Fishing derby returns Jan. 30.
BOYLSTON - If you're a person who has been waiting since mid-October for the return of spring, then maybe Saturday, Jan. 30, will have just the thing to get you hooked on winter. That's the date for the return of the annual Boylston Fire Association Ice Fishing Derby.
Last year, the derby drew about 125 participants to the frozen waters of Newton Lake, or, as it is better known among Boylstonites, Mud Pond. This year, many of the same elements that have drawn bigger crowds each year are returning, according to the primary organizer of the event, Brian Gaucher.
The Lions Club will be back on the ice serving hot dogs, hamburgers and chili, Gaucher said.
Last year, early registration was added to allow for those participants who did not want to wait in a line to go straight to the ice. This year, that is still an option. Registration forms are available at the Boylston Fire Station, B&A Bait and Tackle in West Boylston, Barry's Bait and Tackle in Westboro and Dick's Sporting Goods in Worcester. Forms are also available for download on the Boylston town Web site, Gaucher said.
New this year is another incentive to register early, Gaucher said. Bait buckets with the Fire Department logo will be given to early registrants, he said.
On-site registration for the derby begins at 5 a.m. Fishing begins at 6 a.m., Gaucher said.
"It's pretty much the same as last year," Gauncher said. "We're hoping to increase the prizes as attendance goes up."
Prizes will be awarded for the top three heaviest bass and the top three longest pickerel.
In addition, there is a raffle following the derby. Prizes include cash, hats, fishing poles, an ice auger and custom made tip-up ice fishing traps.
Also returning this year is the under-12 children's derby, an addition that Gaucher said changed the atmosphere of the event to family friendly.
"More than anything, we are trying to encourage people to bring the kids," he said. "It's a family event."
Last year, around 30 children registered, Gaucher said. Prizes were awarded for heaviest bass and longest pickerel.
"We had great prizes for them. Local businesses have been great to us with donations," Gaucher said.
If you're new to ice fishing, Gaucher said you will need your own jigging poles and tip-ups to participate. But fellow ice fishers are usually on hand to help with cutting a hole in the ice.
"I don't think anyone needs to go out and buy an auger," he said. "There is always someone willing to help out."
And, he said, dress for the weather.
Registration is $20 for adults and $5 for children. Parking and registration are on Mill Road, in the Worcester Sand and Gravel lot.
In the event there is no ice, a make-up date has been scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 20.
For more information, contact Brian Gaucher at (508) 869-0013.
PHOTOG: BANNER FILE PHOTO
CUTLINE: Shelley Brigham and Sam Stowe looked on as Boylston Lions Club member Jon Heslin flipped a burger at last year's ice fishing derby.