The MTFA State Council Derby went off pretty well. This was the 72nd annual Derby. We had a little rain, but I didn’t see anybody melt. Fortunately, the rain held off while we were cooking fish in hot oil. We were able to serve up the food for Saturday night’s picnic without getting wet. I have no idea how many people were there. I never heard a head count being made. I would say at least 50 or more from the different clubs. The food was great. I heard someone say that the fish fry had the best bass he had ever tasted.
Fishing was variable. Many people caught a lot of fish, but fewer tagged fish were turned in. That could be due to the fact that a different kind of tag was used. In the past, the tags were flashy metal pieces attached to the gill cover. The tags were easier to see in the water and anglers “in-the-know” could target them. This year the tags were a light green plastic tag hooked to the fin. There were 123 people who obtained tags (I almost said “bought” tags but since we can’t sell anything at the state park, we request a “donation” instead) for $5 each. Only 8 tagged fish were turned in. Those 8 people made their choices of the prizes available. After that, we sold raffle tickets to the club members present and raffled off the rest. There were some pretty good prizes available. Thanks to Larry Wegmann, John Bush, and others for getting those items.
While working at the “sign-up” table on Friday evening, I was surprised to find that so many people who are not members of MTFA look forward to the Derby each year. Several people spoke of their entries in years past. I heard one father talk about how this was his kids’ first year in the Derby and how it would be a family tradition in the future. His kids had tagged fish, by the way. I have said in the past, that the Derby was a fundraiser, but I now believe it to be more of a “community event” which is anticipated by anglers from all over the state.
Special thanks must be given to Kim Schultz who stepped up to the plate to organize the event. He made it all happen.