On the last day of the 2014 Seward Halibut Jackpot Tournament, Penn Pro Staff Capt. Andy Mezirow and the crew of the Crackerjack Voyager did the impossible and caught a giant 312-pound Pacific Halibut. The largest halibut landed in Seward, Alaska, since the 337-pounder the Crackerjack Voyager landed to win the 2011 Tournament. The fish was caught on a bait fished from a Penn International 12 VSX II speed reel and a Penn Carnage Rod.
The angler and his group from Russia were ecstatic about the catch and had chartered the boat for the purpose of catching a derby winning halibut. The fight lasted 30 minutes and the fish was taken in the waters of the Prince William Sound. This fish marks three grand prize winners in the last four years for Captain Andy on the Crackerjack Voyager.
Mezirow attributes guiding fishermen to three of the last four grand prize winners in the Seward Jackpot Halibut Tournament to a few basic elements: Good tackle, a great crew and knowing where and when to be.
“I have been very fortunate to surround myself with a crew that is as focused in catching these fish as I am,” Mezirow said.
Leading up to the winning halibut, Mezirow had landed six daily big fish winners in the last three weeks, including a 251-pounder. The angler Case Voyt caught the 251-pounder on the last day of a three day long-range trip on the Crackerjack Voyager. He hooked this giant halibut in 150 feet of water in the North Gulf Coast of Alaska. He was fishing one of Captain Andy Mezirow’s Penn Fathom 25’s spooled with 65-pound Berkley tracer braid and a 10′ Berkley Pro Spec 80 fluorocarbon leader tied to an 8 oz. lead head and a Berkely White power bait 8″ grub. The fight lasted 45 minutes.
Captain Andy said “One thing is for sure, I can depend on my tackle to hold up to the pulling power of giant Pacific halibut.”
Choosing 50 top captains from among the thousands of excellent saltwater charter professionals who ply their trade throughout the world every day is difficult. So how did we come up with criteria for choosing? Several qualities resonated with our panel, things like longevity in the business. You’ll see many on this list who’ve remained at the top of the game for many years, in terms of competitive success in tournaments and everyday charter success. Diversity helps too: those who have demonstrated talent for catching different species in different circumstances, who show the ability to adapt as conditions dictate. A commitment to conservation also was key. Many of our captains figured out long ago that without wise management, our sport goes away. And finally, showmanship has a part. If you’re not entertained on a charter, you likely won’t come back. That’s how we chose our Top 50 Charter Captains, and we hope you enjoy the list. Please note the captains are listed alphabetically: No. 1 is not “better” than No. 50. They are all great in our estimation!
Hop over to BDOutdoors.com where they have done a great write up on Crackerjack and ProFishnSea charters performance in the 2013 Seward Jackpot Halibut Derby. Here’s a summary – Crackerjack won biggest fish of the tournament with a 211 pounder, and between us and Profish-n-Sea won 14 of the 30 daily prizes!
We are very excited about the new look for the Crackerjack Charters website. We went back to the folks at Boldwater, as their work ethic and understanding of the fishing business is the best. You will find several new sections in the site and the most exciting part that we now have the ability to post weekly fishing reports, photos and videos ourselves. So look for some great new current reports and videos on our you tube channel.