Fly Rod Striped Bass Catch & Release Tournament set for June 3

Scott Patterson plays a striped bass while in the background terns dive on bait that schools of bass are driving to the surface. — Photo by Nelson Sigelman

Despite recent snow, Cooper “Coop” Gilkes of Edgartown said fly fishermen are already looking forward to the 26th annual Martha’s Vineyard Rod & Gun Club Fly Rod Catch & Release Tournament. “I started getting calls in December from guys who wanted to know the date of the tournament so they could make ferry reservations,” Coop, longtime tournament chairman, said. “We’ve got fishermen who wouldn’t miss it. It’s a great time.”

Fishermen who participate year after year agree that the one-night Island team fly-fishing contest fosters the best qualities of the sport of fly-fishing. One unique aspect is that irrespective of fishing success, tournament registrants present at the fun-filled Sunday-morning awards ceremony have a chance to win one of many great prizes awarded based on a random drawing of entry blanks. Winning fishermen receive plaques in one of three categories: The total number of fish of any size length caught and released by a team (Roberto Germani Trophy); the largest fish (length and girth) released by a fisherman (Sonny and Joey Beaulieu Trophy); and the most fish caught and released by a team in which members are not allowed to change flies (Arnold Spofford Trophy).

Fishing begins at 7 pm, Saturday, June 3, and ends at 2 am Sunday. The awards ceremony begins at 9:30 am, Sunday, June 4. This year, in a change of venue, the tournament headquarters and breakfast will be located at the Edgartown School, off Edgartown–West Tisbury Road.

The entry fee is $35. The money the tournament raises helps to provide trout for the club’s spring Kid’s Trout Derby, send two youngsters to Conservation Camp, and supports a day of fishing for Camp Jabberwocky campers.

For more information, call Cooper Gilkes at 508-627-3909 or go to