Dozens of children stood at the water's edge Saturday morning at Masar Pond, ready to cast their lines. Parents stood by with tackle and folding chairs. At 8 a.m. sharp, the countdown started. It was the Montville Recreation Department's annual fishing derby, open to all children in preschool through fifth grade.
The event was co-sponsored by Montville PBA Local 140 and Montville Kiwanis, who provided a bagel breakfast for everyone, donated prizes for the children of Montville, and volunteered at the event. They also stocked the pond with trout.
The fishing derby is a Montville tradition that began nearly 40 years ago, according to Stan Mikulka, a longtime resident of Montville.
"I was the father of the Montville Fishing Derby," Mikulka said. "I came up with the idea almost 40 years ago and gave it to Brett Cisco, who was the original Recreation Director. Fran Vanderhoof, town treasurer, took over from Brett, followed by Maryann Witty."
Today, Kelley Kehoe, recreation supervisor, coordinated the event from the countdown to the finale. As the fish were caught, they were measured, recorded, and released back into the pond. Prizes were awarded at each grade level in categories that included first fish caught, most fish caught, largest and smallest fish caught, and largest trout, sunfish, bass, and catfish.
Kehoe said she coined a new category, "most unusual fish caught," to accommodate a turtle and a bullfrog that got reeled in.