WATERTOWN Nearly 60 children between the ages of 4 and 14 lined the banks of a small pond at the Watertown Sportsmen Inc. club on Dry Hill Road on Sunday. With fishing rods in their hands and the sun shining above, the children spent four hours fishing and vying for prizes at the clubs 47th annual Youth Trout Fishing Derby.
At 10:01 a.m., just one minute into the event, Makayla B. Jewett, 9, of Watertown, caught the first fish of the day. Its length was measured and recorded by judges. Each participant is allowed two entries into the contest.
Makaylas fast catch was a repeat performance, as she caught the first fish of the day at last years event, too. Shes been attending every year since she was 4, she said. That first year, she won first place in her age group, winning a bicycle.
Now too big for that bike, she was ready Saturday to take home another one, placing the worm on her hook without assistance just like a pro.
First place is always a bike, said William P. Scott Jr., club president. Hes been with the group for 27 years, recently taking the reins when his father, William P. Scott Sr., stepped down for health reasons.
Mr. Scott explained that although he wasnt around at the time to witness it, the club dug the pond on the property 48 years ago. Soon after, the club began the childrens derby.
It was to involve youth from the area, he said.
The children compete in age groups from 4 to 8 and 9 to 14.
Last years winner in the junior group, Nathan A. Taylor, 6, of Fort Drum, was excited to be back for this years competition.
Hes been waiting for it all year, his mother, Tamara L. Taylor, said.
He was in a friendly competition with his sister, Madison P., 8.
Though Madison was hoping to beat her brother this year, she was quite interested in another prize, aside from the bike.
Theres a Scooby Doo racer, she said.
Along with top prizes, children also can win fishing poles, tackle boxes and other fishing-related items.
Madison wasnt the only one with her eyes on the Scooby Doo race car set, as many children buzzed about their choices.
The funny thing was, they all wanted it, but when it came down to picking prizes, it didnt go until halfway through, Mr. Scott said at the conclusion of the derby.
The largest fish of the day was caught by Nehemiah Munoz, 4, who reeled in an 18.375-inch trout in the junior division. Other winners in his division were Caleb McCane, 4, with his 16.5-inch catch and Shawn Robinson, 6, with a trout measuring 15.25 inches.
Theresa M. Pratt, 14, of Lorraine, took top honors in the senior division, with a 17.375-incher she caught just 8 minutes into competition. Theresa is no stranger to the sport. I like to get out whenever I can, she said.
Second place in the senior division went to Mackenzie Jewett, 11, with an 11.625-inch fish. Kimberly Gilmore, 9, wrapped up third place with an 11.75-inch trout.
The club stocks the pond annually with approximately 150 trout, each season with a different variety, from rainbow, brown, tiger or brookies.
The event is held each year on the first Sunday in June and is open to all club members. Club memberships are $10 for individuals or $15 for a family each year.
For more information about the club or to learn about its upcoming events, visit the clubs Facebook page at http://wdt.me/K5QRU8.