Gabriel Fekete did not win the biggest or most fish at the 5th annual Tillsonburg Family Fishing Derby, organized by Mike and Rosemary Dean, Saturday at Lake Lisgar.
Fekete did win a prize, however, as the oldest angler in the derby. At 97 years-old, it wasn’t close.
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“I think I started fishing when I was 10 years old,” he said. “I came to Canada in 1929. I used to go fishing… do you know where Croton dam used to be? North of Lyndoch. We used to go fishing there.”
On Saturday Fekete caught two fish, laughing as he described them, ranging in size from 2-3 inches.
“Two little ones,” he admitted. “Oh yeah, a lot of them got away.”
A far cry from his biggest-ever fish caught when he was about 14 with help from his 16-year-old brother and a 12-year-old friend at Big Creek.
“‘WE’ caught it,” he said, stressing the ‘we.’
“It was a carp. We chased this carp… it was so big, we chased it back and forth, back and forth. Finally it got so tired we just walked into the water and grabbed it. We poked a stick through a gill and we dragged it in by the tail. It was at least four feet long, that’s how big of a carp it was. That was the biggest fish ‘we’ caught, not me, we.
“Yeah, we used to go fishing in the Big Creek a lot. We ate a lot of fish during the Depression. And a lot of rabbits.”
Fekete, who recently lived on a tobacco farm until moving to Woodstock two years ago, plans to return to Lake Lisgar for the 2020 Tillsonburg Family Fishing Derby.
“Next time we come, I’m going to use this one,” said Fekete proudly holding his prize, an Ugly Stik rod and reel.
The two youngest prize-winning anglers at Saturday’s derby were both nine months old.