NEW BRITAIN - Around 100 people circled the Stanley Quarter Park pond Saturday, hoping to reel in a fish or win a prize as part of the city’s annual fishing derby.
Anglers were having mixed luck.
“We haven’t caught anything yet but we’re working on it,” said Tim Filon, fishing rod in hand.
“We come every year,” he added. “My son and I come and it’s fun.”
“It’s very nice. The weather is perfect for fishing except for the mud,” said Joanna Dje. She said her younger son had caught one fish already.
“I think it’s really fun,” said Jacob Dje, 12, Joanna Dje’s older son. “There’s a lot of action, too. Normally, when we go fishing, there isn’t that many fish.”
Jacob Dje’s sister almost had one on the line.
“I think it was pretty big because everything that was on my line broke off,” said 9-year-old Juliette Dje.
Hopeful anglers had the chance to win three raffle prizes. First prize was a canoe with paddles, second was a membership to the New Britain Museum of American Art and third was a membership to the New Britain Youth Museum and Hungerford Park Nature Center.
The city awarded prizes for the most fish caught, the longest fish and the heaviest fish caught across four age groups. The age groups were under 5 years old, 5 to 8, 9 to 12, and 13 to 15. Local residents, businesses and clubs donated the prizes. Nineteen sponsors helped with the event.
Kids who caught one of the tagged fish could win a gift card to Cabela’s.
“This event usually brings out a couple hundred people every year,” said Eric Bowling, the coordinator of the fishing derby and the recreation services coordinator for New Britain.
The city filled the pond with over 200 trout for the fishing derby.
“Family time - just some good memories, that’s the goal of this event,” Bowling said.
Locals enjoyed spending Saturday fishing with family, even if the trout weren’t biting.
“It’s really fun. It’s really nice what they’re doing for the community,” said Austin Melendez, who was there with his brother. “You get to do what you love, and you get prizes.”
“I come here every year and I haven’t missed one since I was a kid,” said MarcAnthony Melendez. “It’s starting slow but I think it’ll pick up. The weather’s good too.”
The morning started out drizzling, but the clouds parted before the derby finished.
“It’s a good turnout,” said Aaron Fullerton. “The fishing could be a bit better but that’s why they call it fishing and not catching.”
“It’s a great family event. I brought my 4-year-old son but he’s playing in the mud more than fishing,” he added.
“The biggest thing is that it’s a family thing,” said Brandon Fullerton, Aaron Fullerton’s brother. “Hopefully the fish will start biting. I think the rain hurt it.”
First-time anglers turned out for the derby as well.
“Fishing’s going slow but it’s our first time,” said Sarah Fullerton, Brandon Fullerton’s wife. “It’s a nice little family experience.”
“It’s good but it’s basically a waiting game. I enjoy it. It’s my first time fishing,” said 9-year-old daughter Olivia Fullerton. “I’m having a really lot of fun.”