Family fun and fishing.
That could have early been the title – or theme – of Saturday’s Youth Fishing Derby held inside Johnston Memorial Park.
It was almost as if the picturesque pond was man made especially for Saturday’s highly-attended two-division fishing tourney, simply because family upon family set up chairs and their on-bank headquarters with the hopes of reeling in the day’s biggest catch.
“Congrats to the Johnston Parks & Recreation Department,” Jack Martone, a noted entertainer, veteran and member of the Ocean State Bassmasters who helped weigh each and every fish, no matter that its size. “This has got to be one of the family and fun events around.”
Bank-side spots were at a premium Saturday, especially for those anglers ages 4-7 who were accompanied by their parents, grandparents and friends.
From the time people entered the pristine park, the pond’s banks were almost filled with anxious anglers who has high hopes of catching the heaviest, longest or most fish.
Team DelFino, for example, took the first space almost near the park’s entrance and were one of three generations of well-known Johnston families who turned out in support of Richard DelFino IV now four, who was supported by his father and former Councilman Richard III and Grandfather Richard Jr.
As would be expected gramps – as well as Uncle David DelFino – helped young Richard cast his lines into the water while on a chilly, breezy and important Saturday.
No youth fishing event, at lest the one in Johnston, would be the same without the Musa family, as Jennifer Musa and her 11-year-old daughter Alexandra set up shall chairs and pole stations for her niece, Mavis Coia, 5, who had a catch weighing 72 ounces.
In all, youngsters ages 4-7 – who fished for 90 minutes – took the day’s top honors by feeling in 30 fish as compared to 27 for kids ages 8 to 12.
Christian Perez reeled in six fish, Marie O’Neill landed five as did Santino Gauthier while Susan Gerzevitz and Aiden Spencer caught four each. Lelaina Nicoletti had the heaviest catch at 1.25 pounds while Jackson Gray and Coia finished second and third respectively.
Marshall Lepin had the longest catch at 17 inches with Hazel Van Horn and Gian and Luca Izzo a close second and third.
For kids ages 8-12, Alexandra Musa’s catch of .94 was the heaviest fish while Kalynn Smullen and Jayden Ponte were second and third respectively. Cristiano DeSilva had the longest catch at 11.5 inches while Paige VanHorn, Steve McCabe and Isabel Ruppert all won awards.
Aidyn King caught nine fish while Nathan King came in with seven and Travis King landed six fish.
In keeping with tradition, Nicole Cournoyer – Johnston’s assistant recreation director – served as the event’s perfect host and was backed by the sponsorship of Citizens Bank with valuable assistance from the Ocean State Bassmasters and Save the Lakes.
Ribbons and prizes were presented to the first, second and third place finishers of three each age bracket for the heaviest, longest and most fish caught.