Kids Trout Derby is Saturday

Grace Cotton, age 9, holds up her first-place-winning 16-inch trout at the derby last year. — Stacey Rupolo

The 44th annual Martha’s Vineyard Rod and Gun Club Kids Trout Derby will be held at Duarte’s Pond off Lambert’s Cove Road in West Tisbury, this Saturday morning, May 5 — rain or shine.

Fishing begins at first light, around 5:30 am, and depending on weather and the attention span of the young anglers, it will finish up around 8:30 am.
The first light bite is the big one. We get the kids started as soon as we feel it’s safe to start fishing,” Cooper Gilkes, chairman of the Rod and Gun Club, told The Times.

The Rod and Gun Club pays to stock the pond before the event every year. This year, they’ve released a massive “Moby trout” into the pond. “He’s over 10 pounds. He’s the real deal,” Gilkes said.

This will be the first year the tourney will be live bait only, no lures.

The Rod and Gun Club provides bait, hot dogs imported from Florida, doughnuts, hot chocolate, 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 Rod and Gun 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 will be plenty of volunteers on hand to assist.

“There’s a tangle table with volunteers if any parents have a problem with their kid’s gear,” Gilkes said.

The Trout Derby 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.

Stripers are back

In other important fishing business, Gilkes said reports started coming in last week of the first striped bass of 2018 being caught at the great pond openings. “I heard they caught a few. In about a week, we should see them showing up in numbers,” he said.