If a young fish is called a fry or fingerling, what do you call kids who love fishing? It’s called the 21st Annual Secaucus Fishing Derby.
Hudson county children gathered a week ago Saturday at the Anthony Just Duck Pond ready and bobbing their fishing lines. Prizes of fishing poles and tackle boxes were awarded from the youngest fisherman to the largest fish caught.
The event coordinated by John Voli, Secaucus Recreation Director, attracted over 100 eager participants.
“The fish derby was a huge success, and the kids loved the early morning hot dogs,” Voli said.
“The fish derby was a huge success.” –John Voli
Lines flew into duck pond
The competition began at 9 a.m. on Saturday and ended at noon, when the day’s end catch was measured by a ruler. And these fish, “were caught and released,” Voli added.
The Secaucus Department of Recreation added bass and catfish to the sunfish and carp that already live in the Duck Pond, according to Voli.
“Under overcast [skies], you can see the bigger fish in the pond, because we stocked 10” to 12” fish. However, for the kids, the sunny weather is what the kids wanted,” Voli added.
The prizes were awarded for the youngest fisherman, the smallest fish, the most fish, the largest catfish, the largest bass, and the largest fish overall.
Despite baiting the hook, the pond wasn’t always in a colorful state with school of fish. Back in the ‘80s, the pond became an illegal dumping ground for old mechanical parts from cars, house furnishings, and other garbage.
“It’s been a 20-year tradition with the Duck Pond and the fish derby,” Mayor Michael Gonnelli said. “The pond has a lot of history and it was an extensive cleanup project while I was with Public Works. The Duck Pond was a mess. This tradition is special to me.”
The pond, located in a cul-de-sac off of Metro Way in Secaucus, is surrounded by industrial buildings.