The threat of rain, drizzle and leaden skies did not diminish the Martha’s Vineyard Rod and Gun Club’s annual trout tournament held at Duarte’s Pond in West Tisbury last Saturday. In the early hours of morning, fishing was great and the youngsters caught plenty and saw only a few raindrops.
Ten-year-old Alexis Condon of Edgartown caught the largest fish, a 20 1/2 inch rainbow trout. Tayla Ben David, six, also of Edgartown, caught the largest pickerel, a 19-inch native resident of the pond. Both children each won a large trophy and a fitted bicycle.
Cooper A. Gilkes 3rd, chairman of the event, said he was pleased by the overall turnout, slightly down from last year. More than 150 young anglers not only caught trout that had been stocked in the pond only days before, but they also caught pickerel and quite a few native catfish. Four-year-old Zack Potter of Oak Bluffs caught and quickly released two turtles.
The first anglers showed up at the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank property to select their fishing spot at 3 a.m. Fishing began at 5:15. By 7:45 a.m. Ed Belisle and his assistant Phil Upham, both of Edgartown, had served 140 grilled hot dogs on rolls. And there were plenty more served to the end. There is not another event on the Island where you can get specialty hot dogs before most people are up for the day.
Fishing ended at 8:30 a.m. While there were many awards, all the anglers received a free ticket on the Flying Horses in Oak Bluffs and a free token for an ice cream treat at Dairy Queen.
Additional winners included first, second and third place for age groups. The winners are as follows:
Youngsters eight years old and younger: 1, Franchesca Carlos, 3, 14.5-inch pickerel; 2, Emmet Athearn, 8, 14-inch tiger trout; 3, Dylan Biggs, 8, 14-inch rainbow trout.
Fishermen nine years old to 14: 1, Peter Brooks, 10, 17.5-inch rainbow trout; 2, Haley Lecoq, 9, 16.25-inch rainbow trout; 3, Jackson Wojnowski, 9, 15.5-inch rainbow trout.
Fishermen aged 12 to 14: 1, Cameron Maciel, 13, 19-inch pickerel; 2, Jeremy Mercier, 14, 17 3/8-inch pickerel and Ryan Uva, 14, 16 3/4-inch brook trout.