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The winner's wall at the Great Meredith Rotary Fishing Derby on Sunday. (DAN SEUFERT PHOTO)

Fishing Derby

Tamworth youth walks away with catch of the day

MEREDITH -- A humble Brady King was all smiles Sunday when he won the $15,000 cash grand prize at the Great Meredith Rotary Fishing Derby.

Brady, 11, from Tamworth, stood with his father and Gov. Maggie Hassan on the deck of Derby headquarters, holding up the 4.25-pound, 25-inch pickerel he caught at Bear Camp Pond, where he's caught big pickerel before.

This was Brady's second derby. Through the derby's system of drawing names of all the derby's top winners to get the top cash winner, he won.

What will he do with the money?

"He'll put it in the bank for school," said his father, Chris King.

"Yeah," Brady said shyly, "probably for school."

Mark Smart, a stone mason from Moultonborough, won the second-place prize — $5,000. He caught the biggest cusk on Saturday, a 30-inch, 8.82-pound fish.

He caught the fish on Lake Winnipesaukee, on a section of the lake called "The Broads."

"It was beautiful out there. I really enjoyed the whole experience," said Smart, who said he's been fishing in the event for many years.

The third-prize winner was a regular at the derby before he enlisted in the U.S. Marines. For the past 10 years, Skyler Sherman, of Manchester, has been a sergeant, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. He left the service last summer, he said, and is enjoying "being back home," he said.

He caught a 31-inch, 8.88-pound cusk "in a secret place" on Lake Winnipesaukee.

"I'm not going to say where it was, or it won't be secret anymore," Sherman said. "It was great to be back here. I'm here with my dad and cousins; it's a whole family thing," he said.

Sherman said he hopes the $3,000 cash prize will help him build a home.

The derby had one of its best weekends ever, said Derby Chairman Betsy Donovan.

"The ice was perfect, and the crowds were huge," she said. "The fish were large, too."

An estimated 3,000 people participated each day, Donovan said.

Hassan said she was pleased to be at the event and happy to see such a large turnout.

"I used to fish as a child with my grandfather, though it was on the Seacoast so it was a different kind of fishing," Hassan said. "This is an important event for this area, and for the state, and for the country for that matter. This is really wonderful."


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