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055-Fishing derby gone family style08
ROXBURY- Walking out onto Ellis Pond for the 32nd Annual Larry Mercier Ice Fishing Derby always provides a new and rewarding experience. This year with the sun shining and hardly a breeze to be felt, the snow was blinding and the air light. The pond was scattered with traps.
It was a great day to be on the ice with your family and friends and there were many who proved just that.
The Tim and Anita Derouche party was found in their ceremonial spot off the east side of the island. With the ice shack set up and brewing some scrumptious stew, the groups outside were setting up their various games and the sight that drew the eye; two little girls laying on the ice with a jig stick buried up to the handle in the freezing water.
When asked what they were doing, “We want to catch the big fish,” is the reply this reporter got. Young Caroline and Abby Noyes, all the way from Medway, MA, had been set up with a jig pole by their auntie Anita (Derouche) and they were happy as clams peering down through the icy water looking for (most likely any fish), but they wanted the big fish.
The fish they were talking about, worth $2,000 to the lucky fisherman, has never been caught during the derby day. And this year proved to repeat history.
The only thing that would have been any cuter, a dog laying next to the hole being just as interested as the two girls were in seeing a wriggling fish grab hold of the line.
A little further west on the pond, a flag went up and a family began to run toward the hole where it was placed. Upon venturing over, you could hear voices yelling, “Don't bounce it, hun. Let it go nice and smooth. Mom, don't go so fast. No, mom, you're going to lose it. Just yank it.”
As Tricia Cox received overwhelming advice from everyone around her, she barely got the large fish to the opening and it broke her line. “I guess you call that the one that got away,” laughed Tricia as she shook her head, still hanging on to the broken line. Her daughter Heidi snapped her picture and walked away.
She and her family, led by husband Bruce, have been coming to the pond for 20 or more years for the derby and on weekends to enjoy the fishing. But this is the first time Tricia decided she wanted to learn how to tend the traps. Especially, since her kids already knew how.
“The kids loved the D.A.R.E. fishing program,” noted Bruce. “They learned how to catch and release and that's what we do when we're out here. It's a good time for all of us and you can't forget about Molly.”
Nobody could forget about Molly, the 70 or so pound yellow lab that kept dropping her football into the fishing hole for someone to pay more attention to her than the fishing.
As there was no more excitement of a fish on the line, the kids all forgot about the fishing. The Cox daughters Audrey and Heidi, were off playing football with Molly as their friends MacKenzie Ladd, Darcie Morgan and Jacob and Jared Lapointe joined in.
The Cox family had visits from friends Leslie Jamison and Becky Hall. Hall had joined her husband Joe that morning for the snowmobile ride out from Peru.
“The trails are beautiful,” noted Hall. “After last year and the lack of snow, this was like heaven.”
While walking toward the Mexico Lion's Club to take a look at the fish being registered, Mark Beaudoin could be seen from a distance building an ice fort for his granddaughter Ava Gallant and her friend Kenny Mason. They had walls about two feet high all around with a door frame in the center. With Gallant peering out the side of the frame, she noted that, “it isn't a fort. It's an igloo.”
Excited to show off a yellow perch he caught, Mason noted, “It's the biggest fish. I'm gonna win.”
Roland Patneaude of the Lion's Club noted that although number of tickets sold for the event were down, he was noticing that there are more and more families attending. “It's nice to see the families. It's what they should be doing to spend time together.”
After making the rounds to different groups, venturing back to the Derouche clan, a sign caught my eye. “Bake Sale,” with two little girls sitting at a table.
Ten-year-old Morgan Dube is the granddaughter of Roxbury resident Christine Dube and visits often. She and her friend Madelyn Dickinson were visiting for the weekend of fishing and decided to try their hand at fundraising.
In a little more than an hour, the girls had raised more than $50 by selling home made snicker doodles, brownies and cranberry muffins with hot cocoa to wash it all down. They stated that they were raising the money to donate to the St. Jude's Children's Hospital.
While neither of them knew of any children that had received services at that hospital, they both agreed that it was a great thing to do for the kids who were ill.
Morgan noted, “If we could at least make it to $100, we'll be happy.”
In making the rounds on the pond, there were many people who ventured out for the fishing, but the overall atmosphere was that even if they weren't blood related, they had close family friends that they enjoyed spending the day with and what better way to do it.