Add-ons bring Mills' Derby win to more than $15,000
Sam Mills certainly enjoyed his return to Homer last week. And for good reason. The St. Maries, Idaho, angler who landed the largest halibut during this season's Homer Halibut Jackpot Derby pocketed more than $15,000 for his efforts.
His winning halibut weighed in at 240 pounds.
Mills and his wife, Katrina, returned to Homer for the awards ceremony last Wednesday to accept a check for $15,241. He won $10,000 for taking firtst-place in the tournament, and an addition $5,241 as part of the 50 per ticket sold add-on.
During the tournament, Mills was fishing on the peninsula in July while Katrina was at home for their anniversary. She accompanied her husband to the awards ceremony as a belated anniversary gift.
Mills' charter captain, Capt. Chris Andrews of the Nautilus II of Alaska Coastal Marine, was responsible for helping him catch the winner. For his part, Andrews was awarded $1,524.10. Rosanna Hunting, from Central Charters, was awarded $1,000 for selling the winning derby ticket.
According to the Homer Chamber of Commerce, there were 10,482 tickets sold this season, including 173 youth tickets. In early spring, sponsors and volunteer captains tagged and released over 75 halibut in preparation for the 2017 season. Tagged fish were valued at $250, $500 and $1,000. Anglers who caught a prior year tag received $100. There were three 2017 tagged fish caught paying out a total of $2,500; one 2016 tag and two 2015 tags caught.
Unfortunately, no anglers caught the $10,000 Homer Chamber of Commerce or $50,000 GCI tagged fish this year. Five youth winners were drawn at the "After Season Party" on Wednesday, Sept. 20. Each youth was awarded $210 and a subscription to Fish Alaska magazine. All youth contestants were entered into the drawing just for having purchased a derby ticket.
The Chamber offers an end of the season "Released Fish" prize drawing valued at $1,000 to encourage anglers to release fish over 48 inches. The "Catch & Release" winner was Richard Ragan from Anchorage.
Central Charters and Sportsman Supply each won $250 for selling the most derby tickets.