History made: White perch wins Great Meredith Rotary Ice Fishing Derby
MEREDITH - Mark Head of Meredith made history Sunday, winning the 2013 Great Meredith Rotary Ice Fishing Derby by catching the largest white perch.
His victory marked the first in the history of the derby that an angler has won with anything other than a rainbow trout.
Under the old rules, the largest prizes went to the largest rainbow trout, but this year, derby organizers decided to hold a drawing among the anglers bringing in the top fish in all categories - lake trout, rainbow trout, white perch, yellow perch, cusk, pickerel, and black crappie.
It was Head's first derby victory. For his catch of a 2.76 white perch, caught on Big Squam Lake, he was entered into the final drawing. He couldn't believe his ears, he said, when his name was called for the top prize, $15,000 cash.
"I can't believe it," he said. When asked what he would do with the prize money, he answered, "I don't know yet."
Second place, a prize of $5,000, went to Lawrence Shipley of Belmont. Third place, $3,000, went to Thomas Knight of Hampton.
In past years, the top three prizes have been vehicles and fishing equipment. This year, having learned that some recent prize winners had sold their prizes for cash, and given the slow economy, derby organizers decided to award cash as prizes.