This year’s NB Paddler’s Derby was again held at the Eco-Logical Adventures location at the mouth of the beautiful Oromocto River in New Brunswick, Canada. The event, intended to promote the sport of kayak fishing and get more people involved, is not competitive by nature but rather meant to be a fun day on the water for new anglers as well as ‘the pros’.
The goal is to catch, photo and release as many species as you can and the size only matters for your largest fish as a tie-breaker. 39 anglers took to the water on this beautiful sunny day, and everyone caught fish. Overall 13 species were caught, with two anglers landing 10 apiece!
Four year old Rowan wanted to participate as he loves to accompany me on the back of my Old Town Predator 13 kayak. Instead of just fishing with his Dad as was the option for any young children in the event, he wanted to pay $20 and compete in the youth division!
During the day, I would put worms on his hooks but that was about all I’d do. Rowan proceeded to land fish after fish after fish all day long. As he brought in different species, I’d photograph them for him, and sometimes take the fish off the hook if it was hooked deep. Once, for his pickerel I acted as his net man, but other than that, he was on his own. By the time we got off the water, Rowan had accumulated 6 species in total, a fantastic outing winning him the Youth Division and placing him in the top third of all anglers!
I tried a new format for the awarding of prizes this year. Being a fun-first derby rather than competitive, all prizes were organized over three tables; bigger prizes, clothing, and finally smaller items. Each angler, from first to last was given an opportunity to pick one item from each table, thus keeping the value of prizes as even as possible, but yet with a lot of choice for each person. This format seemed to go over very well, and is likely one we will continue to use moving forward.
Finally once all the regular prizes were given out, it was time for the grand prize. Our marquee sponsor, and host for this event donated an Old Town kayak to the event. Everyone who participated, including the kids, received a ticket (with the top three finishers receiving an extra ticket), and we then drew a winner randomly for a new fishing kayak!
The winner was the original organizer of the event Bob, for whom I had taken over the role a few years ago. It was great to see someone with such a strong tie to the sport and the event walk away with this prize!
For anyone in our region who was not able to make this event for whatever reason, don’t worry! We do it all again in August on the Hammond River where Old Town has donated an Old Town Predator XL to be given away randomly! Come out, join in the fun and celebrate the sport with us while exploring a beautiful river filled with everything from sunfish and smallmouth to sturgeon to stripers!