Relax and enjoy the views during a three-hour boat ride out to Catalina Island or offshore. Once we arrive, this full-day fishing trip is truly amazing! Reserve your spot online.
Annual contest for cash and prizes!
- Minor Under 18, must be accompanied by an adult
15th annual Halibut Derby – coming January 2023 information to be released soon!
14th Annual Halibut Derby
Two Ways to Enter Our California Fishing Contest:
- Halibut Drift Days: Fridays and/or Sundays from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Limited load 25 passengers. $79 per person, $5 entry fee included in price. These are specific halibut drift trips that solely target halibut. The final drift is Sunday, March 27th. (No discounts of any kind accepted on drift trips)
- Enter on any open party 1/2 or 3/4 day trip! Cost is $5 and will be taken at the time of check-in. Entry must be paid before boat departs. Entry is only valid for the day it is purchased. To enter on a different day, an additional entry ticket must be purchased. (Charters not allowed in Derby.)
$79 Entry Fee
Past Halibut Derby Winners:
2022 – Jonathan Sterling- 27 lbs 10oz
2021 – Frank Sahanas – 24 lbs 10oz
2020 – Cher Owens – 22 lbs
2019 – Brian Dancer – 26.1 lbs
2018 – David Sluder – 36.9 lbs
2017 – David Mendez – 32 lbs
2016 – Jerry Boston – 23.5 lbs
2015 – Norm Bell – 21.14 lbs
2014 – Stephen Green – 40.11 lbs
2013 – Mark Piercy – 37.5 lbs
2012 – Peggy Stein – 43.10 lbs ***still largest fish ever in the derby
2011 – Mike Knudtson – 43.08 lbs
2010 – Paul Pappas – 31.14 lbs
2009 – Jerry Vyhnis – 32.2 lbs
- Fishing Equipment: Spinning reel rods are available to rent for $18 dollars and include a small tackle package.
- Fishing License Regulations: Anglers 16 years of age or older are required to have a fishing license before getting on the boat. Please pre-purchase your licenses online at https://www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/InternetSales/.
- Food and Beverages: Our boats feature full-service cash galleys that offer beverages, snacks, and hot sandwiches for purchase.
- Gratuities: Tips for the hard-working crew members are optional but greatly appreciated! Typical tips range from $5-$10 per adult ticket.
At the end of the derby, the top 5 anglers who catch the largest halibut (by weight) will receive the top 5 Cash Prizes – 1st place $1500, 2nd place $750 , 3rd Place $500 , 4th Place $250, and 5th Place $100
$500 cash prize will go to the winner of the Dana Wharf Halibut Derby Fish Off on Sunday, April 11, 2021 The Fish Off will be a free trip for the top 25 anglers who catch the top 25 halibut (by weight) during the Halibut Derby.
Each month of the derby the angler who catches the largest halibut that month, will win a $100 Dana Wharf Gift Card and a Daiwa rod/reel combo package, Plus prizes from Hogan’s Bait and Tackle, Fishworks, Costa Sunglasses and Wind and Sea Restaurant . An overall value of $1000!
Every angler entered in the Derby that catches a Halibut 15lbs or larger will win a $65 gift box filled with prizes from BD OUTDOORS. (Gift box will be mailed to the angler.)
Each Drift Day every angler will be entered in a raffle to win a $50 gift card to Dana Wharf to be used towards trips or merchandise (excludes Halibut Derby)
Each Drift Day the JACKPOT winner for the day with the biggest halibut will receive a free HALIBUT DERBY shirt from Dana Wharf
- The top 20 angler leader board will be visible on the Dana Wharf website.
- An angler may only have 1 space on the top 20 leader board. The angler’s heaviest halibut will be used in the case that the angler has multiple halibut
- Last year’s Derby Winner is not eligible for the current year’s Derby Grand Prize
- TO BE ENTERED IN THE DERBY, YOU MUST BE ON A HALIBUT DRIFT DAY TRIP OR PAY A $5 ENTRY FEE ON A REGULAR ½- OR ¾-DAY OPEN PARTY TRIP!!! On regular ½-Day or ¾-Day Open Party trips, you must purchase your entry before the boat departs the dock. The $5 entry fee is included in the price on Halibut Drift Day trips. Sorry, no discounts for the Halibut Drift Days.
