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Anglers reel in more fun than fish

Story and photos by Olivia Timm
The saying ‘there are plenty of fish in the sea’ wasn’t true for most of Saturday afternoon for more than 50 anglers who stood on the Bay of Quinte for the ninth annual Merland Park Ice Fishing Derby.

Owen Hamilton with host Kevin Lavers show off the wee fish that won the Fish On Shirt Off contest. First catch wins choice of a prizes. Hamilton picked an auger.

The ‘Shirt off, Fish On’ competition kicked off Saturday’s festivities at 1 p.m., and almost an hour later, still no one had reeled in the first fish.

Kiwanis volunteer Carl Stacey was surprised that no one caught anything by that point, especially since the ice holes had been drilled further out on the lake in hopes of attracting ‘the big ones’.

Plenty of fun surrounded the anglers despite frigid temperatures.

Kids and adults lined up to take a swing at the doughnut-eating contest and to play the many games hosted by the Kiwanis Club members.

The on-ice games are open to the public for a $20 entry fee and go toward the Kiwanis Club’s Terrific Kids Program.

Layton Insley and Quinn and Cali Craig were the first ones to attempt the doughnut-eating contest, and found they were giggling more than eating.

For the past eight years, Merland Park Cottages has hosted the derby on Picton Bay. With the help of local business and sponsors, hosts Jennifer and Kevin Lavers are able to award more than $10,000 in prizes and over the years have helped raise almost $15,000 for the Kiwanis’ Terrific Kids Program.

The derby consists of two nights where people come from all over Ontario, Quebec and the United States. The weekend is jam-packed with fishing, fun games, lots of delicious food and some great laughs.

Families are invited to try their luck this weekend as they can fish license-free Feb. 17-19.

Filed Under: Featured ArticlesSports & Recreation

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