Saturday, June 7 was the day. Grundy County Lake was the place. The annual Fishing Derby sponsored by Peoples Savings bank was another success.
Just over fifty people of all ages registered for the event. For their five dollars they weren't guaranteed a fish but they pretty much were guaranteed a door prize and a free hotdog.
It seems that most fishing derby dates have included rain. This year was no exception with a skyburst just before noon. It only lasted a short while and then folks were back out wetting their lines again. The people in the boats were already plenty wet by the time lines were cranked in and anchors hoisted, etc. so many of them just stayed out and weathered the storm. It threatened for a second time at the presentation of awards and door prizes but all in all it was near perfect conditions. Most of the morning (which started for many at 5AM) the lake surface was smooth as glass. Whether you were fishing from a boat or the shore, it was an enjoyable time. The fishing platform was full of people. The fishing jetties were full of people. And scattered up and down the shoreline were you guessed it more people. Most were registered in the event. Some were just out chasing the elusive big one and enjoying the day.
Winner of the panfish category - Heidi Kucera.
You see, while most of the people participating had their fishing licenses with them, they weren't required to do so due to the fact that it was the Iowa's Free Fishing Weekend. At the 1PM close of the derby, the following anglers won their respective largest fish categories: Panfish Heidi Kucera, Bass Justin Staley, Catfish Kevin Johnson.
Heidi's fish was a respectable 8.96 ounces (just over ? pound). Justin's bass weighed 1.71 pounds. Luck was with Justin that day because at the end of the competition, a 2.44 pound bass was brought in for measurement but that angler hadn't registered for the event. He was just out enjoying the fishing. Kevin Johnson's catfish won with a weight of 6.76 pounds. Kevin is no stranger to the fishing derby winner's circle having won largest bass in a previous year's event. Our fishing derby event was also the same day as another famous derby the Belmont Stakes. California Chrome did not complete his attempt at the prize. Perhaps Kevin will be attempting to win his own triple crown at next year's event and go full out for the largest panfish.
Each of the winners received an impressive fishing gear package tailored to their fish category which included rod, reel and other gear.
Everyone went away with a door prize and good memories. That's what the fishing derby is all about.