Dozens of kids and parents arose before dawn Sunday morning to take part in the annual Kids Derby, a featured event of the 67th Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby. The contest is open to youngsters 4 to 14, and takes place at the Oak Bluffs Steamship Authority docks.
Eleven-year-old Benny McMann picked up the trophy for Biggest Scup with his 13.5 inch catch. Unlike the rules in the main Derby, fish are measured for length, not weight. However, Derby protocol is followed to break ties when two fish are the same length: the first fish reeled in wins the contest.
Aiden Rogers, 9, of Edgartown won the Grand Overall Prize, reeling in a 19.5-inch-long black sea bass. Judges at the measuring table joked that they were “going to need a longer ruler” to fully measure the fish.
Aiden caught the prize fish at the far end of the docks, using squid as bait, and planned to bring it to his uncle Tom, with whom he is also fishing in the Derby.
The best part of the Kids Derby, said longtime organizer Lela Gilkes, is “seeing the excitement on the youngsters’ faces.”
In the Under-8 Division, Christian Turner, 7, took first prize with a 17-inch black sea bass. Mason Mercier, 7, took second with his 15.5-inch fluke, and Azalea Thompson, 8, landed third place with her 15-inch black sea bass.
Ten-year-old Pibb Wright hooked a 15-inch black sea bass to take first in the 9 to 11 year old division, while Nathaniel Packer, 11, was second with his 14.5-inch black sea bass. Kaya Maloney, 10, also hooked a black sea bass (14 inches) to finish in third place.
In the 12 to 14 year-old division, Walter Greene, 12, came in first with a 13.5-inch scup, while Perry Bliss, 12, was second with a 13.25 inch black sea bass. Louis Newell, 13, was third with a 13.25 inch scup.