Reeling in good times at Father’s Day fishing derby

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun Alexa Goyden, 12, balks at removing the hook from the fish she caught with her dad, Gary, during the Father’s Day Fishing Derby at the Town Center Lake on June 16.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun
Alexa Goyden, 12, balks at removing the hook from the fish she caught with her dad, Gary, during the Father’s Day Fishing Derby at the Town Center Lake on June 16.

Anglers like to say there’s a reason it’s called fishing and not catching, but the winners of the 2013 Father’s Day Fishing Derby at the lake in Town Center cast doubt about that.

Some of the winners, who competed in three different age categories, managed to catch two dozen or more sunnies, catfish and bass in four hours or less. The grand-prize winner – Brandon Kent of Hamilton – reeled in 37 fish, which works out to a fish every 6 or 7 minutes.

More than 290 people turned out for the 2nd annual fishing derby on June 16, which was sponsored by the Robbinsville Municipal Alliance for the Prevention of Substance Abuse (R-MAPSA) with help from the township Recreation Division. Although not everyone won a prize, all dads took home memories of a fun Father’s Day spent with their kids.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun Brandon Kent won the Father’s Day Fishing Derby sponsored by township Recreation Division and the Robbinsville Municipal Alliance for the Prevention of Substance Abuse (R-MAPSA). Shown with Kent from left are: Fred Price of Fisherman Fred’s Bait and Tackle; Board of Education member and R-MAPSA volunteer Shaina Ciaccio; Recreation Director Joe Barker; and Township Business Administrator and R-MAPSA coordinator Joy Tozzi.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun
Brandon Kent won the Father’s Day Fishing Derby sponsored by township Recreation Division and the Robbinsville Municipal Alliance for the Prevention of Substance Abuse (R-MAPSA). Shown with Kent from left are: Fred Price of Fisherman Fred’s Bait and Tackle; Board of Education member and R-MAPSA volunteer Shaina Ciaccio; Recreation Director Joe Barker; and Township Business Administrator and R-MAPSA coordinator Joy Tozzi.

Each fisherman wore a number and whenever a shout of “Fish! Fish!” was heard a R-MAPSA volunteer in a neon orange T-shirt came running over to record the catch before the fish was released back into the lake. Although size didn’t matter in this contest, a few bass, such as the one caught by Angelina Gonzalez and her dad, Miguel, easily weighed 5 pounds, prompting a round of quick souvenir picture taking before the fish was unhooked and returned to the water.

The Robbinsville High School Raven Regiment marching band and their parents did a brisk business selling food and beverages from a tent near the gazebo. Band volunteers also pulled toy wagons filled with coolers of cold drinks and snacks to reach thirsty fishermen at the far ends of the lake who were unwilling to leave their lucky fishing spot to make a trek back to the gazebo for refreshments.

One of those young fisherman camped out near the bridge at Newtown Boulevard away from the crowd was 6-year-old Alyssa Spalding, who was spending Father’s Day with her dad, Ian.

“This is a really good spot here,” Alyssa said. “I’ve caught six fish!”

On the other side of the lake, sisters Alexa and Lindsay Goyden fishing with their dad, Gary, had collectively reeled in 28 fish. Although the girls could cast without assistance from dad, they drew the proverbial line when it came to unhooking their catch.

“Nooooo!” Alexa squeamishly cried as her father teasingly tried to hand her the hooked sunnie that she had just reeled in.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun Lucas Messinger, 3, placed second in the 8 and under age category and won a fishing tackle box that was almost as tall as him.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun
Lucas Messinger, 3, placed second in the 8 and under age category and won a fishing tackle box.

During lulls when the fish weren’t biting, R-MAPSA volunteers with clipboards worked the crowd asking adults to answer a few quick survey questions related to attitudes about drugs and alcohol. The responses will be tallied and the results used to apply for future state Municipal Alliance grants, which fund community drug and alcohol abuse prevention programs.

R-MAPSA coordinator Joy Tozzi, who is also the township business administrator, said one of the group’s outreach efforts is to alert people to the need to safely dispose of unused prescriptions so that these drugs that are forgotten about in home medicine cabinets don’t end up at teenage “pharm parties.”

A surprising finding of the survey, she said, was that many respondents didn’t realize that it was unsafe to flush most prescriptions down the toilet because the drugs get into the water supply. Applying for grants to pay for more frequent medicine disposal days at the township police station might be something the group will look into pursuing, she said.

At precisely 11 a.m., a blast from the air horn that started the fishing derby four hours earlier sounded once again and it was time to tally up the numbers. Prizes included an array of fishing rods and other gear provided by Windsor resident Fred Price’s shop, Fisherman Fred’s Bait and Tackle on Route 33, as well as gift certificates from township businesses and free R-MAPSA T-shirts.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun Jack Leach, 7, brings the sunnie he caught to a Fishing Derby volunteer so that it can be counted toward his total catch.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun
Jack Leach, 7, brings the sunnie he caught to a fishing derby volunteer so that it can be counted toward his total catch.

The winners in the age 8 and under category were: Madeline Ragnacci, first place; Lucas Messinger, second place; and Hunter Lantz, third place. In the 9-14 age category, Abby Cibrian and Kamryn Carrigg tied for first place and Anna Cibrian won third place. In the age 15 and older category the winners were: Tamar Howard, first place; Ryan Migliacci, second place; and Silvio Peroni, third place.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun Seven-year-old Lindsay Goyden, 7, caught 28 fish with her older sister, Alexa, during the Father’s Day Fishing Derby at the Town Center lake, a free event attended by nearly 300 people.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun
Lindsay Goyden, 7, caught 28 fish with her older sister, Alexa, during the Father’s Day Fishing Derby at the Town Center lake, a free event attended by nearly 300 people.


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