Valdez angler Justin Hoppe took the early lead in his hometown's annual halibut derby, hooking a 97-pound fish Saturday in Prince William Sound.
Hoppe caught his fish aboard Dan Orion charters. So did Shawn Shipman of Whitehorse, who ranks second in the derby with the 70.4-pound halibut he caught Saturday.
The Valdez Halibut Derby ends Sept. 1 and will pay $15,000 to the winner. Second place pays $5,000 and third place is worth, and every one who buys a ticket will be entered in a drawing for a new truck.
Derby tickets are $10 a day or $50 for the season and must be purchased before heading out on the water. Weigh-in runs from 3-8 p.m. daily at the derby shack located kitty corner from the harbor master's office.
The limit for halibut in Prince William Sound is two per person.