Orange County’s largest Halibut Derby nears season end

Five-month fishing event in Dana Point is on the verge of completing its 10th year.

DANA POINT — Anglers drifting the southern and central Orange County coast for halibut will only have a few more weeks to catch the flatfish and amok the Dana Point Halibut Derby leaderboard.

David Sluder currently sits atop the leaderboard, with his 36-pound, 9-ounce halibut catch; Sluder reeled in his halibut on Dec. 29, 2017.

Two halibut caught on Jan. 14 made the Top 5: Cher Owens’ 32-pound, 4-ounce catch (second place) and Fred Erdmann’s 18-pound, 2-ounce flatfish (fifth).

The five heaviest catches qualify for a jackpot award. Last year’s first place finisher earned $1,500; the next four top catches received $1,600 combined.

Angler David Mendez finished first in last year’s Halibut Derby with a 32-pound catch.

The 10th annual Dana Point Halibut Derby kicked off Nov. 1, 2017 and continues through March 31. Sluder’s 36-pound, 9-ounce catch is the fish to beat.

Rounding out the Top 5 are Owens, Greg Harrington (25 pounds, 1 ounce, caught Nov. 12, 2017), Carlos De los Santos (19 pounds, 3 ounces) and Erdmann.

The remainder of the Top 25 catches range from 17 pounds, 4 ounces (Mark Luke) to 10 pounds, 7 ounces (Gino Palma).

One of the derby’s largest halibut catch was made in 2012, when local angler Peggy Stein reportedly reeled in a 42-pound flatfish. Her reported payout was almost $3,000.

This year’s top catch, by weight, will earn $1,500; cash prizes for the next four finishes are $750 (second place), $500 (third), $250 (fourth) and $100. The entry fee is $65.

Dana Point Halibut Derby photo

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