Good times, great food, a great cause, and fishing. What more could a girl ask for? After two great years at Deer Creek Conservation Area for the Fish-A-Thon For A Cure, I eagerly awaited this year’s event. The event is a fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society, and participants gather pledges before coming to the lake and spending a great day on the water.
With some gloomy weather in the forecast, Darrell and I stashed the rain gear in the truck before leaving the house. The forecast did not dampen our spirits as torrential downpours at last year’s event lead to some amazing fishing. As we drove by fields of grains, we talked about our fishing tactics for the day, marveled at the generosity of those who pledged us, and felt thankful to once again be part of this awesome event.
By the time we arrived at Deer Creek in Langton, Ontario, the weather was on the improve, and we were greeted with friendly and familiar faces. I love how the day feels like a big family get-together.
The derby portion of this event is catch, photo, and release, and there are a few prizes awarded:
- Biggest Bass
- Biggest Fish (other than a bass)
- Grand Slam (crappie, perch, bluegill, trout, carp, bass)
While the chance to win a prize is always fun, a day on the water catching fish was what we were really craving. Darrell maneuvered the boat into our favorite spot for crappie and we started the day by catching crappie, bluegill, and rock bass.
This lake has many thin, deep arms to it, which is different from the lakes we normally fish and provides us with a unique challenge. The forest surrounding the lake, and the lack of gas motors, means that anglers can have a quiet and peaceful day on the water. It’s a great destination.
I managed to catch a few bass on a chatterbait early on, then switched to a few other techniques to see if I could find something bigger. The bluegills were on fire and inhaled everything small enough for their mouths to get around. The rock bass, bigger in this lake than anywhere else I’ve fished for them, were keen on the larger baits.
While I had fun catching the little guys, Darrell switched up to a wacky-rigged senko, and that’s when the big ones came out to play. By slowly fishing it along a deep weed edge, he landed four bass in five casts, including the biggest one either of us had ever caught there.
The day carried on with fish being caught, anglers sharing a wave in passing, smiles everywhere, and only a brief encounter with rain and a rumble of thunder. The bluegill were really keeping us entertained, and several of them were decent slabs. Although we had each caught a few perch, it took awhile before we finally remembered to photograph one in case one of us got close to the grand slam.
Having never caught a carp or a rainbow trout out of this lake, neither of us had really considered the grand slam prize. Although the prize is technically for catching six different species, it is usually awarded to the person who catches five of six. Darrell had the crappie, bluegill, perch, and bass. When I decided to have a nap in the afternoon, he targeted the rainbows…and actually caught one. I woke up quickly when he told me to get the net.
We called it quits on the fishing around 3pm, choosing to pull the boat out and have a rest before dinner. It was a great day on the water with lots of action and some really nice fish. Darrell took his photos in to enter for the prizes, and then we passed the time by having a long and entertaining chat with another participant. This event attracts a great group of people, which is part of the reason we all keep coming back. Once you fish your first Fish-A-Thon, you will always want to be part of the experience.
Dinner. Oh the amazing Fish-A-Thon dinner. I love it! After a day on the water there is nothing like a BBQ and great selection of delicious food.
After dinner is when the prizes get handed out. There are youth and adult prizes for the fishing derby, for the leading fundraisers, and then draw prizes for every participant. The event’s sponsors make sure there are some really spectacular prizes given out, and no one goes home empty-handed. I don’t think anyone takes part in the event for the chance to win a prize, but everyone appreciates getting one anyway. There are too many amazing sponsors to list here, but go the Fish-A-Thon website and you will see them.
It is always a sobering moment when the organizers remind us of why we are all there. In fact, there are usually a few tears. The event raised over $10,000 this year (preliminary results). That’s money that the Canadian Cancer Society can use to help those with cancer, and their families. No person is immune from the touch of cancer. I will never forget the phone call that told me my youngest sister had breast cancer. It shook my very foundation. She is now a two-year survivor (and you can read about her experience on her beautifully written blog), and she is the reason I feel so strongly about participating in the Fish-A-Thon.
The mood lightened as the prizes were handed out, and Darrell ended up winning the Grand Slam for getting five of the six species. You can be sure he will be targeting carp next year so he can get all six. He loves a challenge.
We went home, exhausted, but happy. Another Fish-A-Thon For A Cure is in the books, and I’m already looking forward to next year’s event. Thank you so much to the event organizers, the incredible sponsors (especially Dixie Tackle Shop), and all of the other participants that make this such an amazing event. See you next year!