds 3rd Charles Young Fairbanks, AK 14.20 lbs. Aug 14 Reel Dreams