To participate in the derby all you need to to is buy a $10 ticket. You can buy this ticket at the weigh station or from your halibut charter captain. If you don't think you're a lucky fisherman who doesn't catch big fish then think again. It's not all about a big fish.Here is a partial list of the prizes available.
- $10,000 random drawing for any halibut over 60lbs released.
- monthly prizes for biggest halibut.
- 100 tagged halibut with payouts ranging from $500 to $10,000.
- lady angler and kid prizes.
- $2.50 out of $10 derby ticket paid out for the largest halibut of the summer.
For a complete list of rules and prizes check out http://www.homeralaska.org/.
This past fall I had a lady in my boat that said she caught a tagged halibut. I asked her what the payout was and she said "zero". She pulled the tag out of her pocket (photo below) and said the tag had "2008" on it so she was out of the money. I still found it interesting to meet someone who caught a tagged halibut and to see what the tournament tag looks like.
I have unsuccessfully participated in the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby since it began in 1986. Every year I pause and think that I shouldn't buy a derby ticket because I've never caught a qualifying fish. However, there are enough stories out there about of people who chose not to buy a derby ticket and they caught a tagged fish or an extremely large fish. I'm a bit of a risk taker, not so much a gambler, but I will continue to fork out a ten spot when I'm out halibut fishing.
As I scratch my chin and type this post I'm wondering if this year will be my year. Time will tell.....