Stafford Fish and Game Club hosts 47th annual kids’ fishing derby
By Annie Gentile - ReminderNews
Stafford - posted Tue., May. 7, 2013
The starting shot went off at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning, May 5, and with it, hundreds of fishing lines were simultaneously cast into the 3-acre pond. An announcement came over the loudspeaker: “There are a lot of big trout in here, so hold onto your kids if they’re small.” The 47th annual Stafford Fish and Game Club Kids’ Fishing Derby had begun.
“This is the biggest event we have all year, and the reason I belong to this club,” said Bill Igoe, a club member from Springfield, Mass. It was Igoe’s job to ready the grounds for the big day, then help with organizing parking for the well-attended event.
Bill Winnie, also a club member, said at the start of the derby, they had just shy of 200 kids, plus their families, and the cars kept streaming in. “We stock the pond with about 330 fish, with three varieties of trout - rainbow, browns and brookies,” he said.
The derby ran from 9 a. m. to 3 p.m., with participants spreading out all around the pond and with a large area set up for prizes, games and concessions.
“Kids will want to get a total of three fish. With one fish, they get a small prize, with two, something bigger, and if they catch three, they get the biggest prize,” said Tony Muratore, who worked the prize booth. Muratore said prizes included tackle, tackle boxes, hook removers, lures, poles and other fishing-related items. There were also special prizes of a fishing pole and gift certificate for the first girl and the first boy to catch a fish.
It was hard to find a bigger smile than that of A.J. Mezzie, of Wallingford, who caught his first fish ever at the derby. A.J. came with his parents, Alex and Karen, as well as uncle, Mike Devanney, who is a member of the club. “[A.J.’s uncle] bought him the pole for Christmas and he’s been waiting to use it ever since,” said Karen Mezzie.
Allen Roy, of Ellington, brought his son Joshua, who was joined by Chase Van Deventer, of Portland. “This fishing derby draws people from all over,” said Roy.
“We don’t make any money on the derby. In fact, I think we probably lose money, but it’s just a great day for everyone. We really look forward to it all year,” said Igoe.
The Stafford Fish and Game Club is located on about 78 acres on Rockwell Road in Stafford and promotes outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing and archery. For more information about the club, visit the website www.staffordfishandgame.com.