By Sean Pearson
Chances are, fisherman Mark Meaders of Lake Geneva, Wisc., was feeling pretty good on Monday when he pulled a 197-pound halibut from the waters of Kachemak Bay. Meaders was fishing with Alaskan Fishing Adventures aboard the F/V Yoda.
For more than a month, Cheboygan, Mich. angler Molly Malthby sat atop the Homer Halibut Jackpot Derby leaderboard with a 196.8-pound flat fish she caught on June 6. And, while Meaders’ fish just barely bested Malthby’s, it was enough to unseat the reigning champion.
And then along came Ned Friedman — from Chiloquin, Ore.
Friedman was also out fishing on Monday. He was playing the angling odds with Greg Northover and Arctic Fishing and Hunting Expeditions aboard the F/V Quintessence. And, apparently, he’s one for doing things in a really big way.
Instead of barely edging short-time leader Meaders’ 197-pounder, he went all out, and hauled in a 277.8-pound monster to move straight to the top of the leaderboard.
If you’re looking to get in on the action, now might be a really good time. Halibut fishing success has been fair to good with several large size fish being caught over the past week. And many anglers are catching their limits. Success has improved as more fish move from deep, over-wintering waters back into shallow, summer feeding areas.
Rumor has it, a 220-pounder was caught and weighed in, but the angler didn’t have a derby ticket. That can ruin a great day out on the water. (Oh, who am I kidding? Any day spent fishing is a great day!)
In other Derby news, Soldotna angler Cindy Watson caught and weighed in a decent 79.4 halibut while aboard the private vessel, Miss Molly with skipper Ron Bennett. Watson said she was “totally stoked” by the fun experience of hauling in this fish on 25-pound test line. She lost a larger halibut earlier in the day just as it neared the boat.
1. 277.8 pounds, caught by Ned Friedman of Cheloquin, Ore. on July 14. Friedman was fishing with Arctic Fishing and Hunting Expeditions and Captain Greg Northover aboard the F/V Quintessence.
2. 197 pounds, caught by Mark Meaders of Lake Geneva, Wisc. on July 14. Meaders was fishing with Alaskan Fishing Adventures and Captain Donny aboard the F/V Yoda.
3. 196.8 pounds, caught by Molly Maltby of Cheboygan, Mich. on June 6. Maltby was fishing with North Country Charters and Captain Ben Martin aboard the F/V Fringe Benefit.
4. 185 pounds, caught by Casey Byrnes of Palmer on July 6. Byrnes was fishing with Brooks Alaskan Adventures and Captain Josh Brooks aboard the F/V Huntress.
5. 141.8 pounds caught by Michael Martini of Sunman, Ind. on June 5. Martini was fishing with North Country Charters and Captain Ben Martin aboard the F/V Fringe Benefit.
6. 139 pounds, caught by Mike Keno (Madras) on June 26. Leno was fishing with Big Bear Halibut Charters and Captain Rob Hyslip aboard the F/V Bear Force l.
7. 134.4 pounds, caught by Sean Hoffbeck of Kenai on June 22. Hoffbeck was fishing with Drift Alaska Charters and Captain Gabe Linegar aboard the F/V Casino.
8. 110.6 pounds, caught by Weldon Creech of Houston, Texas on June 22. Creech was fishing with Big Bear Halibut Charters and Captain Ethan Harders aboard the F/V Bear Force II.
9. 108.8 pounds, caught by David Longacre of Orrstown, Penn. on June 4. Longacre was fishing with Reel Fun Charters and Captain Willie Beachy aboard the F/V Daze Off.
10. 106.6 pounds, caught by David Conklin of North Pole on July 5. Conklin was fishing with Big Bear Halibut Charters and Captain Ethan Harders aboard the F/V Bear Force II.
Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby leaderboard standings are updated regularly at www.homeralaska.org.
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