Bridge closure can't stop P.A. Halibut Derby

The president of the group is Bryan Bukovnik, Bill Early and Bob Beausoleil are his vice presidents, Heather Eims is the secretary and John Raske is the longtime treasurer, but you probably don't know any of them except in business efforts.

They are leaders of the Port Angeles Salmon Club and they, along with 22 directors, are ready to put on the ninth-annual Port Angeles Halibut Derby this coming weekend.

There are cash prizes worth $20,000 up for grabs for the anglers who take part in the two-day event Saturday and Sunday, with the biggest halibut slated to net the lucky angler $5,000.

The club is going out on a big limb, knowing the Hood Canal bridge was going to be closed the weekend of the event and knowing many participants have come from the Kitsap Peninsula. In two of the previous eight events, Port Orchard anglers have won.

The directors decided to go ahead with the derby. It's been a losing effort, money wise. Last year, $24,827 was taken in and $26,330 was spent and that's been the case through the years, so the entry fee was hiked from $30 to $40 for one or both days and fishing hours were extended from daylight until 2 p.m. Sunday as well as on Saturday.

The entry fee includes a Port Angeles Halibut Derby cap and the 30 prize winners not only are awarded cash from $135 to $5,000 but receive another hat that says "winner" on the back.

Way back in 2008: It was a great way to celebrate eight years of derbies when a 180-pounder hit the scales on the first day and that fish set a new record. Jason Sanko of Port Orchard was the lucky winner. Sanko has been fishing the derby since 2004 but failed to cash in until the big slab hit his herring early on the first day off Green Point.

Port Angeles anglers took the next four places, $2,500 to John Clark for a 113-pounder, Rich Rodibaugh $1,500 for a 79 and Gary Daugherty with a 77 good for $1,200.

Registration last year was 780 and winners came from Grape View, Kent, Des Moines, Orting, Seabeck, Chimacum, Enumclaw, Tacoma, Edmonds, Friday Harbor, Bainbridge Island, Shelton and Seal Rock in Oregon,

Salmon Club officials will be happy to get that many again this year.

Register at Swain's General Store in Port Angeles or online at and anglers can register right up to daylight Sunday, May 24.

Radio KONP will provide live broadcasts from derby headquarters at the Port Angeles Yacht Club so anglers at home and on the water can keep track of top fish and weather information. Reports begin at 7:15 a.m. on Saturday, 8:30 a.m. on Sunday and will be broadcast about every half hour.

There have been some big halibut caught in recent weeks and the outlook is very good with decent tides both days.

Scooter Chapman can be reached at

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