- Each paid ticket on a Halibut Drift Day is considered the angler’s entry into the derby for that day only. Each $5 entry on a regular ½-day or ¾-day is considered the angler’s entry into the derby for that day only.
- All anglers competing in the Derby and Fish Off must comply with all California Department of Fish and Game laws.
- Halibut must be caught on rod and reel in order to be eligible for the derby.
- Anglers must hook and land halibut with minimal crew assistance in order to be eligible for the Fish-Off or for the Derby Prize Money. The crew may only assist with gaffing or netting the halibut. No hook and hands will be counted. Captain of the boat has final say as to the eligibility of the halibut. All disputes MUST be handled the same day as the halibut is caught.
- We will be targeting halibut all day on the Halibut Drift Day trips. This can include drifting or anchoring. On regular ½-day or ¾-open party trips, we may or may not be fishing in areas known for Halibut.
- The largest 5 halibut of the derby (by weight) will receive the prize money at the end of the derby. Should there be a tie; the money will be divided equally.
- The top 20 angler leader board will be visible on the Dana Wharf website. An angler may only have 1 space on the top 20 leader board. The angler’s heaviest halibut will be used in the case that the angler has multiple halibut.
- An additional daily jackpot on the boat will be available just as it is normally and entry is optional.
- All eligible halibut will be weighed and filleted aboard the boat.
- Anyone caught cheating in the tournament will forfeit all cash prizes and lose their position in the top 20 leader board immediately.
- There is a passenger minimum of 10 for any trip to depart.
- If a scheduled Halibut Drift Day trip is missed due to weather or other circumstances, it will not be made up.
- The $100 gift card and rod and reel prize cannot be won more than one time during the Derby, and in the event that the winner of the rod and reel does not live here, it cannot be shipped.
- Minors must be accompanied by an adult.
The Dana Wharf Halibut Derby Fish-Off will be a FREE trip for the top 20 anglers who catch the top 20 halibut (by weight) between November 1st, 2021 and March 27, 2022. The trip will be rescheduled if there is poor weather.
- The largest halibut (by weight) caught on the Fish-Off will receive a $500 cash prize. There will be no daily jackpot available on this trip.
- If no legal halibut are caught on the Fish-Off, then the $500 will be split among ALL of the anglers on the Fish-Off.
- In the case of a tie on the Fish-Off, the largest halibut will be determined by weight AND length.
- Anglers must hook and land halibut with minimal crew assistance in order to be eligible for the Fish-Off or for the Derby Prize Money. The crew may only assist with gaffing or netting the halibut. No hook and hands will be counted. Captain of the boat has final say as to the eligibility of the halibut. All disputes MUST be handled the day of the Fish-Off.
- Halibut must be caught on rod and reel in order to be eligible.
- All anglers competing in the Derby and Fish-Off must comply with all California and Federal Fish and Game laws.
- All eligible halibut will be weighed and filleted aboard the boat.
- There will be no alternates on the Fish-Off. If one of the top 20 anglers cannot make the Fish-Off, their position will not be filled.
This seems to be a pretty popular setup among our anglers. There are quite a few variations of this setup. I prefer the reverse dropper loop setup with a 3 or 4 oz. torpedo sinker. This means short sinker leader with a longer 24 leader to the hook. The stinger hook set up is probably the best. Snell in a regular 1/0 hook about 10• from the end of the leader (this distance really depends on the size of the bait that is being used). Then tie a treble hook on the tag end of the leader to act as the stinger hook. You then hook the 1/0 hook through the nose of the bait and the treble hook down by the anal fin of the bait with 2 of the 3 hooks exposed. A vast majority of the halibut I’ve seen caught have jus the stinger hook in its mouth. Pretty effective.
Drifting is typically the best “method” as you can cover some water. But you can, however, have some success if you have this type of setup and try fishing different areas of the boat and not just fishing in the same spot on the boat.
This picture shows all kinds of crazy stuff like swivels and beads. There are now 3 line connections that can fail. It’s not really necessary. Some people swear by it, I think if you can tie a decent knot on your dropper loop than a swivel is not necessary. If you feel more comfortable with tying the same knot on all the connections to the swivel then go for it. It’s all preference.
~ Brian (Capt. Of the Sum Fun)