Lawrence fishing derby successfully returns post-pandemic

·2 min read

Jun. 6—LAWRENCE — A fishing tournament in an angler's hot spot near the Falls Bridge was a "huge success" again after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Overall, it was an amazing event," said organizer Jamiel Ortiz, a Lawrence firefighter and co-founder of Salt Addiction Fishing.

Now in its fifth year, the fishing tournament was held Saturday morning near the Falls Bridge and Pemberton Park.

Ortiz said more than 45 anglers registered for the event. A total of five striped bass were caught and safely released.

"And over 60 shad were caught in that category," Ortiz said.

Winners in the striped bass category were as follows: — Kelvin "Goldo" Rivera took 1st place and also won the pool with a 16.6 pound and 32-inch striper. — Edward "Taz" Santiago took 2nd place with a 13.7 pound striper. — Winston "Hacha" Hernandez took 3rd place with a 13.1 pound striper.

Winners in the shad category were: — Luke Demma took first place with 20 shad caught. — Nicholas Belanger took second with more than 16. — Rocco Peluso came in third with 9.

Ortiz said 29 sponsors provided raffle items for the fundraiser arm of the tourney.

Sponsors included Tomo's Tackle from Salem, Mass., Fitness Appeal Gym of Lawrence, Surfland Bait and Tackle of Plum island, Mike DiSanto of Mike's Custom Plugs, NESC Federal Credit Union and Straight Line Bait and Tackle of Salisbury.

Fitness Appeal hosted a workout bootcamp on May 28 and donated 100% of their registration proceeds, $780, towards the cause, he said.

More than $4,000 raised through the tournament was given to a local girl, Ashley Ortega, who has cerebral palsy, which is a group of disorders that affect a person's ability to move and maintain balance and posture, Ortiz said.

"This is thanks to the immense support of the fishing community and our donors. The tournament got a bit emotional at the end," Ortiz said.

Prior to the fishing derby, Salt Addiction Fishing annually hosts a cleanup in the area.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.