As if a scene from a Mark Twain novel, the two boys sat on the banks of the Duck Pond, eyeing the surface of the water where the line waited for a tug.
The two boys came to the pond on May 11 as part of the annual kids' Fishing Derby. Abramwitz held his pole steady, but acknowledged the fact that a fish had escaped his hook.
"I pulled it up too fast," he lamented, drawing a nod from Masser, who said he thought it looked like a catfish. Waving his arms about to demonstrate the tug-of-war with the fish, Masser said the catfish "almost took" the bait.
Theirs and other young faces grinned and grimaced over the age-old battle between fishermen and fish, with some of the young fishermen and fisherwomen actually succeeding in catching a few. Anthony Tamborra, age 11, snagged a six-and-a-half-inch catfish early in the day.
The Duck Pond has been a popular spot for kids and adults for as long as many people can remember, although officially it was not a park site until its 1990 restoration. Many people who grew up on farms in the south end of Secaucus came to this spot to fish. During the height of development in the 1970s and 1980s, the 2.6-acre pond fell into disuse as warehouses hid it from view on two sides. For a time, people dumped trash and other unwanted items. In 1990, then Councilman Anthony Just - who had fished in the pond as a boy - helped forge an agreement for the town to lease the property from Hartz Mountain Industries for use as a park. Town workers went in, cleared out the trash, and dubbed the body of water "The Duck Pond" because of the number of ducks that lived there.
Each year since, the town had conducted an annual fishing derby.
Jillian Steuber, who turns 8 next month, and Noelle Gaffney, also 8, reported getting "a couple of nibbles," although they caught a few odd things such as branches. Gaffney also took an unintentional dip in the water, claiming the experience was "cold and swishy." A cruel fish also took her bait.
Jarrod Smeyers, at 4