Elks outing makes for some honest fishing tales

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“Austin got another one,” Griff Williams shouted Saturday morning at the jam-packed Tri-City Elks ‘Golden Pond’ in Warwick. “How many has he caught now?”

By the time Lodge 14’s annual Kids Fishing Derby ended, Austin Garrett – a tiny-tot who’s just five years old – took home a much-cherished fancy fishing pole that goes to angler who catches the most trout.

Saturday, Garrett reeled in 11 trout that the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management stocks in ‘Golden Pond’ every year.

Austin’s largest catch was a one-pound, eight ounce Brook Trout.

“Where the heck is Charlie Moore?” Williams, who looks more like an NFL lumberjack instead of a gentle man who annually chairs the Elks’ Kids Fishing Derby. “Now this kid is certainly a pro!”

Likewise, Williams and Warwick Police Officer Matthew Moretti – who took in Saturday’s Kids Fishing Derby and even talked to the four dozen kids who cast their lines into Golden Pond – gave 11-year-old Paris Charbonneau the same tag after she won the girls’ division fishing pole.

“Paris doesn’t have to tell any fish story,” Williams mused while presenting Charbonneau her trophy and new pole. “She didn’t have a fish under a pound.”

And Williams should know; he weighed in each and every one of the more than 20 trout kids caught Saturday and almost immediately threw back into the Elks’ pond.

Charbonneau’s heaviest catch was a one-pound, 12-ounce Brownie Trout. She also had catches of one-pound eight ounces and one-pound seven ounces.

Paige Bedard, 9, took home runner-up honors in the Girls’ Division for her one-pound five-ounce brook trout. She also caught a one-pounder.

“This was by far one of the largest turnouts we’ve had for our Kids Fishing Derby,” said Williams, who was assisted by his wife Diane who recorded the official weight of each and every trout taken Saturday. “Everyone here is a winner!”

Indeed.

Once the group of anglers finished the hot dogs that Elk Bob Hartington cooked and enjoyed various flavors of fruit punch and bags of potato chips, Diane Williams – on behalf of Lodge 14 – presented each youngster who entered Saturday’s Kids Fishing Derby with a trophy.

“I love doing stuff for kids,” Williams said while watching his wife present 11-year-old Kendall Brooks a shiny gold trophy.

Perhaps Mark Eaton, who served as Tri-City’s Exalted Ruler the past two years, best summed up day’s activity as he greet proud parents, grandparents and even friend s of the upstart anglers.

“This is great stuff,” Eaton emphasized while walking past a cluster of adults who helped bait their favorite angler’s hooks and cast their lines. “This campfire isn’t the only thing providing warmth on this chilly morning; this is Ekdom in its richest form!”

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