Kids trout tourney returns

The annual Kids Trout Tournament returns to Duarte's Pond after a two year hiatus. -MV Times

Parents, it’s time to stock up on coffee — you’re going to need it.

The Martha’s Vineyard Rod and Gun Club Kids Trout Tournament, which begins at first light, returns on Saturday, April 9, to Duarte’s Pond in West Tisbury, according to a press release.

The tournament, which has been a traditional rite of passage for Island youngsters for almost five decades, was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cooper (“Coop”) Gilkes of Edgartown, the longtime tournament chairman, said he’s looking forward to seeing lots of kids holding fishing rods around the pond again.

The tournament is being held about four weeks earlier than in past years to avoid weeds that clog the pond as the water warms, Gilkes said in the release. The tourney is paid for by the club with the assistance of donations from contributors.

According to the release, the club has arranged to stock the pond with hundreds of trout a few days before the derby. Gilkes asked that fishermen, young and old, not take advantage of the stocking before the Saturday morning event.

With the support of many volunteers and contributors, the club provides trout, doughnuts, hot dogs, worms, hot chocolate (coffee for adults), and prizes. The annual free fishing event kicks off rain or shine, at first light, approximately 5:45 am. It is open to any child 14 years old and younger. Depending on the weather and the attention span of the many young fishermen, it will finish up at about 9 am, the release states.

Gilkes advised parents to make sure the kids have rain gear in the event of bad weather, and to dress the kids warmly.

Prizes will be awarded in numerous categories and age groups. For more information or to volunteer, call Gilkes at 508-627-3909.