Children from across the Island were bundled in puffy coats and blankets at Duarte’s Pond in West Tisbury early Saturday morning as they awaited nibbles on their fishing lines and a shot at taking home a prize in the annual Kids Trout Tournament.

Nearly 100 children ages 3 to 14 and their families rose before the sun to participate in the tournament, now in its 49th year. Some even arrived as early as 3:30 a.m. to scope out a perfect fishing spot beside the pond. Lines were cast at first light around 5:45 a.m.

The event was run by Edgartown tackle shop owner Cooper Gilkes, his wife Lela Gilkes and the Martha’s Vineyard Rod and Gun Club.

The largest fish caught Saturday was an 18-inch pickerel. — Lisa Vanderhoop

“We’ve had [winning trout] up to 20 or 23 inches,” said Mr. Gilkes. “It’s the little [kids] who usually win it.”

As families checked in, children admired a display of blue and gold trophies and two brand-new bikes reserved for the anglers who caught the two largest fish.

Nine-year old Chloe Nivala arrived with her dad and four-year old sister at 4:30 a.m. to claim a space not far from the tournament registration and snack tent. This was her second year competing in the derby. She came up empty-handed last year but the hotdogs served in the tent, she said, keep her excited about getting up early to fish.

Ray Long, joined by his son Brendan Long and grandsons Dylan Long and Jacob Branca, was at the pond bright and early, too. He’s been coming to the tournament with family for more than 30 years.

Trout day is family day. — Lisa Vanderhoop

“I once won second place,” said Brendan, reminiscing about time with his dad in the tournament.

Dylan and Jacob, ages 5 and 8, were hoping to continue the family legacy and score trophies. But they agreed with their dad and grandfather that spending time with family is what makes the day so special.

The family fun would continue even after the competition, said Brendan, when the family would prepare eggs for an Easter hunt the next day.

“It’s a packed weekend,” he said.

Girl power. — Lisa Vanderhoop

Seven-year-old Tristan McDonald and his family were also planning some Easter festivities after a morning of fishing. For him, painting eggs and catching trout makes for a near-perfect weekend.

“I’m hoping for a really big fish,” he said. “But my toes are freezing.”

By 9 a.m. the pond was fully lit with sunshine and participants gathered around the awards table with their families.

Ty Arieta, age 9 and already a veteran of the tournament, caught the largest trout at 14.5 inches, earning him one of the bicycles.

Weather was perfect. — Lisa Vanderhoop

“So can I go ride the bike now?” he asked.

Unfortunately, the bikes there were much too large and only for display. He would have to wait before taking his prize for a spin.

Jax Millard, age 13, also took home an award for his pickerel that measured just over 18 inches. It was the largest fish of any species caught that morning.

Additional trophies were given by age group.

In the 3 to 8-year old category, Lathem Kurth, McCabe Neadow and Maple Kaeka were awarded first, second and third place for their trouts, all measuring longer than a foot.

Miles Maciel took home the prize for his 12-inch trout in the ages 9 to 11-year old category, and Connor Griegler won a trophy for his 11.5-inch trout for children ages 12 to 14.

Hardly anyone left empty-handed, though.

Participants who caught fish of any size were entered in a raffle. Many children left the pond sporting new trout T-shirts and carrying trout artwork and fishing gear.

Next year the tournament will celebrate its 50th anniversary.

“Next year is our big one,” said Mrs. Gilkes. “I’m sure we’ll plan something extra special.”

More pictures from the tournament.