June 7, 2010


Casterline Pond fishing derby yields fun for children

FishingJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Cody Benner, 8, of Virgil, weighs one of his catches with the help of volunteer Brian Owens during the fishing derby Saturday at Casterline Pond in Homer.

Staff Reporter

HOMER — Clyde Treacy saw the orange bobber on his fishing line move on Casterline Pond’s surface, between clumps of seaweed, and told his stepson Ryan Ames to watch and wait.
Maybe a sunfish or bluegill would swallow the hook with the worm wrapped around it, he told the 3-year-old.
But whatever was nibbling on the hook stopped and swam away. Ryan, meanwhile, was looking at cigarette butts on the deck where the two stood, and at worms he had brought in a container.
Treacy, of Homer, smiled and said fishing Saturday in the Hooked on Fishing Derby was just a good way to spend time with his stepson.
“It’s fun to do,” he said. “We have a 22-foot boat that I take out onto Cayuga Lake and Lake Ontario, so he’s used to it.”
The annual derby brought 34 children and youths up to 15 years old to the pond, which was stocked with 1,000 brown and rainbow trout in April by the Cortland County Federation of Sportsmen. That was part of stocking waterways in the county with 20,000 fish, an annual program.
Fish caught during the derby were measured, since trophies were up for grabs for longest fish in three age categories: 7 and under, 8 to 11 and 12 to 15. Only bass were off-limits, since it is not bass season yet.
The sponsors also offered door prizes — toys for outdoors — through choosing children’s names at random.
The derby is sponsored by the federation, the city Youth Bureau, the Cortland Chaper of the Izaak Walton League of America and Homer Lions Club. It is designed to encourage young people to learn about outdoor activities
The number of children was the lowest in years. Usually families stand or sit shoulder to shoulder along the pond’s bank.
Last year’s derby attracted 97 children.
Federation member Greg Fuller said maybe there were just too many other things to do in the region Saturday, or maybe parents wanted to sleep in. The morning’s cloudy weather may not have helped.
One group of people struck gold at a deeper part of the pond, reeling in trout after trout. Kevin Corson, one of the adults in the group, kept making the trek to the tent where federation members weighed and measured fish before releasing them back into the water.
In the first 45 minutes, Corson brought a brown trout caught by Colin Dye of Moravia, 3, that measured 13 1/2 inches; a brown trout caught by Corson’s son Zach Corson, 9, that was 13 1/8 inches; and a rainbow caught by Angelo Cook of Moravia, 10, that was 14 3/4 inches long.
Kevin Corson, who lives in Cortland, said the group was using marshmallows as bait. Fuller said trout like to feed a foot or so off the bottom, and a marshmallow floats and makes a bright object for the fish to pursue.
Dye’s fish ended up placing first in the 7-and-under category while Cook and Corson placed first and second respectively in the 8 to 11 category.
Matt Barber of Cortland was second in the 7-and-under group with a 13-inch fish. Brittany Hooper of Homer was third in the 8-11 category with a 12 3/4-inch fish.
Cole Brown of Spafford placed first in 12-15 with a 7 1/2-inch fish, followed by Ashley Kent of Homer with a 7-incher and Logan Schmidt of Cincinnatus with a 6-incher.
The Bob Atkins Memorial Youth Angler of the Year trophy went to Cortland resident Johnathan Alteri, age 9. The trophy is given to the child who shows the most enthusiasm for fishing, even if he or she does not catch a fish.
Tyler Forshee of Homer, age 15, brought a small sunfish to the measurement station at 9:05 a.m., laughing as he asked the volunteers if it should be measured since it was only a few inches long. He stood on the bank with Kent, 14, who said she had been fishing in the derby before and wanted him to accompany her this time.
“I usually fish in Groton and the Adirondacks, like Old Forge,” Forshee said.
Schmidt’s parents, Kurt and Lori Schmidt of Cincinnatus, said they had been bringing their three children to the derby for 10 or 11 years, although the oldest, Elise was absent because she had to work, but Richard, 15, and Logan, 12, tried their hand at it.
“Logan has a soccer game in Binghamton at noon, so we have to push it,” said Kurt, a science teacher at Cincinnatus High School.


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