The Martha’s Vineyard Rod and Gun Club has announced the cancellation of its 29th Fly Rod Striped Bass Catch and Release Tournament, scheduled for the evening of May 30.

“We’re really disappointed but it’s the right thing to do,” tournament chairman Cooper (Coop) Gilkes said in a media statement. “While it’s possible to fish safely, getting together for the breakfast and awards, which is part of the fun, would’ve put people at risk of infection.”

In the past, tournament organizers awarded plaques for the most fish caught and released by a team. This year, in a major shift, the contest was to be based on a fish quota and finish time, not the number of striped bass caught and released. Tournament organizers said the rules change was based on new concerns about catch-and-release mortality.

Anyone pre-registered for the tournament who has not received a refund is asked to contact the club at