By James Murray
Even at six o’clock in the morning you could feel that there was a sense of anticipation and excitement in the air.
The sky was blue, the air cool and crisp and you could just tell it was going to be a good day for fishing. At first they came in small groups of two or three, then more and more until there was a steady stream. All in all, over 150 young anglers and their families made their way to the end of the wharf for the start of the 23rd annual Salmon Arm Kids’ Fishing Derby held this past Sunday in conjunction with Family Fishing Weekend.
It took less than a minute from the official 7 a.m. start of the derby for an excited Jet Huber to catch and land the first fish. From that moment on, and throughout the rest of the morning, there was a parade of young anglers making their way to the weigh-in station. In all 107 successful anglers caught a total of 230 fish. Huber received a rod and reel outfit, a keeper trophy and a $100 gift certificate from Westside Stores for his catch.
Brody Paton took first place in the Most Fish category setting a new record with 20 fish. He won a rod and reel outfit and a one-year pass to the SASCU Recreation Centre swimming pool. Dexter Derksen took second place and Damen Narcisse third in the category. They both received keeper trophies and rod and reel outfits.
A very calm, cool and collected Julien Ivaney managed to hook into and eventually land a massive 4.48 kg carp that would take first place honours in the Largest Fish category. Ivaney’s name will be added to the long list of winners on the coveted SASCU Credit Union – W. J. (Bill) Murray Memorial Trophy. He also received a rod and reel outfit, and, will get to take his whole family on an all expenses paid weekend fishing trip which includes accommodations, boat and motor and groceries from Askew’s Foods. Ashlin Yates took second place honours, while Corbon White placed third. Both received keeper trophies and rod and reel outfits.
The brother and sister team of David and Chelsey Chancellor showed what true sportsmanship is all about by helping other anglers around them land fish. David was the recipient of the CUPE Sportsmanship Award while Chelsey was awarded the Outstanding Role Model Award. Both received medals and $100 gift cards from Westside Stores donated by Department of Fisheries and Oceans for their efforts.
Sydney Wollbaum and John Phillips caught fish closest to predetermined secret weights and each received a brand new shiny bike and helmet from Skookum Cycle and Ski. They were pretty pleased with their new bikes.
Daniel Derksen and Dennis Paton each held the winning draw tickets for Family Fun packages sponsored by Ian Gray Salmon Arm GM. Well-known angling guru and GM Dealership employee Myron Crown was on hand to present both prizes to the lucky families.
I have to admit that there is a small part of me that wishes I could be a kid all over again so I could enter the derby. There is, however, also a huge part of me that is filled with pride for having started the Kids’ Fishing Derby 23 years ago in memory of my father. I cannot help but feel a certain sense of satisfaction as I watch each and every young angler walking up to the weigh-in station to place their catch on the scales. For the winners in each of the categories there are trophies and prizes. For all the rest of the participants, as well as every one else who takes part in the derby whether volunteering, getting up early to bring their kids or just coming out to cheers the kids on, there is a special feeling that comes along with simply being a part of such a worthwhile family event.
I also know that the Kids’ Fishing Derby would not be possible without the financial support of local businesses and community organizations, not to mention all the hard work put in by derby co-organizers Aly Vann and SACU Rec Centre program coordinator Donna Flatman to make the derby so successful. It really does take a lot of work by a lot of people. I thank them all.
Father’s Day has become special for a lot of people because of the Kids’ Fishing Derby. It certainly has for me.
James Murray is a local outdoors enthusiast and former photographer with the Salmon Arm Observer.