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Youth fishing derby an intercontinental event

Children from seven states catch nearly 300 fish at Conservation Area

Kenneth Wilson, age 8, watches as volunteer Hannah Harrop measures what turned out to be a 5-inch bluegill at the 12th annual Youth Fishing derby at Bill Pavlus Pond in the Skaneateles Conservation Area. Wilson, from Houston, Texas, came out to visit his grandparents -- and to fish.

Kenneth Wilson, age 8, watches as volunteer Hannah Harrop measures what turned out to be a 5-inch bluegill at the 12th annual Youth Fishing derby at Bill Pavlus Pond in the Skaneateles Conservation Area. Wilson, from Houston, Texas, came out to visit his grandparents -- and to fish. Photo by Jason Emerson.

— In fact the derby is not just a Skaneateles event but has become intercontinental, with children and parents from California, Oregon, Texas, Kentucky, Massachusetts and Maine participating this year.

“We come every year. We try to schedule our vacation to Skaneateles for the derby — and to visit Nana,” said Kirsten Erdosh, from California, with a laugh, who’s two daughters, Francesca and Gwendolyn, participated in the event. Francesca also caught the largest fish in her 6-7 year-olds age group with a 15.25 inch largemouth bass.

Nana, or Nancy Peck, from Skaneateles, said the derby was “a wonderful event.” Then, turning to Bill Pavlus, who not only created the derby in 2000 but also created the pond at which it was held, said, “And it’s wonderful that it has your name on it.”

“I’m very pleased at the turnout,” Pavlus said, “The Town Parks Department did a great job trimming up the pond for the derby, and we appreciate the effort,” he said.

Pavlus also was eager to spread his praise around to the volunteers working the measuring tables, the 21 local businesses who donated food and prizes to the event, the Skaneateles Rotary who built the pavilion in 2005, and SAVES who has had an EMT at every event since the beginning.

“This is a great event, everything’s been good. I’ve put more worms on hooks than anything,” said SAVES EMT Mark Stebbins.

First-year measuring station volunteer Hannah Harrop — whose father, Jeff, was across the pond at another station — said she remembered her father talking about the derby in years past. “I’m so glad I came out this year. It’s fantastic.”

The Harrops also had a friendly father-daughter competition going during the derby to see whose side of the pond caught the biggest fish. The winner? Jeff — who measured Francesca Erdosh’s 15.25-inch bass.

“I get bragging rights,” he said. “And the loser gets to clean up all the dead worms around the pond.”

Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at editor@skaneatelespress.com.

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