PITTSFIELD — If it bites, it counts, at the long-standing fishing derby that will take over Onota Lake this weekend to benefit the Jimmy Fund.
The 24th annual Harry A. Bateman Memorial Jimmy Fund Fishing Derby promises to draw hundreds to the lake for fishing and fun from 6 a.m. to noon Saturday.
Steven M. Bateman, son of the derby's namesake, typically starts planning the derby six months in advance.
"To be honest, I thought about walking away from it back in 2003," Bateman said. "My buddy and my wife said, 'You can't stop.' They were right."
He added, "Everybody enjoys this. Now I've got people who came as kids bringing their kids. They keep coming back, and that's why I keep doing it."
The derby has raised more than $25,000 raised for the Jimmy Fund over the years.
Harry Bateman passed away on Aug. 26, 1992, after a battle with cancer. He was well known in Berkshire County as a former member of Berkshire County Jimmy Fund Council, Central Berkshire Bowman and I.U.E. Local 255.
Many trophies and prizes will be up for grabs at the tournament. Trout, salmon, largemouth bass, pike and pickerel fall into one category, and smaller fish like yellow perch and pumpkinseed, another.
Also, there's always a chance a bowfisher could wrangle a carp, by far the biggest fish the lake has to offer. It doesn't happen every year, but carp are presently spawning, making it more likely.
"There's a good chance of a carp showing up on Saturday," Bateman said.
The day's top prize, to be raffled off, is an Orvis fly fishing rod and reel worth roughly $700.
No fishing license is required at the derby because it falls on Free Fishing Weekend for the state of Massachusetts. The entry fee will cost $10 for adults and $5 for children 14 years old and younger, including food and beverages. No alcohol is served at this event.
Stephen Gingras and Rick Gelaznik of the Onota Fishing Club assist Bateman in organizing the derby.
Bateman recently received the Berkshire County League of Sportsmen's Lifetime Achievement Award for organizing and running this derby.
Contact Phil Demers at 413-496-6214.
If you go ...
What: 24th annual Harry A Bateman Jimmy Fund Fishing Derby
When: 6 a.m. to noon Saturday
Where: Onota Lake in Burbank Park
Cost: Adults, $10; Children, $5
Registration: At Frank Controy Pavilion