MASSENA - Location, location, location.
That was the key to reeling in more fish and bigger fish during Saturdays 13th annual Ted Kot Youth Fishing Derby sponsored by the Massena Recreation Commission.
The event had previously been held at the Wilson Hill causeway and boat launch area, but construction this year, as well as a lack of fish last year, prompted recreation officials to move this years event to the New York Power Authoritys Hawkins Point Visitors Center.
The move paid off.
Unlike last year when only one angler reeled in two fish during the competition, this years leader board was filled with the names of participants who had brought a fish in for weighing during the three-hour competition.
And some of them took a while to reel in and bring to the weigh-in station. Wade Smith, competing in the 4-9 age group, hauled in a 15 pound, 13 ounce carp while Dakota Wilson, fishing in the 10-15 age group, won a battle against a 10 pound, 13 ounce drum fish.
It took a little while, said Dakota, who has participated in the fishing derby every year and was the winner of 10-15 age group in 2010 with his 1 pound, 4 ounce bullhead.
Wade, a first-time participant, needed help in carrying his carp from the river to the weigh-in station.
It was hard. That thing is heavy, he said. I didnt think I was going to catch anything. Rounding out the top anglers were Hailey LaShomb and Piper LaBrake in the 4-9 age group. Hailey reeled in a 4 pound, 4 ounce bass, while Piper weighed in with a 2 pound, 14 ounce bass.
Hailey, who had been sitting in first place until Wades catch, said she had some help from her father, Jason, in reeling in her bass.
We bought her first fishing pole on the way here, a pink pole. She was excited, Haileys mother, Chrissy said.
Behind Dakota in the 10-15 age group were James Donally with a 2 pound, 8 ounce bass and Jade LaGoy with a 2 pound, 5 ounce sheepshead.
The top finishers received a prize and certificate for their efforts, but other anglers also walked away with goodies as recreation department officials handed out door prizes and offered free hot dogs and drinks throughout the day. The door prizes included fishing kits, spinners, lures, tackle boxes and fishing rods.
Altogether, 72 young anglers signed up to fish this year, many of them standing along the shoreline with adults, who were able to fish without a license thanks to a free fishing day from the Department of Environmental Conservation.
Its a great family outing. Its nice to see families out here, John J. Horan, a member of the Massena Joint Recreation Commission, said as he watched the anglers cast and reel in their lines.
Mr. Horan was also impressed with the new location.
I think its terrific. Theres lots of space for people to spread out and its a safe environment. Access to the water looks safer. There are lots of offerings including the Visitors Center, he said.
Recreation Superintendent Richard A. Boprey was likewise enthusiastic about the new site.
Its the first year weve tried it out here. Were obviously going to come back. It worked very well, he said.