Parker Krook, 4, of Winthrop, left, watches his father, Ryan, pull a pike from Sabattus Lake in Sabattus on Saturday afternoon during the second annual Oak Hill Boosters Pike Derby. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

SABATTUS — Dave Perlman of Sabattus looked out at Sabattus Lake, which was scattered with people, ice shacks and vehicles for the second annual Oak Hill Boosters Pike Derby.

“It feels like a community atmosphere,” he said Saturday. 

More than 1,400 people registered to participate in the derby, which boasts a grand prize of $2,000 cash for the biggest fish and thousands of dollars in raffle prizes, including an ice-fishing shack worth $6,000.

All proceeds from the derby go to the Oak Hill Boosters Club, which helps provide uniforms and equipment to Oak Hill High School students for athletics and extracurricular activities, and provides scholarships.

The winner of the $2,000 first prize was Rebecca Boutilier, with a pike weighing in at 15.05 pounds. Boutilier caught the pike early in the day, around 10 a.m., and the massive fish hung dauntingly in front of the registration tent for the remainder of the derby — daring anyone to beat its size.

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Second place went to David Verge with a pike weighing 13.81 pounds, and third place went to Joseph Libby, who caught a pike weighing 13.37 pounds.

Last year’s event raised about $30,000, and volunteers from the community and the high school began their day at 1 a.m., when people started arriving for the derby, which kicked off at 6 a.m.

“It’s a huge undertaking,” said club member Stacy Nadeau of Wales.

For Perlman and his friend, Joseph Fuller of Sabattus, it was something to get them outside.

“I needed something to get me out into the cold,” Perlman said. “I kind of enjoy it. There’s plenty of room, we’re not on top of each other and we’ve helped a couple people out when they had trouble.” 

While Perlman and Fuller were there for the experience, John Rolfe of Fayette was there to win it, and was staying defiantly positive about the cold, saying that it was “nice and warm.”

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Rolfe was there with a large group of friends, including Jared Keith of Livermore, who attends every fishing derby he can.

“This is the lake that’s known for its big pike, and I’m glad everyone gets to come out and be good sports and support a good cause,” Keith said.

Pete Fischer of Auburn was there to enjoy his very first derby, and brought along his uncle, Bill Goodwin, the “pro” fisherman of the group, and his grandmother, Marilyn Goodwin, who will celebrate her 71st birthday next week.

“I thought it was awesome she came with us,” said Fischer, looking at his grandmother, who was hard to miss in her in her bright-orange, puffy coat and too-big snow pants.

“Those are my hunting clothes she’s wearing,” said Bill Goodwin, who experienced a pike bite to the finger just before his midmorning snack was cut short by two flags popping up, signaling fish were caught.

He said he regretted not bringing a four-wheeler, watching others rumble across the snow, as he slowly pulled the line up from the perfect-circle hole in the ice. It turned out the big fishes had spat out the little bait fishes, so Goodwin fixed the lines to try again.

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Cheeko Zruz of Auburn brought his son, Owen, 8, and tried to warn him of the cold conditions.

“I told him it would be freezing. He didn’t care. We’re just here for fun,” Zruz said.

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Owen Cruz, 11, of Auburn, catches a frozen fish thrown by his brother, Cody, on Sabattus Lake in Sabattus on Saturday afternoon, as they waited for their flags to go up during the second annual Oak Hill Boosters Pike Derby. “They are playing fish football on this Super Bowl weekend,” their father said while watching and waiting for a hit on the lines they had out. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Gunnar, a Labrador/hound mix, wrestles with a freshly caught pike at the second annual Oak Hill Boosters Pike Derby on Saturday on Sabattus Lake in Sabattus. (Liz Marquis/Sun Journal)

Fishing enthusiasts head back to shore after a morning of ice fishing on Sabattus Lake during Saturday’s Pike Derby. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

One of several eagles that were flying over Sabattus Lake on Saturday afternoon looking for an easy meal. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Fish that were caught on Sabattus Lake on Saturday lie beside one of the hundreds of holes in the ice during the second annual Pike Derby. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)


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