Annual derby hooks kids on fishing

By Douglas McCulloch | Aug 05, 2017
Photo by: Douglas McCulloch Peter Howland and his daughter Julianna, 6, with her second catch of the day.

Peter Howland rushed over to his daughter Julianna as she excitedly reeled in her second catch of the day.

Howland identified her catch as a sunfish just as an official from the Knights of Columbus’ “Get Hooked on Fishing, Not Drugs” fishing derby passed by with a measuring device. Her catch weighed in at three ounces.

“The fish was really cool,” said Julianna, 6. “I really liked the colors of it.”

It was her first time competing in the annual derby. Her father, however, has a long-standing tradition of trekking to Mello’s Pond for the annual derby. He’s now including his daughter.

By the end of the three-hour event on August 5, Julianna finished in second place for a 16-ounce catch, the second largest fish caught among the girls division.

Nearby, a larger group had little luck catching fish, but they did manage to reel in a frog, much to the delight of eight-year-old Alissa Burdick.

“I think we got here too late and got a bad spot because we slept in,” surmised David Theberge.

Fourteen-year-old Luke Sylvia had better luck. He reeled in his seventh catch of the day just 15 minutes before the competition’s close. He credited his success to his choice of lure, and the way he moved it around the pond’s floor to draw out the fish.

“It’s fun to come out and see the next generation of fishermen,” he said.

The annual derby has been held every year for the past 28 years. After its first organizer, Lieutenant Ken Cotta, passed away in 2016, the event continued with volunteers and the Knights of Columbus under the leadership of Ed Viveiros and Bob Peckham. Owing to property owners Bob Mello and Matthew Mello, the event’s signature location is a small pond off Old Westport Road.

Viveiros noted that interest has picked up over the past few years. There were 54 sign ups this summer, he said.

A sounding horn marked the competition's end around 10:15 a.m. The fishing stopped, and awards were handed out to first, second, and third-place finishers in three categories — largest fish, most fish by weight, and most fish by quantity.


Largest fish:

First place, Aaron Charest; second place, Sam Willey; third place, Caleb Benoit.

Most fish by weight:

First place, Ian Hamlet; second place, Matt Carrol; third place, Jared Mendonca.

Most fish by count:

First place, Noah Mello; second place, Austin Mackay; third place, Ethan Charest.


Largest fish:

First place, Juliana Riveira; second place, Julianna Howland; third place, Lily McKay.

Most fish by weight:

First place, A’mya Acevedo; second place, Molly Costa; third place, Isabel Mello.

Most fish by count:

First place, Jennifer Sturges; second place, Cami Goldstein; third place, Brooke Davis.

Alissa Burdick, 8, holds a frog, the only thing her group managed to catch. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Tyler Medeiros, 11, mans the fishing pole. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Jonathan Gibbs, 9, only found turtles biting. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Those who received a trophy pose for a group photo. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
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