Bob Meloche Memorial Fishing Derby popular again with kids

 

By Jonathan Martin

 

By now, local fish must shudder at the mention of the name Bob Meloche.

According to Meloche’s son, Gord, the annual Bob Meloche Memorial Fishing Derby has been going on since he was seven or eight.  That means the derby has been an ongoing tradition for around half a century.  Still, it shows no sign of slowing down.

According to Luc Trembley, chairman of AMA Sportsmen’s Club fishing committees, over 250 kids signed up for the Father’s Day event.  The young fishers packed King’s Navy Yard Park, which the Town of Amherstburg offered up for derby use.

For the first time, fish were measured on-site at the Navy Yard Park, which allowed for fish to be released back into the Detroit River.  In previous years, measurements took place at the AMA Sportsmen’s Club facility, which sits a few kilometres away on Lowes Side Road, a long journey for a fish out of water.

(From Left) Olivier Gemus, Shanell Schmidt, Sebastien Gemus, Archer Schmidt, Aubrey Schmidt, Avery Semitic, Avery Maiter and Tom Mailloux pose for a photo in King’s Navy Yard Park. The youths fished out of the Detroit River as part of the Joe Meloche Memorial Fishing Derby. Avery Semitic caught the fish pictured.

The sportsmen’s club is still the place to be after fishing is done, though.  Free food, free games, contests and awards kept excited children busy into the afternoon.  Trembley said the event was funded through donations and sponsorships from local businesses.

“We couldn’t do this without the generosity of the community,” he said.  “We’re truly grateful.”

Gord Meloche said the AMA Sportsmen’s Club’s generosity shouldn’t be understated, either.

“The club has always been good about giving to the children,” he said.  “They have so much youth programming here.  Every year I see club members work harder and harder to give these kids the best experience they can.”

This year, the children laughed as they watched their released fish zoom off into the river.  Tembley said it was an opportunity to teach the kids about environmental preservation.

The children seemed to love the idea.  After having their fish measured on a little table set up on the lawn, they waddled over to the railing to launch their catch into the river.

A little blurp and the fish were gone, off to tell the Legend of Bob Meloche to all their fishy friends.

 

 

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