May 6 marks the 43rd annual Kids Trout Derby

0
Kyle Peters was one of the more successful fishermen in a previous year's derby. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

The 43rd annual Martha’s Vineyard Rod and Gun Club Kids Trout Derby kicks off at first light, about 5:30 am, at Duarte’s Pond off Lambert’s Cove Road in West Tisbury on Saturday morning, May 6 — rain or shine. Depending on weather and the attention span of the many young fishermen, it will finish up about 8:30 am.

The Rod and Gun Club provides plenty of trout, hot dogs, doughnuts, hot chocolate, and prizes for the kids, and strong coffee for the adults, many of whom will get moving well before dawn to assist the youngsters.

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, because there are plenty of volunteers willing to assist.

The club will stock the pond with hundreds of trout.

“We have some big ones coming in this year,” Cooper “Coop” Gilkes of Edgartown, the longtime tournament chairman, told The Times. “We’re naming the biggest one Charlie; he’s around eight pounds. He’s a brute.” The trout was named after a large striped bass that used to frequent the waters under Big Bridge.

The pond will be stocked on Wednesday, May 3, and Mr. Gilkes 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’s Bait and Tackle at 508-627-3909.