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WOODS ‘N’ WATER: It was one dandy of a derby!

WOODS ‘N’ WATER: It was one dandy of a derby!


You could not have gotten weather any better for an outdoor event at Hubbard Park then what we had last Saturday for the Annual City of Meriden/Meriden Rod & Gun Club/Carl D’Addario Children’s Fishing Derby.

My only wish is that the Meriden Daffodil Festival could have the same kind of weather.

The derby is an annual event that runs in conjunction with the Meriden Parks and Recreation Department. The great group of volunteers from the Meriden Rod & Gun Club handle all of the chores, including handing out hotdogs, chips and soft drinks, weighing in the fish caught during the contest, and handing out the awards afterwards.

As an added attraction, the huge carp that inhabit Mirror Lake put on an unforgettable demonstration in the shallow water by the boat ramp.

Some of the carp were of monster proportions as they breached the surface of the water right up close to where some of the participants were standing.

It is believed that this display was part of the carp breeding ritual, and it was awesome, to say the least. There were even a couple of pure white carp in the school of fish thrashing around on the surface of the water.

Then another added attraction appeared on the shoreline. The DEEP Inland Fisheries trout-stocking truck, commandeered by Mike Beauchene, showed up with a load of trout for the kids to stock the lake with before the 10 a.m. start of the derby.

The kids had a ball stocking the trout with the help of their parents and guardians, and it made this old guy’s heart happy to see such family action on Mirror Lake.

Maybe we need more of these kinds of events. Not all of our youths participate in some of the more athletic sports and sometimes they are left to find their way to some of the electronic gizmos that are so popular now. Get a kid hooked on fishing, not drugs!

I arrived at 8:30 a.m. and there were families already setting up spots to fish from. And I’m talking “families.” There was not a kid by themselves, but adults and their charges all coming together and having a great family time.

Jim Dubinsky and the crew from the Meriden Rod& Gun Club were kept busy handing out hotdogs and soft drinks to the participants, and those who brought a fish to be weighed had a chance to pick a prize from the prize table.

This year, 82 kids signed up for the derby, all of them with adults or families, so it was really an exciting day for all of those in attendance.

And, like any contest, there were winners. Josiah Diaz took the 12-to-15-year old Boys Division with a rainbow trout.

The 12-15 Girls Division was taken by Sawyer Talento.

Among the 7-11 boys, Jackson Lyden had a 1.3-pound rainbow trout, and among the 7-11 girls, Sofia Mezzner wowed the crowd with a 15-pound carp.

In the 6-and-under boys group, Joshua Rich landed a 1.3-pound rainbow trout and, in the 6-and-under girls group, Mattie Lebow won with a 5-ounce sunfish.

The gang at the Meriden Rod & Gun Club would also like to thank Janet and Donald Pagini for the donation to the derby in memory of Joe F. Pagini as well as the Suzio Companies for once again helping with the awards.

Also, thanks to The Fishin’ Factory of Southington for the donation of bait for the participants and, of course, the Meriden Parks and Recreation Department for its support in this wonderful event.

The Children’s Fishing Derby should NEVER be dropped!

Tagged trout

John Ciccoteli of Southington recently fished the Quinnipiac River and came away with a nice 21-inch rainbow trout that had a bonus attached to it.

The trout was one of those stocked by Pete Picone of the Quinnipiac River Watershed Association, and some of them are tagged.

If you should catch a tagged trout while fishing the Quinnipiac River, contact Picone at 860-919-7236.

Canoe race

The annual QRWA Canoe Race is this Sunday, May 21.

Dan Pelletier from the QRWA says the race is now one of the longest running canoe/kayak races in Connecticut.

It is a fun race, with medals awarded to the top finishers in the various categories.

The race had become very popular over the years and this year should be no exception, with so many folks getting into using canoes and kayaks.

Signup and start is at the lot next to the Quinnipiac River on Route 322 in Southington. It is a five-mile race ending at Red Bridge in South Meriden.

Since all of the obstructions like Carpenter’s Dam have been removed, you can paddle right through. All participants are required to wear a PFD.

Trap shoot

The New Haven Raccoon Club will be holding its Annual Trap Shoot to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital tomorrow (May 20) on the club grounds on Route 17, Durham.

The shoot begins at 8:30 a.m. They also have a St. Jude 3-D Archery Shoot scheduled for June 11 starting at 7 a.m.

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.