The 57th annual Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby began Wednesday without a hitch. Brendan Langley, the weigh master, was dressed for the ordeal of weighing in each of the four species of fish: striped bass, bluefish, false albacore and bonito. When the weigh-in headquarters opened at 8 a.m. fishermen were already standing outside. In 15 minutes all four species of fish had made an appearance on the scale.
Peter West, 69, of Edgartown was first across the threshold. He carried in a 10.29-pound bluefish he caught from a boat. Mr. West is an old Vineyard salt. He has memories of fishing in the earliest derbies as a child. His father, Richard, and his uncle, Percy, were avid anglers. "I remember fishing with Dad in the 1950s," Mr. West said.
Mr. West caught his fish at Tom's Shoal, off Wasque. He went in his 25-foot Wellcraft boat, called From Russia With Love.
"Tom's Shoal is a favorite spot," he said. He fished with a plastic deep water lure.
It was appropriate that Mr. West's first fish for the derby was a bluefish. "My father used to fish in his 26-foot catboat, Ann," he said. "We'd go trolling off Cape Pogue. I remember my father stopping the boat. He said, ‘I can smell bluefish.' And we would fish and catch bluefish. He could smell the air. Bluefish smell like watermelon."
The second fish weighed in at headquarters was a 14.90-pound striped bass caught from shore by Dan Keniston of Vineyard Haven. Last year, Mr. Keniston also was the second fisherman to weigh in a fish. Last year's fish was a 22.93-pounder, bigger than this year. Mr. Keniston's striped bass earned him a daily third prize.
Adam G. Cummings, 28, of Vineyard Haven came in right behind Mr. Keniston with a fish that would put him on the board. Mr. Cummings caught a 29.48-pound striped bass from a kayak while fishing off Squibnocket. Mr. Cummings is an Edgartown attorney. He said he has spent a lot of time this late summer pursuing fish. His boat striper earned him a third place.
Mr. Langley put the heavy fish on the scale and watched the digital numbers appear on the screen. Mr. Langley is filling in for his father, Roy, who is on vacation. "He is in Paris on a second honeymoon," Mr. Langley said, but we'll be back.
This year's official weigh masters are Charlie Smith and Roy Langley.
Martha Smith, Charlie's wife, is running the derby headquarters again, as she has for years. On Wednesday morning, the scene at the weigh-in station was like a family reunion. All the faces were familiar, and derby chairman David Pothier was on hand answering questions.
The derby fillet station was all new, with an attractive mahogany stand donated by Dan Eber. Thousands of pounds of fresh fillets will be donated to the Island's senior citizens, through the local councils on aging. Mike Harrold of Oak Bluffs was ready for the first donated fish with a set of brand new knives.
Derby fishermen were interviewed and the data about their fish was entered into a new iPod, a Macintosh computer. Mr. Pothier said the new computer would take some time to get used to, but that in the days ahead they will have the capacity to handle a lot more fishermen by using two stations. He said derby results will be posted on the web site www.mvderby.com shortly after 10 p.m. every night for the length of the derby.
More than 2,000 fishermen are expected to compete in the month-long contest that continues daily through Saturday, Oct. 19. Registration costs $40 for all-tackle and flyrod divisions. Senior citizens and junior fishermen are charged $15 to participate.
Tomorrow morning the Island's youngest fishermen will gather before sunrise at the Oak Bluffs Steamship Authority wharf for the annual Kids Mini Derby. The contest is free and open to all youngsters 14 years of age and younger. There are prizes, and fish are expected to participate. Lines go in the water at 6 a.m.
"I love seeing the kids' faces when they catch a fish. It doesn't matter what kind of fish," said Mr. Pothier.
The three-hour contest is sponsored by the derby and the Martha's Vineyard Co-operative Bank, Okuma and the law firm Jackson, Lewis, Schneitzler and Krupman. There will be a team of volunteers to make sure that all goes well.
Fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers - whole families - show up to compete; an angler can catch any kind of fish he wants and be a possible winner. In years past, young fishermen have left with prizes for having caught fluke, sea bass, tautog, scup, crabs and even lobsters. Of course, if they catch a striped bass, bluefish, bonito or false albacore there is a lot of hoopla with that.
Organizers are committed to seeing the spirit of fishing passed on in a fun-filled morning. An awards ceremony will take place at 9 a.m., and top fishermen will earn fishing gear. The fisherman with the largest scup will get it mounted free by Janet Messineo of Island Taxidermy Studio in Vineyard Haven.
Derby results: All tackle boat bonito: 1, David C. Kadison, 8.11; 2, Patrick T. Jenkinson, 7.42; 3, Sidney Hutter, 7.35; 4, Don T. MacGillivray, 6.75. Shore bonito: 1, Abe Williams, 4.51. Boat bluefish: 1, Thomas Langman, 14.63; 2, Steve Gentle, 12.98; 3, Kevin E. Peters, 12.86; 4, Nickolas W. Peters, 12.16. Shore bluefish: 1, Pete J. Pate, 15.07; 2, Ed C. Amaral, 8.24; 3, Mark S. Bryant, 5.08; 4, Paul H. Cormier, 4.82.
Boat striped bass: 1, Robert Heger, 35.96; 2, Ed Clermont, 33.36; 3, Adam G. Cummings, 29.48; 4, John Belmore, 28.34. Shore striped bass: 1, Cole P. Powers, 24.08; 2, Edward J. Jerome, 15.16; 3, Dan Keniston, 114.90; 4, Andre B. Bonnell, 13.94. Flyrod boat bonito: 1, Thor Farrish, 6.17. Flyrod boat bluefish: 1, Ken Barracchinni, 13.61; 2, Thor Farrish, 12.70; 3, Mark W. Jones, 9.11; 4, Mo J. Flaherty, 8.11.
