Fishing tourney jump-starts the season

Tom Robinson, of Vineyard Haven, releases a striped bass in this 2018 photo. This year's Martha's Vineyard Rod and Gun Club Fly Rod Striped Bass Catch and Release Tournament has been canceled.

The Island fishing season kicks off in earnest next week when the Martha’s Vineyard Rod & Gun Club hosts the 27th Fly-Rod Striped Bass Catch & Release Tournament the weekend of June 2 and 3.

“It’s shaping up to be a fun weekend of fishing,” Cooper “Coop” Gilkes of Edgartown, longtime tournament chairman, said. “We’ve got teams of fishermen coming from all over the place.”

Longtime participants agree that the one-night shore contest fosters the best qualities of the sport of fly fishing. You don’t have to catch fish to have a chance to win one of many prizes awarded based on a random drawing. 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 and ends at 2 am Sunday. The awards ceremony begins at 9:30 am, Sunday, June 3. The tournament headquarters and breakfast will be located at the Edgartown School off Edgartown–West Tisbury Road.

The entry fee is $35. For more information, call Cooper Gilkes at 508-627-3909, or go to