Clarendon Hills residents get the catch in park district’s annual fishing derby
Muffy O'Donnell holds up her 19 1/2-inch catfish, one of the biggest catches of the morning. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 27, 2012 10:18AM
CLARENDON HILLS — The beginnings of a tradition of success were started for two Clarendon Hills families at Saturday’s annual Clarendon Hills Park District Fishing Derby at Prospect Park.
Trophies were awarded to those with the longest catch in each of four age categories: 7 and under, 8-12, 13-17, and 18 and older. About 200 people participated in the fishing derby, said Jessica Hart, a park district recreation supervisor.
Adam Lubic, 9, won the 8-12 age group when he caught a 23 ½-inch fish from the pond at Prospect Park. A year ago, Adam’s father, Gary, won the 18 and older age group with a 26 ½-inch catch.
In the 18 and older age category, Muffy O’Donnell was the winner, a year after son, Mac, nabbed the trophy in the 13-17 age group.
Just as his dad’s fish was the longest caught by anyone in 2011’s fishing derby, Adam had the biggest catch Saturday.
“I had a feeling I might get a big one,” Adam said. “It’s another trophy to add to our collection; my sister has won, too.”
Despite his young age, this was Adam’s sixth Clarendon Hills fishing derby.
“I like to go fishing, and I like the fishing derby,” he said. “They’re just fun for me.”
Along with Adam, other 2012 winners were Annabel Hawk, 3, in the 7 and under age group, with a 20-inch fish; Ryan Rodriguez, 13, in the 13-17 age category, with a 21 ½-inch fish; and Muffy O’Donnell in the 18 and older category, with a 19 ½-inch catch.
This also marked the second consecutive year in which someone from the O’Donnell family won a trophy. In 2011, Mac O’Donnell, now 15, was a winner in the 13-17 age category.
“We’ve been at the fishing derbies as a family for a long time, probably since the boys (Mac and twin brother, Sean) were two,” Muffy O’Donnell said. “I had never won before, but this was the first time I had my own fishing pole.”
O’Donnell said her husband, Brian, suggested the night before the fishing derby that she get her own pole.
“I told him I wanted a pink one, which I got,” O’Donnell said. “The biggest difference in having my own pole was that it was very comfortable.”
O’Donnell said she had two near bites on her fishing line before landing the big one.
“I knew I had something because I could feel the weight of it,” she said.
With a trophy now in her possession, O’Donnell is scheduled to be heading soon to Lake of the Ozarks for her family’s annual vacation.
“We go there very year, pretty much as we do the fishing derby every year,” she said. “We do it as a tradition. It brings us together as a family.”
The free fishing derby was open to all Clarendon Hills residents, and the pond was stocked in advance with farm-raised catfish and bass. All fishing during the derby was done in a “catch and release” manner.