fishing derby

Record number attend annual Bob Meloche Memorial Fishing Derby

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

It was another big year for the Bob Meloche Memorial Fishing Derby.

This year’s Father’s Day event saw nearly 260 kids enter, which was up from last year. AMA Sportsmen Club president Luc Tremblay said they believe it is a record.

Winners of the annual Bob Meloche Memorial Fishing Tournament were crowned Sunday at the AMA Sportsmen Association.

Winners of the annual Bob Meloche Memorial Fishing Tournament were crowned Sunday at the AMA Sportsmen Association.

“It’s a good day,” said Tremblay. “It’s a tradition we’ve been doing in Amherstburg for a very long time.”

The tournament was started by Meloche at his home for neighbourhood children. It became an AMA Sportsmen Club event when the event became too large to be at Meloche’s home and was named after Meloche after he was killed in an auto accident in 2009.

“We’re extremely proud to keep it going. It’s a great event for everyone,” said Tremblay. “It’s an event we couldn’t do without the support of our sponsors and the community.”

The derby is designed to get fathers and their children out together fishing. The town allowed use of Navy Yard Park Sunday morning with kids and their parents having to be back at the club by 1 p.m. to have their fish measured. There were also games for children and a free lunch.

Tremblay said Thrasher Sales and Leasing donated t-shirts with Canadian Tire also assisting with prizes. The Ministry of Natural Resources’ “Learn to Fish” program also donated prizes and assisted with the day.

“It’s a great success every year,” stated Tremblay.

 

Winners included:

0-4 age category

1st – Grayson Landon 23-1/2” catfish

2nd – Zack Collin 23” catfish

3rd – Andrew Coppola 20” catfish

 

5-8

1st – Kayla Deschaine 23-1/4” catfish

2nd – Carolyn Wistuba 22-5/8” catfish

3rd – Allie Bridges 21-3/4” pickerel

 

9-12

1st – Kyle Fregoe 26” catfish

2nd – Carson Wistuba 23-1/4” catfish

3rd – Gavin Kovac 23” sheephead

Parents and children were granted permission to fish off an expanded area in King’s Navy Yard Park to accommodate the Bob Meloche Memorial Fishing Tournament. Nearly 260 participants took part in this year’s event, presented by the AMA Sportsmen Club. (Photo contributed by Bob Wilson)

Parents and children were granted permission to fish off an expanded area in King’s Navy Yard Park to accommodate the Bob Meloche Memorial Fishing Tournament. Nearly 260 participants took part in this year’s event, presented by the AMA Sportsmen Club. (Photo contributed by Bob Wilson)

 

“It just keeps getting bigger and better every year,” said Bob’s son Gord Meloche, who was joined by Bob’s grandchildren Luke and Megan Meloche. “There’s a lot of people who put a lot of effort into this. It’s really become a community thing.”

Bob Meloche Memorial Fishing Derby a hit with local children

 

 The winners of the 2016 Bob Meloche fishing derby display their trophies at the AMA Sportsman's Club in Amherstburg on Sunday, June 20, 2016. Top row: Mya Little, Brayden Leclerk, Avery Maitre, Kody Garner, Alyssa Littlen Sophie Gardin-Terk. Bottom row:  Ryan Crosby, Joel Imeson, Kyle Hamlan.

The winners of the 2016 Bob Meloche fishing derby display their trophies at the AMA Sportsman’s Club in Amherstburg on Sunday, June 20, 2016. Top row: Mya Little, Brayden Leclerk, Avery Maitre, Kody Garner, Alyssa Littlen Sophie Gardin-Terk. Bottom row: Ryan Crosby, Joel Imeson, Kyle Hamlan. (RTT Photo by Jonathan Martin)

By Jonathan Martin

Local youth have proven to be mightier than local fish in the AMA Sportsman’s Club’s annual Bob Meloche Kids’ Fishing Derby.

The derby saw kids casting their lines out Sunday in hopes of reeling in the largest fish in their age group.

Two-hundred-fifty-one children turned out, a stark contrast to the eight who showed up at the first derby more than 30 years ago. That derby, held in the late Bob Meloche’s backyard, still swims around in the memory of Bob’s son, Gord Meloche.

“I remember being excited about having a fishing derby,” Gord Meloche said. “Kids get excited about trophies and prizes.”

 Kale Decarlo, Tyler Gignac, Nate Decarlo and Dylan Gignac prepare for the impact of Decarlo's fishing line at the 2016 Bob Meloche Fishing Derby, held at the AMA Sportsman's Club in Amherstburg on Sunday, June 20, 2016.  Decarlo underestimated his strength and pulled back too hard on the rod. (Photo by Jonathan Martin)

Kale Decarlo, Tyler Gignac, Nate Decarlo and Dylan Gignac prepare for the impact of Decarlo’s fishing line at the 2016 Bob Meloche Fishing Derby, held at the AMA Sportsman’s Club in Amherstburg on Sunday, June 20, 2016. Decarlo underestimated his strength and pulled back too hard on the rod.
(Photo by Jonathan Martin)

While every youth at Sunday’s derby walked out with a door prize, Meloche emphasized that it was really about family.

“For us, the outdoors has always been a place for our family to get together,” he said, nodding toward his children, Luke and Megan.

Megan said she has always looked forward to the event.

“It’s a day that I spend with my dad to remember his dad,” she said. “I think it’s something we’ll bring our kids to when they’re older so they can learn about their great grandpa and their grandpa. Our family is growing too. It’s something that will continue on.”

As the event grows, more and more people are becoming involved. For the first year, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission showed up at the derby to spread awareness about invasive aquatic species. For the past couple years, lawn games and sprinklers have been set up for the children who don’t want to fish. There was barbecued food, music and drinks – all of it free.

“We get a lot of support from the community,” said President of the AMA Sportsman’s Club Rodney Ferriss.

Fisherman try to land their biggest catches in preparation for the derby.

Fisherman try to land their biggest catches in preparation for the derby. (Photo by Bob Wilson)

“The support we’re getting from our local merchants is just fantastic,” agreed Bill Richardson, president of the AMA’s fishing committee. “It makes it a great, big, happy event for everybody.”

“It’s always a success,” Luke Meloche said. “As long as one kid had a good day, quota met, really.”