Derby kids day was a fun fish bouillabaisse
When it comes to cooking up the annual Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby's one-day free fishing contest for kids, the ingredients for success are pretty well known.
Take a sunny, calm September morning; bring a couple of hundred enthusiastic kids holding fishing poles just before the crack of dawn to a boil by making them wait behind a rope on the Oak Bluffs Steamship Authority pier for the clock to strike 6 am; provide varying amounts of squid, clams and sand eels for bait; and add bluefish, skates, fluke, scup and lots of sea bass to the mix: Bon appétit!
Every year the Derby committee and the Steamship Authority get together so that any kid can experience the fun of fishing the Derby. The boatline opens up the pier in the early morning and allows fishing until 9 am, the only day of the year it is permitted. And the Derby provides lots of prizes for all age groups.
On Sunday, long-time Derby committee member and kids day chairman Cooper "Coop" Gilkes was on the pier. As usual he had made sure there was plenty of fresh bait and fishing equipment. Committee members Ed Jerome, Janet Messineo, John Custer and a host of others assisted those who needed a hand in the finer points of fishing. And everyone had a great time.
Coop said the committee members have the event "down pat" and that is what makes it so smooth and such a success. "It was one of our best," he said from the perspective of more than 30 years of experience in good weather and bad. "The kids were great and the weather and fish gods smiled on us. We had a sea bass run. We had a scup run, so it was cool."
Coop said that later that morning a number of parents stopped into Coop's, his tackle shop on Edgartown Road, to personally thank him for such a good time. He said the parents did not realize that fishing with the kids could be so much fun.
"I get the biggest kick out of the kids," Coop said. "To have the parents come over here to thank us, that's what it's all about.
Kids Day Derby Results
Grand overall winner: Cary Morotan-Straton, age 7, 17-inch bluefish.
Through 8 years old: 1. Carly Uva, 7, 15-inch sea bass; 2. Nathaniel Packer, 8, 14-inch sea bass; 3. Frank Grey, 7,14-inch scup.
9-11 years old: 1. Ricardo Andre, 9, 16.75-inch skate; 2. Ethan Donovan, 11, 13.75-inch scup; 3. Devan Metters, 10, 12.75-inch scup.
12-14 years old: 1. Heidi White, 12, 14-inch fluke; 2. Tom O'Shaughnessy, 12, 13.25-inch sea bass; 3. Jill Allen, 12, 13-inch sea bass.