Fish scarce on Oak Harbor Derby Day

Anglers, left to right, Josh Toe, Seth Gluth, Olivia Gluth and Miranda Gluth spent most of Saturday morning watching the waves off F Dock at Oak Harbor Marina without having any success catching fish.  - Tim Adams/Whidbey News-Times
Anglers, left to right, Josh Toe, Seth Gluth, Olivia Gluth and Miranda Gluth spent most of Saturday morning watching the waves off F Dock at Oak Harbor Marina without having any success catching fish.
— image credit: Tim Adams/Whidbey News-Times

Most of the young anglers at Saturday’s Oak Harbor Yacht Club Fishing Derby agreed the fish weren’t hungry but by 11 a.m., more than 50 kids had registered to try their luck reeling in a slippery finner from the briny depths off the marina’s “F” dock.

Under blue skies and warm temperatures, the event was open to anglers ages 6 to 12 who were accompanied by an adult. But many younger kids were observed holding firmly on to their rods while dipping provided bait into the waters of Oak Harbor in hopes of catching a big one.

The day was made even more colorful by groups of “brigands,” all members of the Oak Harbor Yacht Club Buccaneers, wandering the docks and grounds at the marina uttering an occasional “Aaarh!” But they were mostly engaged helping the youngsters with their fishing efforts.

Safety was the number-one priority and before any of the kids ventured near the water, they were buckled into life jackets at the reception desk by Jan Markley and her capable assistant, Jessica Fain.

“We want to make sure all the kids have a life jacket on before they start fishing,” Markley said.

Assisting her 3-year-old daughter, who is a second-generation derby angler, was Jalana Lewandowski from Oak Harbor. “Breanna is three and this is her first time fishing in the derby,” Jalana said. “Mom did it as a kid. I grew up here.”

Breanna hadn’t caught anything yet and was having more fun casting her bait rather than leaving it in the water.

Further down F dock, Tina Gluth was supervising a group of young anglers who also hadn’t met with any success. The group included Josh Toe, along with Seth, Olivia and Miranda Gluth.

Miranda lives in Florida and is staying in Oak Harbor for the summer.

When asked, she said she doesn’t do any fishing back in Florida.

“She does all her fishing when she is up here,” Tina Gluth said.

Among the groups of buccaneers strolling the docks were Ian Thomas, Terry Mills, Sherwood Minckler and Gary Jandzinski.

“Ian is a member of the Mills family and he is visiting from California,” Terry Mills said.

Mills was last year’s captain of the buccaneers and Jandzinski is the leader of the pack in 2008.

“It’s a great day for the kids to be out fishing,” Jandzinski commented.

Mills said the most patient of the young anglers will probably be the ones who win the bicycles.

“They are going to have to cast out there and just let the bait sit,” he said. “Maybe they will be able to catch a dogfish, however, we haven’t had a dogfish caught in the last couple of years of competition.”

Mills said some of the kids were catching little fish and that kind of encourages them to keep at it.

One of the successful younger fishermen was 3-year-old Chayce Fry, who was accompanied by his grandmother, Marlene Beronilla.

Frye had reeled in five or six little ones, some herring, a couple of smelt and a porgie or two.

“He caught all them by himself,” Beronilla said. “But he is too young to be entered in the contest. Maybe he should have a derby of his own.”

Successful or not, no one left the derby without a prize and all of the young anglers were eager to come back and try their luck again next year.

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