LocalFish Rap

Dana Wharf’s 15th Annual Halibut Derby

DANA POINT— From Jan. 1 through May 31, Dana Wharf will host the 15th Annual Halibut Derby, a five-month-long derby where anglers compete to catch the biggest halibut. Peggy Stein currently holds the record at 43.10 lbs. 


“For 2023, we have added some new features,” said Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching COO Donna Kalez in an email from Dec. 14. “We are starting at 6 a.m. this year instead of 7 a.m. – entering is easy. Jump on any local fishing trip and pay an entry fee of $5.00, or Dana Wharf has specific trips that only drift for Halibut and are offered Friday and/or Sunday.” 


Join a Halibut Drift Day Trip on Fridays or Sundays from 6 a.m.- 3 p.m. This is a specific halibut drift trip that solely targets halibut; the last day for this option is May 28. You also have the option to join any open party local half or three-quarters-day trip and pay a $5 entry fee. The top angler at the end of the derby will win $2000. 


Anglers that catch the 25 largest halibut will win a spot to compete in the Free Fish Off on June 4th. The top angler and the end of the Free Fish Off will win $1000. If no legal halibut is caught, then that prize money will be divided by the number of anglers onboard. 


Each month of the derby, the angler who catches the largest halibut by weight will be awarded prizes totaling $1000, including a $100 Dana Wharf gift card, a Daiwa rod/reel combo, and other prizes from Hogan’s Bait & Tackle, Fishworks, BD Outdoors, Costa sunglasses, and a $100 Wind & Sea restaurant gift card (no angler can win this more than once). Tickets cost $91, and a portion of every entry will go to Coastal Conservation Association which protects the right to fish. 


“Dana Wharf has given away over $100,000 in cash and prizes during the past 15 years; all you have to do is catch a legal Halibut. Everyone has the same chance,” said Kalez. 


To purchase your ticket, please visit https://danawharf.com/fishing-trips/halibut-derby/

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