A corner-of-the-eye glance at what young Emma Grant was holding may have prompted an observer or two to wonder what was up with the fake fish.
But what she reeled in from the depths of Peters Lake was a genuine carp measured at 24.5 inches long before being released safely back into the water.
With that catch, Emma won the prize for the biggest fish during the 22nd annual Peters Township and McMurray Rotary Fishing Derby, held Aug. 21. And as at least one observer who has attended nearly every year will attest, hers set a new standard for largest ever.
A bright Saturday morning brought children in kindergarten through fifth grade to try their luck in the lake, with Peters Township Parks and Recreation Department staff members joining Rotarians in coordinating the event.
Grand prizes also were awarded to Brooke Renk for the most fish caught, 21; Noah Thomas for the smallest fish; and Hailey Grant, Emma’s sister, for the first catch of the day.
All participants were presented with buckets in which to keep what they caught until it was time for their fish to be measured, and the youngsters also were treated to a picnic table full of donated gifts.
The fishing derby was started by Mike Silvestri, former McMurray Rotarian and retired township manager, as a way to promote activity at then-recently established Peters Lake Park and help spread awareness about its presence as a community asset.
In the two decades since, the park has become a popular spot for people who like to fish and boat, plus recreation enthusiasts who can walk or jog the approximately 1.5 miles of trails around the lake’s perimeter.
The park is accessed by traveling east on Center Church Road until it terminates at a parking lot off which a boat launch is located. A picnic shelter nearby represents one of the many Eagle Scout projects that have been completed at the park over the years.