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Free fishing lures hundreds to win big
ROXBURY- On an unusually windless day on Roxbury Pond, several hundred anglers in search of the tagged trout descended upon the ice with their various techniques, ready to reel up the $2,000 prize fish, which, has never been caught in the 34-year history of the derby.
“It was freezing out here on Thursday when we stocked the fish,” stated Lion’s Club member and co-organizer, Roland Patneude. “This morning it looked like a blizzard and now it’s sunny and, for once there’s no wind.”
Anglers were pleased with the more than two feet of ice covering the pond, as they made their way to their lucky spots by truck, car, ATV and snowmobile. Some were even seen on their cross-country skis and snowshoes.
The largest congregation of people, once again, was found around the big island where Bald Eagles have been cited flying to and from their nests and stealing a cast-aside fish or two from fishermen.
The thought behind this sacred place on the pond is pretty simple, it’s a good spot to stay out of the wind and cold on the blustery days, not to mention, there’s a channel a few yards out from the land where fish seem to gather.
Returning this year, were the Dube sisters, Morgan and Avery, and their friends, Will, Anna and Madi Dickinson. They were busy selling goodies to help out their friend and fellow fisherman, Bob Humphrey, who had an accident with some fireworks. By the end of the day, they had raised a little more than $200 of their $300 goal.
A little further down the ice, Caitlynn and Molly Cole, of Andover, were found checking traps with their dad, Jason, while their brother was warming his toes in the shack. “It makes for a good day to get out here with the kids,” noted Jason. “We come out for the derby every year. We really enjoy it.”
Another family enjoying their time at the annual derby was the Cox family from Peru, along with their extended Mills family. When this reporter inquired of their luck with the fish, Tricia stated, “Oh, I’m the butt of the joke again this year. Once again, I let the big fish go. It’s not that I don’t want it to be caught, but every time I get it near the hole to get it out, I lose it. Oh well, it gives them all something to laugh about.”
While things began winding down, another family could be seen in the distance running to a flag, with a young boy in tow, yelling, “It’s gonna be a big shark, daddy. I know it, it’s gonna be huge!”
With only a little more than 400 registered fishermen, down from roughly 600 in 2012, Patneaude stated, “When you have so few registered it gets a little nerve-wracking to think we’re going to have to dip into our operating account to pay out, but this year we actually had a sponsor for each individual payout, which was real nice.”
Those fishermen walking away with prizes on Saturday were as follows: Largest trout worth $150 went to Travis Laughton for his 2-pound, 17.5-inch fish; Largest perch worth $100 went to Craig Milligan for his 12-inch catch; First place pickerel worth $200 went to Ian Truman for his 4.6-pound, 25-inch catch; second place prize of $150 went to Todd Manson with a fish weighing in at 3.5 pounds and measuring 24 inches; and the third place prize of $100 went to Pete Beaulieu for his 23.5-inch, 3.2-pound pickerel.
First, second and third place winners for the bass category were: Shannon Sumner ($200), 3.2 pounds and 19.25 inches; Chad Calden ($150), 3.4 pounds and 18.75 inches; and Judy Kennedy ($100), 2.7 pounds and 18 inches.
Many other prizes, generously donated by area businesses, were also handed out as door prizes.
Once again, the tagged trout proved it’s survival skills and was not caught.