That’s according to Co-Chairman Stephen Bateman. It was a great success with some 254 people registered and about 50 others attending. Fifteen trophies and prizes were handed out to the winners with many of the trophies dedicated to people who were great supporters of the fishing derby who have passed away. This year the 1st Place Adult Award was won by 15 year old Spenser Davis, of Dalton, with a 4 lbs 3oz. Largemouth Bass. His award had a special meaning because it was the first year the award was presented in the memory of Thelma Drury who not only was a member of the Berkshire County Jimmy Fund Council but one of the 52 people at the very first fishing derby, which was held on Father’s Day, 1993.
Bateman recalls that it poured all day and Thelma was out in it with her husband John the entire day that first year. She only missed one fishing derby and apologized because they were going to be out of town. Thelma sadly passed away in August of 2014.
The Sportsmanship Award, containing a tackle box with over $100 worth of tackle, was awarded to Autumn Twing. Bateman points out that this fishing derby is known for the great prizes that are awarded, all of which are sponsored by local friends and businesses. This year the fishing pole combos were randomly given out to children who were either first time attendees or children who did not win any raffle prizes. Six bicycles were awarded to children just for attending. There were many newcomers as well as people who have been coming for years. Brian Wendling was a teen when he started out at the fishing derby, and this year he and his daughter Marissa both ended up winners.
Newcomers Mia and Ava, who have never fished before, were brought to the event by Grandma Missie Lacy, and they had a blast. Ava approached Stephen Bateman and said, “I have a present for you.” and gave him a clump of moss she pulled off of a rock. According to Bateman, the smile on her face made him feel like he hit the lottery. After a year missed due to illness, long time attendee Matt Clark won the Perch/Crappie category. The fish weigh-in is normally done by Steve and Co-Chairman Stephen Gingras and Harry Bateman’s nephew Richard Pierce Jr., but this year Taconic High School students Nick Gingras and Marlaina Tremblay stepped in and did a great job. It takes 6 months to plan this event, but it is all worth it, said Steve.
Here are this year’s winners: CHILDREN HEAVIEST GAME FISH CATEGORY: 1st Place – Dylan Crea, a 1 lb 10 oz Rainbow Trout; 2nd Place – Sophie Dinopus, a 1 lb 8 oz Rainbow Trout; 3rd Place – Casey Wassily, a 1 lb 7 oz Rainbow Trout.
CHILDREN HEAVIEST NON- GAME FISH CATEGORY: 1st Place – Tessa Matarazzo, a 11 oz White Perch; 2nd Place – Jaxon Wallace and 3rd Place Marrisa Wendling, both with 10 oz Bullheads.
ADULT HEAVIEST GAME FISH CATEGORY: 1st Place – Spenser Davis, above mentioned Largemouth Bass; 2nd Place – Kevin Wojtkowski, a 2 lbs 12 oz Largemouth Bass; 3rd Place – Jake Beaudion, a 2 lbs Largemouth Bass.
SPECIAL HEAVIEST FISH 1ST PLACE AWARDS: Bass Category – 4 lbs 5 oz Largemouth caught by Brian Wadsworth, Perch/Crappie Category : 1 lbs 1 oz caught by Matt Clark, Carp Category – 8 lbs 1 oz caught by Brian Wendling, Trout Category – 2 lbs 1 oz Rainbow Trout caught by Jack Stimpson, Trout Child Category – 2 lbs 1 oz Rainbow Trout caught by Becca Stimpson. The Sportsmanship Award went to Autumn Twing.
On behalf of all of the cancer survivors and those families that have been affected, congratulations to Stephen Bateman and team for another fantastic Jimmy Fund derby, and many, many thanks for your efforts *****.
MassWildlife has recently announced a major change in the Freshwater Sportfishing Awards Program, adding the Bowfin as an eligible species. Interest in Bowfin is increasing in the Northeast, with more states recognizing them as a gamefish. The Bowfin pin will replace the Broodstock Salmon pin, since Salmon are no longer stocked in Massachusetts waters. Currently, Bowfin populations are limited to the Connecticut River and Taunton River drainages and a few isolated ponds throughout the state (Onota Lake in Pittsfield is one of them). The Catch and Keep minimum weight is 6 pounds for adults and 4 pounds for youth. The Catch and Release minimum length is 22 inches. Click onto the MassWildlife web page for valuable information on how to tell Bowfin from some other similar looking species such as the invasive Snakehead. *****
MassWildlife conducts a survey from June through August each year to evaluate turkey brood numbers. “The brood survey serves as a long-term index of reproduction,” explains Dave Scarpitti, Turkey Project Leader. “It helps us determine productivity and allows us to compare long-term reproductive success, while providing some estimation of fall harvest potential.” Turkey nesting success can vary annually in response to weather conditions, predator populations and habitat characteristics.
Scarpitti points out that citizen involvement in this survey is a cost-effective means of gathering useful data, and he encourages all interested people to participate. Be sure to look carefully when counting turkey broods, the very small poults may be difficult to see in tall grass or brush. Multiple sightings of the same brood can also be noted. A turkey brood survey form is posted on the agency website. *****
At its May meeting, the Massachusetts Fish & Wildlife Board unanimously appointed Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) Acting Director, Jack Buckley as its new Director. He replaces the recently retired Director Wayne MacCallun. *****