Early Sunday morning, 5:30 a.m. to be exact, Hannah Gibb was the first to arrive at the Oak Bluffs ferry gate, ready to cast off the Steamship Authority wharf as part of the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby’s annual kids’ day, which kicked off at 6 a.m. Less than three hours later, the 12-year-old was accepting the first place award for her 17-inch black sea bass.

Rise and shine, anglers! The Steamship Authority wharf was full at sunrise Sunday for the kids' derby. — Lindsey Morris Provost

“I love it,” Hannah said of the hobby taught to her by her uncle. “Fishing is the best.” The young angler sported a blue derby hat decorated with derby pins going back to 2012.

Derby chairman John Custer estimated there were about 200 young anglers ages 14 and younger on the wharf Sunday morning, dropping their lines on either side of the pier hoping to catch a winning scup or bass as a bright orange sun rose over the harbor.

Leah deBettencourt, age 7, won the largest scup trophy presented by Island angler Janet Messineo. Leah's scup was 13.25 inches.

The award winners pose with derby chairman John Custer. — Alison L. Mead

While Hannah won the top prize for the largest fish of the day, other prizes were given out by age group. In the eight and younger group, Jackson Munson, 7, won first place for his 16.5-inch black sea bass. Jack Scarbrough, 5, came in second for a sea bass measuring 15 inches, and Leah deBettencourt, 7, was the third place winner with another 15-inch sea bass.

In the nine to 11 division, Henry Coogan, 9, had the top prize for a 16.5-inch sea bass. Eleven-year-old Chelsea Bouchard won second for a 16.5-inch fluke, and Riley Sylvia, 11, came in third for a 16-inch sea bass.

In the 12 to 14 group, William Herman, 14, weighed in a 15-inch sea bass to win first place. Jackson Pachico, 13, earned second place with a 12.75-inch scup, and Owen Steenkamp, 12, came in third with a 12.5-inch scup.

Kids' derby over, time to leave the Steamship Authority--and let the fishing continue. — Alison L. Mead

Whether kids caught a fish or not, they still left with prizes — a kids’ derby T-shirt and a gift certificate to Mad Martha’s.

“It’s a really fun morning,” said Lela Gilkes, who kept track of the statistics. “It’s a good family event and provides an opportunity to spend time together and introduce to them to fishing and the fun of the outdoors.”

For a few diehard anglers, the fun continued across the way at the Oak Bluffs fishing pier, where 10-year-old Linus Munn thought he had a line on the big one when his pole started bending towards the water. A small crowd gathered as he struggled to reel it in, only to lose it after a bit of a fight.

“That was crazy,” he said. “That was nuts. I couldn’t reel because it got jammed ­— it was really heavy.” Linus just missed being a winner at the kids’ derby with a scup that was three-fourths of an inch too short.

“It was seaweed, definitely,” said friend Sam Riley, age 11. “It didn’t put up a fight. If it was really a fish it would’ve been around 25 pounds.”

“What do you mean it didn’t put up a fight?” said Linus.

For Sam, taking advantage of the Sunday morning kids’ derby was much needed. “I only get to fish once a week because of school and hockey,” he said. “It’s really hard to get out there.”