Big catches highlight Halibut Derby

By: FishRap Staff

MARINA DEL REY — Fishing trips to Alaska and La Paz were among the top prizes awarded to anglers who won big at the 40th annual Halibut Derby held in Marina del Rey last month.

Don Demarse was the derby’s big winner, claiming top honors among individual anglers and in the team competition.

The two-day derby held April 18 and 19 at Burton Chace Park in Marina del Rey featured 125 anglers competing for five individual and three team awards amidst ideal weather conditions. According to, the mercury ranged between 56 and 74 degrees during the derby’s opening day, followed by a high of 68 and low of 55 for day two.

In addition to competing for cash and prizes, anglers helped Marina del Rey Anglers, organizers of the Halibut Derby, raise money for Marina Del Rey Anglers Youth Fishing Program and White Sea Bass Grow Out Program. The funds raised will help Marina del Rey Anglers take more than 500 at-risk and disabled children fishing and annually release 10,000 juvenile white sea bass.

The winners in the individual angler competition were:
Don Demarse, first place, 32.3-poind California halibut
Jacob Curtis, second place, 21.5-pound California halibut
Keith Lambert, third place, 20-pound California halibut
David Wilks, fourth place, 15.875-pound California halibut
Jeff Compton, fifth place, 8.2-pound lingcod

The derby also recognized the top three teams:
Irish Grown (Don Demarse, Mark McNally), 32.3 pounds combined
Ramblin (Keith Lambert, Jeff Morris, Fred Wolfe, Ramon Cendejas). 24.4 pounds combined
Slob Central (Jacob Curtis, Donald Vegter, Michael Gonsalves, Kevin Conlon) 21.5 pounds combined

Demarse was awarded a three-day and four-night trip to Sitka Point Lodge in Alaska with complimentary airfare; in second place, Curtis claimed a five-day, four-night trip to La Paz, Mexico, with Tailhunter International Sportfishing (airfare included). For his third place finish, Lambert was rewarded with a three-day tuna trip aboard Vagabond in San Diego, while Wilks won a 2.5-day tuna trip aboard Eclipse Aug. 13 to 16; Compton earned a one-day guided coastal trip with professional angler Benny Florentino.

Teams also competed for a cash jackpot.

The Halibut Derby is hailed as the largest fishing tournament in Los Angeles.

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