Junior boat bluefish: 1, Cody J. Brewer, 9.00; 2, Max A. Davies, 4.78; 3, Ruby R. Hoy, 4.72. Mystery prize: bluefish Mark S. Bryant, bonito Vladimir Mirnov, striped bass Edwin B. Gentle 3rd; flyrod, Mark W. Jones and junior all tackle Max A. Davies.
All tackle boat bonito: 1, Edward J. Lepore, 6.74; 2, Walter S. Wlodyka, 6.60; 3, Vincent J. Hilliard, 6.11; 4, Steve J. Baccelli, 5.97. Shore bonito: 1, Mark L. Sauer, 4.97; 2, Walter S. Wlodyka, 4.51.
Boat bluefish: 1, Carl P. Sherr, 11.92; 2, Frank Bioteau, 10.50; 3, Chris M. Kenny, 10.05; 4, John S. Rowan Jr., 10.01. Shore bluefish: 1, Leonard J. Normandin, 7.82; 2, Chad Cabral, 5.65; 3, Melvin Vincent, 5.17; 4, Tom E. Norton, 4.71.
Boat striped bass: 1, Capt. Buddy Vanderhoop, 36.32; 2, Robert C. Smith, 19.69; 3, Mark J. Campos, 4, Sardar R. Thanhauser, 17.55. Shore striped bass: 1, Eli J. Bonnell, 18.79; 2, Abram N. Williams Jr., 18.21; 3, Abe Williams, 16.81; 4, Simon G. Etherington, 15.37.
Flyrod boat bonito: 1, Chris Jones, 4.86. Flyrod boat bluefish: 1, Chris Jones, 4.86. Flyrod boat bluefish: 1, Bob Page, 12.93; 3, Jamie H. Boyle, 8.06. Flyrod shore bluefish: 1, Wilson L. Kerr, 3.40; 2, Gary A. Mirando, 3.29; Flyrod boat striped bass: 1, Art E. Crago, 11.93. Flyrod shore striped bass: 1, Thomas J. Spina, 18.19.
Junior all tackle boat bluefish: 1, George M.C. LLoyd, 3.61; 2, Nick Jerome, 3.32. Junior all tackle shore bluefish: 1, Asa P. Bernard, 3.87. Junior shore striped bass: 1, Keira R. Mercier, 18.33.
Mystery prize winners: bluefish Chad Cabral; bonito Lucas R. Mercier, striped bass Abram N. Williams Jr. flyrod Thomas J. Spina, Junior George M C. Lloyd.
Derby Leaders to Date
Boat striped bass: 1, Capt. Buddy Vanderhoop, 36.32; 2, Robert Heger, 35.96; 3, Ed Clermont, 33.36. Shore striped bass: 1, Cole P. Powers, 24.08; 2, Eli J. Bonnell, 18.79; 3, Abram N. Williams Jr., 18.21. Boat bonito: 1, David C. Kadison, 8.11; 2, Patrick T. Jenkinson, 7.42; 3, Sidney Hutter, 7.35. Shore bonito: 1, Mark L. Sauer, 4.97; 2, Abe Williams, 4.51; 3, Walter S. Wlodyka, 4.51.
Boat bluefish: 1, Thomas Langman, 14.63; 2, Steve Gentle, 12.98; 3, Kevin E. Peters, 12.86. Shore bluefish: 1, Pete J. Pate, 15.07; 2, Ed C. Amaral, 8.24; 3, Leonard J. Normandin, 7.82.
Boat false albacore: 1, Mike D. Ludwig, 9.13; 2, Robert J. Baum, 8.51; 3, Tom R. Barlosky, 8.41. Shore false albacore: 1, John H. Bunker, 8.58; 2, Dennis R. Gough, 8.30; 3, Keith A. Maciel, 8.29.
Flyrod boat striped bass: 1, Art E. Crago, 11.93. Flyrod shore striped bass: 1, Thomas J. Spina, 18.19. Flyrod boat bonito: 1, Thor Farrish, 6.17; 2, Chris Jones, 4.86. Flyrod boat bluefish: 1, Ken Barracchinni, 13.61; 2, Bob Page, 12.93; 3, Thor Farrish, 12.70. Flyrod shore bluefish: 1, Wilson L. Kerr, 3.40; 2, Gary A. Mirando, 3.29. Flyrod boat false albacore: 1, Jim A. Moineau, 7.87; 2, George T. Tucker, 7.39; 3, Thomas J. Rapone, 6.95. Flyrod shore false albacore: 1, Wilson L. Kerr, 7.92; 2, Theresa Henriksen, 7.68; 3, Timothy B. Bousum, 7.44.
Junior shore striped bass: 1, Keira R. Mercier, 18.33. Junior boat bluefish: 1, Cody J. Brewer, 9.00; 2, Max A. Davies, 4.78; 3, Ruby R. Hoy, 4.72. Junior shore bluefish: 1, Asa P. Bernard, 3.87.
Junior striped bass (Mini Juniors): 1, Keira R. Mercier, 18.33. Junior boat bluefish (Mini Juniors): Max A. Davies, 4.78. Junior shore bluefish (Mini Juniors): 1, Asa P. Bernard, 3.87.