Those who find themselves at Pryibil Beach on the morning of Saturday, Aug. 25, can expect to see over 100 tiny Glen Covers, with tiny fishing rods crowded on the pier trying their hardest to catch as many tiny fish as they can.
This year will mark the 40th anniversary of the Glen Cove Mayor’s Snapper Derby — hosted by the Glen Cove Department of Parks and Recreation, the Glen Cove Anglers’ Club and the Matinecock Rod and Gun Club.
The best part of the event, according to Sam McCrindle, 7, is “that you get to catch a lot of fish.” Sam has been a derby competitor since he was two years old, and last year reeled in three snappers. Asked about his prospects for this year’s take, he said, incredulously, “I don’t know yet!”
“He’s going to be the future of the [Anglers’] Club,” Sam’s father, Ron McCrindle, himself a member for about 15 years, said proudly. “It’s a good hobby,” he added, “keeps the kids out of trouble.”
It also teaches them about marine biology, camaraderie and patience, McCrindle said.
Tom Manzione, who has chaired the event’s organizing committee for 20 years, said regarding patience that fishing is a good antidote to the highly structured nature of kids’ recreation. “It’s too organized,” he said. “You take your kid from one thing to another,” which makes it hard for them to learn how to entertain themselves.
“It’s a good learning experience,” he said. “You get frustrated at times, [but] the more you keep fishing, the better you get.”
But passing down the tradition of fishing isn’t just about teaching patience and perseverance. “For me,” Manzione said, “it’s about being with my son.”
Jessica Reynolds, 21, grew up in the Anglers’ Club — her father is a longtime member — and she remembers the derby fondly. “Even if you never caught a big fish,” she said, “it was always a fun time.”
Reynolds, currently a student at Hofstra University, she said that her favorite part of fishing was “the excitement of reeling in.” Sometimes, you do get a bit of seaweed or a piece of trash, she said. Sometimes it’s a fish, but until it breaks the surface, the angler doesn’t know what they have.
There had been concern this year regarding the pier that Anglers’ Club president Sal Groe would have to support the weight of between 120 and 140 children, their parents and event staff. When the North Shore was battered by a series of four nor’easters, over the winter, the Pryibil pier had taken a beating — along with the rest of the beach — and had been closed due to dangerous conditions since.
Repairs have been underway, and Mayor Tim Tenke said at an Aug. 21 pre-council meeting that the dangerous parts of the pier would be safely patched up in time for the derby.