By Emily Griffes
Bath-DeWitt Connection staff writer
Fishing is a year-round sport for the 63 citizens of Bath, who participated in the 2nd Annual Ice-Fishing Derby Saturday, Feb. 12, on Park Lake.
According to parks director Becky Goodwin, registration was down from last year.
“We had about 80 registered fisherpersons last year,” Goodwin said. “But it really is all weather dependent.”
This year, the sun was shining and the air was calm, which made it enjoyable for the people fishing. However, it wasn’t helping the fish to bite.
The derby began at 9 a.m. and by 12:30 p.m, Jeff Garrity, the Township Board treasurer who volunteered to man the official fish measuring station, had yet to accept a possible award-winning fish.
“We started this even last year with a goal of getting kids outdoors,” Goodwin said. “We wanted to show them that winter can be fun, too.”
And the opportunity to win a prize doesn’t hurt. After the event, all participants met in the Bath Community Center to warm up with coffee and cocoa and have a lunch of homemade sandwiches.
Aside from the many raffle drawings, the child and adult with the largest fish won a trophy.
Lane Perry won in the child’s division with his seven-inch bluegill. While Dean Griffin won for the adults with his 12-inch crappie.
Griffin, an avid fisherman, tries to get out onto the lake at least three times a month during the winter, and even more in the summer.
“Yeah, I participated last year, but I didn’t win,” Griffin said. “I wasn’t really expecting to win this year, either.”
And considering that last year’s winner, Alex Vance, brought in a 35-inch Northern Pike, Griffin had his work cut out for him.
“It was really odd when I caught the crappie,” Griffin said. “I had just caught a bluegill and released it back. I barely re-dropped my line three feet into the water when it pulled. I looked down and sure enough, I had caught another fish.”
Prizes were donated by local businesses and people. Spagnuolos Party Store & Deli and Mack’s Party Store each donated an ice shanty for the grand prize drawing. KL Industries, Bob Evans Farms Restaurants and the Bath Elementary PTA donated goods for the other drawings.
Volunteers Nancy Doerner, Trudy Cox, Beth Botke, Kate Benington, Pat Phillips, Larry Klusack, Mike Goodwin, Jeff Garrity and Coh Rohen helped make the event a success by lending their time and expertise.
All money from the event is being used to create scholarships for qualified youth to be in future Bath Township recreation programs.