Annual Martha’s Vineyard Kids Trout derby is Saturday

Tysean Thomas, 5, and friend Kyle Peters, 6, had a trout of a time at the 2011 kid's trout derby. — File photo by Lynn Christoffers

After 38 years, the Martha’s Vineyard Rod and Gun Club knows something about how to run a trout derby for kids: provide plenty of trout, hot dogs, donuts, hot chocolate, prizes and fun. And oh yes, strong coffee for the adults, many of whom will get moving well before dawn this Saturday, May 5.

The 38th annual Martha’s Vineyard Rod and Gun Club Kids Trout Derby kicks off at first light rain or shine, about 5:30 am, at Duarte’s Pond off Lambert’s Cove Road in West Tisbury. Depending on weather and the attention span of the many young fishermen, it will finish up about 9 am.

The free fishing contest, paid for by the club with the assistance of generous contributors, has introduced generations of Islanders to the fun of a tug on the end of a fishing line. No experience is necessary on the part of kids or parents, Cooper “Coop” Gilkes of Edgartown, the long-time tournament chairman, said. There will be people who can help out those new to the intricacies of knots and worms. Coop advised parents to make sure the kids have rain gear in the event of bad weather.

The club has stocked the pond with hundreds of trout. Coop asked that fishermen, young and old, not take advantage of the stocking prior to the Saturday morning event.

The annual free fishing event is open to any child 14 years old and younger. Prizes will be awarded in numerous categories and age groups. For more information or to volunteer, call Coop at 508-627-3909.