We’re hooked!

Talking from Experiences by Ashleigh Tremere

I grew up in a fishing family. One of my earliest memories is from sitting on the engine cover of my parents’ lobster boat. Stuffed in layers of clothes, wearing a life jacket, and wrapped in a checkered comforter, with my little sister falling asleep on my shoulder. Salty spray splashing over the port side and misting my face. It wasn’t a particularly nice day. That’s the thing about fishing though, the weather doesn’t have to cooperate for it to be memorable—as long as you’re dressed for it.

Angling season opened on April 15th, so with tackle boxes and packed lunches in tow, those with licenses saddled up along river banks and bridges, casting lines till at least September. I like to get myself and the kids out a couple times of year with some friends, and I always try to get them to a fishing derby. 

Derbies are put on all across our Island, usually by watershed groups or local associations looking to get people exposed to the sport of fishing. They generally include prizes for different categories, like largest fish or youngest fisher. There will be snacks for snacking or a bbq for participants to enjoy.

Organizers also apply for exemptions for their event, which means registered participants don’t require a license during the time frame of the event. You do need to bring your own equipment but if you happen to have never used a rod before, there’s always someone eagerly waiting to give you a hand getting set up or to help you get your fish off the line. 

They also usually take place at an area that’s been stocked by Forest, Fish and Wildlife, increasing your odds but definitely not guaranteeing them! 

The John Andrew Memorial Fishing Derby at Andrew’s Pond is planned for June 2nd this year. It’s put on by the Wrights Creek Watershed Environmental Committee, which Andrew co-founded, and The Hillsborough River Association, of which he was a long standing, active member. Registration is at the Malcolm Darrach Centre starting at 9 am, with fishing taking place on the lower end of the beautiful trail system that John helped establish. 

This derby is a free, family-friendly event. Even though the weather wasn’t very cooperative last year, lots of people were in attendance, many of whom had come straight from buying their first rods to make memories with their families on the river banks, wrapped in layers of clothes, little life jackets, and blankets. 

Regardless of the weather or catches, there is something peaceful about spending a free morning by the water, especially when someone else is making lunch for you. No doubt wherever you reside on the Island, someone will be hosting a fishing derby soon. So grab a rod, a buddy and some bait, and hope for fair weather, but if it doesn’t come, put on some layers and cast a line anyways. As they say, there are no bad days on the water.