Sooke Halibut Derby goes swimmingly

Sooke Halibut Derby goes swimmingly

Over 100 participants took part in fourth annual derby

According to organizer Ron Neitsch, last week’s fishing derby was a halibut time.

The event on May 6, the fourth annual Sooke Halibut Derby, drew more than 100 participants.

“We had around 35 fish weighed in, and some beautiful weather so it was a great day,” said Neitsch, owner of 2 Reel Fishing Adventures in Sooke.

The winning fish was caught by Sooke resident James Cool, who won $3,000 for his halibut weighing in at 41.6 lbs. The second-place fish was caught by Pat Thompson at 40.86 lbs, with third place going to Brian Hotovy for his 39.14 lbs. halibut.

More than 60 pounds of fillets from the event were donated to the Sooke Food Bank, and money from sponsors will go toward local salmon enhancement efforts. Last year’s event raised about $8,000.

“The best part about these derbies is that they give back to the community,” Neitsch noted. “I like to think of it as an economy booster as well, because it draws people to Sooke and promotes so many local businesses.”

While has hasn’t completed tabulating how much money was raised, it is likely to be similar to last year’s amount.

Neitsch aims to increase attendance and offer bigger prizes for next year’s event.

“We have a couple more to look forward to this year, and it’s great because it keeps people interested in fishing during the off-season.”