At Monday night’s weigh-in for the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, a couple checked out the Grand Slam whiteboard, which noted the anglers who’d caught one of all four fish species. At the time, there were more juniors than adults on the board. One slam had been recorded earlier that night, when seven-year-old Zak Potter brought in a striped bass to complete his slam. And the heaviest slam thus far had been caught by 12-year-old Dylan Kadison.

“The juniors are killing them,” the man said.

 The kids are all right, at least as far as this year’s derby is concerned.

The slam leaderboard evened out later in the week when Dylan’s father David took over the top spot. But it’s been a good year for the 14-and-under set in this year’s tournament. Weigh station staffer Amy Coffey said she’s noticed kids getting hooked — as it were — on the derby at a younger age. And the mini-junior group, for kids ages four to eight, is holding its own, too.

Quinn and Grady Keefe head to Menemsha every day after school. — Ivy Ashe

One mini junior, seven-year-old Mason Warburton, has held the top spot since the second day of the derby for his boat-caught false albacore. But this is not just for the junior division. Mason is the grand leader for boat albies.

“It was pretty big, like the size of all the way up to my neck, and it weighed 13 pounds,” Mason said of his fish.

The fish weighed 13.17 pounds — decimals can make a big difference in the derby.

Mason has fished the derby for three years. He said that this year he learned how to fight fish while standing up. That came in handy when he had the albie on the line.

“It took a long time to get it in,” Mason said. “When it got to the boat it was barely even alive.”

Zak Potter, age 7, has earned a grand slam this year. — Ivy Ashe

Mason’s little sister Aubrey, age five, is fishing in her first derby. She already has four daily pins, she said.

“I learned how to reel fast,” Aubrey said.

“I was doing good when the derby started,” seven-year-old Grady Keefe said. “But then I got bumped.” No matter. He and his brother Quinn, age 13, are out every day fishing the Menemsha shoreline, arriving just after school’s out and staying until sunset.

“We’ve been out here for two hours now just seeing fish and not catching them,” Quinn said on a Tuesday, as he and his brother cast from the floating dock into a school of unreceptive albies.

Quinn landed an 8.85 false albacore this week to put him in first place for junior shore-caught albies. He caught a 9.3 pound albie from a boat, and is now going for a boat grand slam. Last year, Quinn made his grand slam with an hour left in the derby.

Juniors rule, adults drool. — Ivy Ashe

Sometimes he’ll go out in the morning before school, he said, but he’s more comfortable “now that I got my big fish.” All he needs is a striper to complete the slam.

The juniors and mini-juniors know what every seasoned pro knows — you have to put in your time. You have to pick a spot, Grady Keefe advised, and really stay with it. It helps to use fresh bait, like eels, Zak Potter said.

When the kids bring their winners in, there are two paths they take to get to the weigh station, Ms. Coffey said. Either the catch is hidden in a cooler awaiting a grand reveal, she said, or “they are dragging that thing in from the parking lot.”

In 2005, 12-year-old Molly Fischer’s massive 49.22 striped bass earned her a spot on the stage at the end of the contest. Four years later, Wyatt Jenkinson’s 9.71 bonito landed him onstage, too. In 2007, Chris Morris, then 13, won it all, landing the biggest shore bluefish and then having his key fit the lock in the random draw determining the overall winner. Chris still fishes from the boat he won that day.

Occasionally there are doubters, people who don’t believe that a kid could really catch the big one.

“It drives me crazy when people think these kids didn’t catch these fish,” Ms. Coffey said. One year, she said, a junior’s grandmother wrote letters to the newspaper denouncing the doubters. It’s not in keeping with the derby spirit to provide “help.” It’s about sportsmanship, not winning.

The commitment to sportsmanship was behind a recent Facebook posting on the derby’s page, discouraging parents from taking their kids out of school to fish.

“It is unsportsmanlike to do so when all other juniors are attending school,” the post read. But all bets are off after school and on weekends, too. The junior entries swell noticeably during Saturday and Sunday weigh-ins.

“It doesn’t really matter each year if you win a trophy, it matters if you have fun,” Mason Warburton said. “If you get a big fish, you get a big fish. And if you don’t get a big fish, you don’t get a big fish.”