Big fish, big fun, big funds at local fishing derby


For the second consecutive year, Ernie Beckstead reeled in the biggest fish to capture one of the top prizes at the annual fishing derby held in memory of Garry Banford.

The fishing derby took place Saturday, May 4 at the Iroquois boathouses.

Beakstead said that he caught this year’s winning pike in the same spot as last year. “The secret is to get there early,” he said. He caught the 11 pound 12 ounce pike using live bait.

The biggest pickerel was caught by Eric Irvine. It weighed in at 9 pounds 10 ounces.

Prizes were handed out to the top three pike and top three pickerel. The second place pickerel weighed in at 9 pounds 6 ounces and was caught by Mike Allard. The third place pickrel weighed 8 pounds 13 ounces and was caught by Kevin VerBruggen.

After the 11 pound 12 ounce pike landed by Beckstead, the next biggest pike was caught by Peter Carruthers, it weighed 8 pounds 12 ounces. Two third prizes were awarded for pike as Travis Baldwin and Troy Suddard both caught 8 pound 6 ounce fish.

Tommy McMillan won the hidden weight prize with a six pound 3 ounce pickerel.

A total of 51 pickerel and 32 pike were weighed in during the day’s event. 

While those fishing had a great day the event was also very successful in raising funds to support local causes.

“We were able to hand out $1,700 in prize money, donate $1,000 to Ann (Banford) for the bursary at Seaway District High School in memory of Garry Banford,” said Bruce Mullin, event organizer. “After that, we still had $1,000 left over so we will be donating that to the Iroquois Lawn Bowling Club,” said Mullin. “We chose them this year. Every year, we want to give to local recreation, and to give somewhere where the funds are needed.”

Mullin was happy with the event’s success, but credited much of that to all the volunteers who helped in every way from selling tickets to weighing, cleaning and cooking fish. 

“Without all of them, this couldn’t have happened.”

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