Five-year-old Wyatt Nicholson was among the top winners of the 37th annual Martha’s Vineyard Rod and Gun Club trout tournament held Saturday morning at Duarte’s Pond in West Tisbury. The young fisherman caught the biggest trout, an 18 3/4-inch rainbow, which put him into first place. The Oak Bluffs youngster, accompanied by his father, Caleb, fished early in the morning and also caught a 17-inch fish. For his efforts he won a brand-new bicycle, fishing rod and trophy.
More than 220 children aged 14 and under participated. The day was sunny and calm. Fishing began at 5:15 a.m. and was over by 8 a.m.
Many fish were caught early.
“Where is Mo?” asked Cooper A. Gilkes 3rd, a tackle shop owner and chairman of the event as he came out of the tent and greeted some of the youngest of anglers. Mr. Gilkes was referring to a 19-inch brook trout still in the pond. Mo was among hundreds of trout that were released into the pond over the last several days.
By just after 6:30 a.m., the doughnuts were gone. By 7 a.m. grill master Ed Belisle, assisted by Phil Upham, was serving up hot dogs to parents and children alike. Where can you get a grilled hot dog with your first cup of coffee? Only at the annual trout tournament.
The tube steaks were a key motivator for Audrey Polleys, a young angler who caught one of the biggest fish in the tournament. Her dad, Jonathan Polleys, said Audrey wasn’t so enthusiastic about going to bed early the night before.
“I said to her, if you go to bed early, we can get up and you can have a hot dog for breakfast,” he said. Audrey was hooked. She not only had her hot dog at dawn, but won a trophy for her pickerel, the second largest caught in the contest.
Rick Schifter of Chappaquiddick and Washington, D.C., could have won the prize for best effort. He brought his granddaughter, Marin Thebault, six, of New York city, on a specially scheduled early morning Chappy ferry. Marin lost interest in fishing, and at 7:30 a.m. grandfather and granddaughter were found by the banks of the pond near a blooming shadbush, reading aloud from Day of the Dragon King by Mary Pope Osborne. By the end of the contest, they had finished the 68-page book.
An awards ceremony was held under a yellow and white tent. Top winners in each category took home a new bicycle.
All participants received free tickets to the Flying Horses Carousel.
The results are as follows:
Grand overall winners: largest trout, Wyatt Nicholson, age five, 18 3/4 inches; largest fish of any other species, Isabella Levy, age four, 19 1/4-inch pickerel.
Winners eight and under: 1, Audrey Polleys, age five, 17 7/8-inch pickerel; 2, Carley Uva, age eight, 15 3/4-inch trout; 3, Jack Hayden, age five, 14 3/4-inch trout.
Winners nine to 11: 1, Brendon Morris, age 10, 14-inch trout; 2, Moushe Oliveira, age 9, 13-inch trout; 3, Anthony Cimeno, age 11, 12 3/4-inch trout.
Winners, 12 to 14: 1, Grant Santos, age 14, 17-inch pickerel; 2, Tony Canha, age 14, 16-inch trout; 3, Ryan Uva, age 13, 15 1/4-inch trout.