Not everybody leaves their first trip to Alaska with a behemoth 335-pound halibut, but that is exactly what 16-year-old Jackson Hobbs managed to do on Tuesday while fishing near Homer. The Idaho teen’s vacation to Alaska was a gift from his grandfather for becoming an eagle scout, the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America. According to Alaska Dispatch News, Hobbs intends on landing an even bigger fishing during his remaining days in the state.
“He’s out fishing right now on the same boat,” said Jim Lavrakas, director of the Homer Chamber of Commerce.
Lavrakas is overseeing the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby, which Hobbs is currently leading by more than 50 pounds. Lavrakas adds that if Hobbs manages to hold the top spot until the end of the derby on September 15, he will likely be the youngest angler to even win the competition—along with receiving at least $10,000 in prize money. However, Hobbs almost passed up the opportunity altogether.
Travis Larson, the charter captain with Hobbs when he made his massive catch, told GrindTV that the teen bought the derby ticket on a whim shortly before they went fishing. When Larson learned that Hobbs had bought the ticket, he initially thought that it was a sign of good luck for the young angler.
“As a crew, we were discussing this en route to the fishing grounds and mentioned that the fish gods would certainly smile at him today,” Larson said. “I guess they did!”
It would take a truly impressive fish to unseat Hobb’s lead, but Lavrakas says that it is not out of the realm of possibility. In the derby’s 24-year history, a dozen fish matched or exceeded Hobb’s catch, with the all-time record being a 376-pound halibut.