DRACUT — Hundreds of local kids sat down to trout dinners last weekend, after bagging rainbows, brownies and brookies at the annual spring fishing derby, hosted by the Centralville Sportsman’s Club.
“We’ve been a club since 1951 and we’ve been putting on the spring fishing derby every April just about that long,” said Dick Williams, club treasurer, as he circled the two little ponds at the Wheeler Road layout selling raffle tickets April 12.
“We stock trout; we stocked big ones this year, eight to 16 inches, and we don’t feed them for a week so they get real aggressive come derby weekend.”
More than 400 Dracut residents and anglers from throughout the Merrimack Valley showed up for the April 12-13 event. Adults paid $20 for a two-day pass, and children $10. And nearly everybody left with supper.
Friends Cory Galloway, 11, and James Williams, 12, each caught a couple 10-inchers. “Supper’s going to be good tonight,” Cory smiled. The club stocked the two small ponds with 540 fish this year.
“We were packed this morning at 6 a.m., even though it was pouring rain,” Dick Williams said.
A good 70 percent of the fishermen on derby day aren’t club members. “The kids never walk away from this fishing derby without a fish,” Williams said.
He added that the derby is probably the biggest fundraiser the club, which has 350 members. “It allows us to donate to a wide variety of community charities,” Williams noted.
Club President Rich Brow, surveying the scene Saturday afternoon under a unexpected but welcome warm sun, said the day didn’t look too promising when he arrived early Saturday, but the people came out anyway. “It was raining pretty hard early, but we were
packed with people. This is a fun tournament for the community and we get great support every year,” Brow said.