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WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Derby day defies a dire forecast

WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Derby day defies a dire forecast


“Here we go again” was the first thing that crossed my mind last Saturday when the Annual City of Meriden/Meriden Rod & Gun Club Children’s Fishing Derby was held at Mirror Lake in Hubbard Park.

The weather folks promised the possibility of lots of rain and wind, so I did not thnk things would go well.

It is nice to be wrong once in a while.

The rain stayed away, although it was a bit on the chilly side with plenty of wind, but there were plenty of kids with parents and guardians to go after the fish.

The CT DEEP Inland Fisheries trout stocking truck showed up right on schedule. This allowed the young participants to get a chance to stock the trout before fishing for them.

It does not get any better than that!

The gang from the Meriden Rod & Gun Club had everything but the weather under control and, as they always do, made the Fishiing Derby a success. I do have to admit, though, that every time this event is held the weather does not want to cooperate.

There were plenty of prizes for the young fishermen to take home, including some bicycles that were donated by Ric Suzio and the gang at the L Suzio Companies here in Meriden.

It really gives me great pride to mention the L. Suzio Companies because I had the privilege of working for them for 40 years before I retired. They have always been there for different organizations here in Meriden.

Bait for the young anglers was provided by the Fishin’ Factory in Southington. They, too, have always been there for events like this.

The kids had a ball stocking the trout and I have to believe that events like this might make fishermen out of some of them.

The event was also held on Free Fishing Day, a day provided by the DEEP that allows anyone to fish even if they do not have a valid Connecticut Fishing License.

Catches of trout were plentiful, and while most of the fish being caught were trout, a couple of catfish were also reeled in — one of them over two pounds in weight.

The Meriden Rod & Gun Club also kept the anglers and others well fed with hot dogs, snacks and beverages.

Just about all of the kids went home with a prize of some kind and some of the lucky anglers were able to go home with a bicycle.The lucky bike winners were:

■Savanah Tacmile, girls 6 and under; ■Quin Telcenta, girls 7-11; ■S. Tollato, girls 11-15; ■Lucas Viero, boys 6 and under ■James Yale, boys 7-11; ■Conner Quinn, boys 11-15

Not only did the kids have fun, but many of them donated their catch to a “Raptor Rehabilitator,” who used the fish to feed many of the raptors in their care. All in all, it was a great day and, YES, you made my day!

Speaking of raptors — birds like osprey, bald eagles and owls — local Wildlife Comtrol expert Don Dandelski, a.k.a. “Trapper Don,” brought to light an incident that ALL fishermen should be aware of.

Don said he was contacted by a young couple on one of the local trails about an owl that was in trouble. According to Don, the young man climbed a tree to fetch what appeared to be an owl in trouble and brought it to the ground and found it to be completely entangled in discarded fishing line.

Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon occurence. Every year we hear tales of birds suffering a terrible death because som fisherman was too lazy to take a mess of tangled fishing line home with them and discard it in the garbage.

Instead, they are so eager to keep fishing. They simply throw the tangled line on the ground and it advertently is picked up by birds for one reason or another. Many times it is used in nest building and the young get tangled up and die.

Don helped cut the fishing line away from the owl and he said that as soon as it was free, it fell asleep in the arms of the brave young man who climbed the tree to rescue it. The bird was turned over to local Animal Control Officer Sarah Bacon and then to a rehabilitator.

By the way, Don Dandelski is the guy you want to call if you are having trouble wth any wild critters in your home or yard. He can be reached at 202-235-1318. You are welcome.

See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops, police, firefighters and first responders wherever they may be serving this great country of ours.