DRACUT -- Move over Charlie Moore, the competition is breathing down your neck.
A pint-sized angler, who still takes an afternoon nap, walked away from the Centraville Sportsman's Club Annual Fishing Derby with the biggest catch of the day. Chase Michael Graham -- that's how he refers to himself -- will turn 3 years old on July 16.
Organizers, spectators and fellow anglers were astonished when the trophy for biggest fish went to the 36-inch toddler, the son of Craig Graham and Rebecca Horner of Dover, N.H. The 4-pound brook trout, one of two "tagged" fish in the pond that day, was almost as big as Chase. As excited as everyone around him was, the feat was somewhat lost on Chase, who maintained a "what's the big deal?" attitude. The frog that his 8-year-old sister, Mikaylah, had caught captured his attention.
In addition to the large trophy he received, his first-place finish earned him a free ticket to next year's derby. It is the first in what is sure to be an extensive collection of trophies some day.
"He caught it within 10 minutes after everyone began," derby organizer Dan Croce said. "We stock two ponds at the club with 550 good-sized trout and we tag the two biggest ones."
Chase's grandfather, Michael Graham of Tyngsboro, explains that after casting out to the middle of the pond, he handed the rod and reel off to his grandson.
"The fish hit right away, almost instantly," Graham recounted. "He let out a 'whoa' but he hung on. He's a pro.
As the fish got close to the shore, it once again leaped out of the water. A startled Chase let out another "whoa" but continued reeling, determined to land the fish.
"When it got close we grabbed the line to make sure he didn't lose the fish," Graham said.
Although it was his first fishing derby, Chase began fishing last year with his father and grandfather.
"He loves it," Graham said. "He's getting better all the time."
Are you listening, Charlie Moore?
The Centraville Sportsman's Club Fishing Derby can be seen on Dracut Access Television Channel 8 at various times during the week, or by logging onto www.dracuttv.org and going to the Video On Demand tab.
Q: How long have you been fishing?
A: "Only one time I fished. And the last time, too. On the boat."
Q: Who taught you how to fish?
A: "My Papa. Right there." (Pointing to his grandfather, Michael Graham.)
Q: How many fish have you caught in your lifetime?
A: (Putting up his fingers one at a time,) "One, two, three, four, five. This many." (His grandfather estimates Chase has caught about a dozen fish, including three at the derby.)
At this point in the interview, Chase's attention span is starting to wander, so the interviewer changes directions.
Q: What else do you like to do when you're not fishing?
A: "I like to show my bunnies my trophy."
Q: What do you like to watch on television?
A: "Um, let me think. Oh, I know. Yo Gabba Gabba! and Thomas the Tank Engine.