Hunt for 2000 Super Perch begins Saturday

PORT DOVER – Some valuable fish will be released into the harbour in Port Dover Friday evening.Forty perch in all will go into the drink, all of them with a price on their heads.Eighteen are worth $1,000 each if you catch them between Saturday and May 11.One is worth $1,500 while the legendary Super Perch this year has a blue and white tag worth $2,000.Add in the 20 grey-tagged perch worth $100 each and the total cash prize pool totals $23,500.The 22nd annual Perch Derby in Port Dover kicks off Friday night with a Cast Off Party at the Lions Community Centre on St. George Street. The west pier promises to be crowded with anglers of all ages Saturday morning as the derby itself gets officially underway at 7 a.m.“The original objective of the derby was to have something in early spring as a shoulder-season event,” Jan Overend, general manager of the Port Dover Board of Trade and an organizer of the derby, said Friday.“Twenty-two years ago, Port Dover wasn’t as busy as it is today, so it began as an event to kick off the tourist season.”In 1997, the board of trade had to coax people to town at this time of year. Today, the popular derby sells itself and generates plenty of family day-tripper traffic in the lakeside community.The board was planning for 450 people at Friday’s Cast Off Party. Meanwhile, Overend says registration ticket sales have been “brisk.” Even though the board puts up $23,500 in prize money and numerous expensive prizes courtesy of member merchants, Overend conceded that the derby is a money-maker.“It adds to what the board is capable of doing for the community,” she said. “For many out-of-town people, this is their introduction to Port Dover.”To win money and prizes qualifying anglers must pay a registration fee. This they can do at a cabin temporarily situated at Bridge Yachts at the corner of St. Andrew Street and Harbour Street. This is also the location to report and collect on tagged catches.Bridge Yachts co-owner Ed Laevens has been involved with the derby since its inception and wouldn’t miss it for the world.“It’s increased our tourism revenue,” Laevens said Friday. “The derby started out focussed on children and it still is. We see a lot of grandparents bringing grandchildren to town.”Some prize money always goes uncollected. The tagged perch are free to roam and some will find their way into Long Point Bay.But other years the fish stick around and pay big dividends for the anglers trying to catch them. Overend recalled the derby about five years ago where 11 $1,000 perch were caught along with 11 $100 fish.The registration fee is $20 for adults 18 years of age and older. Intermediate entries ages 13 to 17 pay $10 while children 12 and under pay $5.Anglers can also register at Stoney’s Home Hardware, Dovercraft Marine Store, the Fisherman’s Catch Restaurant, the Dover Dairy Bar and the Tan-Mar [email protected]

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