Five-hundred-thirty anglers competed for $60,000 in cash and prizes, including a chance at a brand-new Toyota Tundra truck and fishing trips to Mexico and Alaska, at the 34th Annual Marina del Rey Halibut Derby Saturday and Sunday, April 5th and 6th.
Angler Dominic Gonzalez took home the top prize with his 37.3-pound halibut that was caught April 5th at the derby, considered the oldest and largest fishing tournament on the West Coast of the U.S.
Mark Pierpont won first place in the kayak angler competition with his 35.6-pound halibut.
Only 17 halibut were weighed in during the competition. Several halibut were brought to the scales Saturday afternoon, April 5th, and many anglers on the leader board were hoping that the weight of their fish would maintain its position through the next day.
In the end, Gonzalez prevailed wire-to-wire to capture first place in the competition. He won a fishing vacation for two to Baja California’s East Cape, called the roosterfish capital of the world, including a seven-day, six-night stay at the Hotel Punta Colorada, all meals, three days of fishing, freezing and packing the catch, and a check for $1,000 to help pay for air fare between Los Angeles and Los Cabos.
Gonzalez also earned another check for $2,625.
The other top finishers and the weight of their halibut were:
— second place: Ruben Valdez, with a 35.8-pound halibut;
— third place: Mark Pierpont, with a 35.6-pound halibut;
— fourth place: Tom Brooks, with a 28-pound halibut; and
— fifth place:ÝMike Eckardt, with a 25.6-pound halibut.
Proceeds from the event will support the Marina del Rey Anglers’ Youth Fishing Program and its Ocean Resources Enhancement Program, which has raised and released 105,000 juvenile white sea bass into Santa Monica Bay since its founding in 1994.
The derby also presented rods and reels to the sixth-through-15th- place finishers.
Following Pierpont in the kayak angler competition, the second-place finisher was Paul Quirk for his 9.1-pound halibut.
Two kayakers placed in the top 15 places for the first time in the 34 years of Marina del Rey Halibut Derby.
No halibut were caught in the ladies or youth divisions.
In the Team Jackpot division, Tom Brooks, Mike Eckardt and Alma Cadero earned $1,867 for their first place team jack pot.
Information, www.halibutderby .com/.