A steady stream of kids walked back and forth across the Oak Bluffs Steamship Authority wharf, their hands delicately holding scup and sea bass wrapped in hand towels and rags. Fish caught at the annual kid’s derby day, a long-running part of the annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, are measured by length, and then returned to the sea.

One young girl carefully carried her catch to the edge of the wharf and let it fall into the water.

Excitement reigns at the measuring table for Victoria Dowling, age 6. — Jeanna Shepard

“Saved him,” she said, satisfactorily.

Wren Robertson, seven, pulled up a scup, had it measured and before tossing it back into the water, fed the scup a small minnow.

“It’s their consolation prize,” her mother Elizabeth Bonifacio said. “It’s how she says thank you to the fish for letting her catch them.”

Eric Fisher and baby Regan Fisher had come along as well. Baby Regan was more focused on eating cubes of zucchini bread than catching fish.

“She loves holding the pole, but she can’t reel it in,” said Ms. Bonifacio.

The pier was cloaked on Sunday morning in a heavy fog, casting soft gray light across the young fishers. Sweatshirts and cups of coffee were the ubiquitous accessories. Fishing began at 6 a.m. and wrapped up at 8 a.m. with some kids catching over a dozen fish, and others having a little less luck. It is the only day of the year the Oak Bluffs ferry wharf is open to fishing.

“I caught four fishies,” one young boy with freckles announced. “But they are all too small.”

Ava Vought, Alison Custer and Lily Sebastian find a perfect spot to fish together. — Jeanna Shepard

Weston Taylor, age six (almost seven), was fishing the kids derby for the first time with his mom, Carrie Fyler. Weston recently became interested in fishing, and peered into the water to watch fish approach his hook. He noticed the fish seemed to come near the hook when his mom was talking.

“Here fishy-fishy-fishy,” she called.

Next to Weston, Sabrina McArt, eight, and her dad Keith McArt from Melrose pulled up scup and black sea bass. Last year, Sabrina won the mini-bluefish shore division. Her father has been competing in the derby for 21 years, and Sabrina has joined him for her entire life.

While scup and sea bass were the most common catches, there were also flounder and a puffer fish caught by Liam O’Donnell.

Nate Kohler, age 7, was the grand overall winner with a 21-inch sea bass. — Jeanna Shepard

“I caught a crab,” one girl announced. Another girl responded that “Crabs don’t count.”

However, the volunteer fish measurers weren’t so sure. “Well, they counted a lobster one year,” said Bob Lane. “If it gets reeled in, it counts.”

The lobster was caught by Emma Lovewell, he said. The fish-measuring team has spent many years behind the fish measuring table. Janet Messineo said they are now measuring fish caught by the kids of people who used to compete in the kids derby day themselves.

“We’ve got at least two generations here,” she said.

Finnegan Hall, 4, with his dad, Louis Hall. — Jeanna Shepard

Asher Savva, eight, stood in line with a large scup with his step-dad, Mike Snowden. They had woken up at 4 a.m. for the kids derby and had caught around 10 fish.

A large flounder was pulled in and a young boy bounded across the pier to take a closer look at it.

“Daddy, that flounder was bigger than my head, bigger than your head,” he reported back. Just then, his rod jumped as a fish nibbled at the bait.

Derby president Ed Jerome estimated that 300 kids participated in the kids derby. Cooper Gilkes, co-founder, agreed. “It’s been a real good turnout,” he said.

The grand overall winner was Nate Kohler, age seven, with a 21-inch sea bass. Largest scup was won by Molly Sylvia, age 11, with a 14.5-inch scup.

More pictures.

Age group winners:

12-14: First place, Makayla Landers, age 12, 12-inch sea bass; second place, Jack McHale, age 12, 12-inch scup; third place, Brendon Wood, age 13, 11-inch sea bass.

9-11: First place, Paul Saucier, age 11, 14.5-inch sea bass; second place, Katie Ogden, age 11, 14-inch fluke; third place, Robert Simpkins, age 10, 13.5-inch sea bass.

0-8: First place, Anya Kohler, age four, 15.5-sea bass; second place, Drey Thomas, age 8, 14.5-inch fluke; third place, Chloe Cook, age seven, 14-inch sea bass.