Small fry big winner at fishing derby

The fish were biting Saturday, June 13, as 4-year-old Tara Berlin found out when she caught the biggest fish at the West Albany Rod and Gun Club's 35th Annual Fishing Derby.

Berlin caught a carp that weighed 12 pounds and was 28 inches long.

That was one happy little girl. She was walking the walk, said J. Ronald Beauparlant, a club member who was in charge of registration at the derby.

The West Albany Rod and Gun Club is located on Willoughby Drive in Colonie.

According to Bruce Male, member of the club and organizer of the event, the derby is held every year at the Colonie Town Park.

Male is responsible for picking out the prizes that the kids win, in addition to the trophies the winners of the competition receive.

Every child gets a prize, Male said, explaining that this year, the club spent $1,000 on prizes of all different sorts.

"I got a lot of fishing poles, sleeping bags, pocket knives," he said. "Every kid goes away with a prize. They get a little ticket and they get to go up and pick out the prize."

The trophies that the winners receive are donated by the Town of Colonie, as is use of the park for the day of the derby.

The derby was held from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is held every year to help children understand the conservation benefits of sports fishing.

The main difference between a sport fish and a non-sport fish is that sport fish are edible, Beauparlant said.

"Normally carp is not considered a sport fish. However, carp is being recognized more and more in the state as a sport fish," he said. Beauparlant said they can be hard to eat because they are a particularly boney fish.

Berlin was not the only one who walked away with a trophy on Saturday.

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