By MARK ALAN LOVEWELL
Already this fall one Island angler has won a brand-new pickup truck for a huge striped bass he caught and the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby isn’t over yet.
That’s because he caught it in a different contest.
Morgan Taylor, 24, of Edgartown last week won the Angler of the Year Award in the annual Striper Cup, sponsored and run by the monthly publication On the Water. Mr. Taylor won the award for a 52-pound striped bass he caught from the shore way back in June.
The Cup is an entirely different fishing contest. The emphasis is entirely on striped bass, with the contest running from May 1 to Sept. 16. The fishing contest was open to anglers from Maine to New Jersey. The awards ceremony together with StriperFest was attended by hundreds at the Harpoon Brewery in Boston this past Sunday.
There was also a drawing for a new Toyota pickup truck, using the 10 top winners, and Mr. Taylor won the truck. This may seem familiar, but it is an entirely different kind of contest than the Vineyard’s fall derby.
When Mr. Taylor caught his 52-pound striped bass, he ended up leading the fishing tournament for the month of June. The drawing involved taking the name of the fisherman who caught the largest striped bass from shore and striped bass from boat for each of the five months that the contest was held.
“My goal was to win the Angler of the Year,” Mr. Taylor said on Wednesday, as it reflects the heaviest fish in the contest. But he didn’t think his name would be picked in the drawing for the truck.
Mr. Taylor was a member of a Martha’s Vineyard Surfcasters Association fishing team. He said he caught the record striped bass at 1:30 on a Sunday morning from the shore. “It was the biggest striped bass I have ever caught,” he said.
He once caught a bigger fish, a 463-pound blue marlin. “That was a long time ago,” he said.
For fishermen seeking the big fish, Mr. Taylor offers familiar advice: “Put the time in.” But he adds another thought: “Pay attention to the details.”
Mr. Taylor said he has fished on the Island for six years and been a charter fishing captain for two.
Mr. Taylor’s success in the tournament makes a statement not only about top anglers. It also says a lot about good fishing in Vineyard waters. Mr. Taylor said last year’s Angler of the Year was Pat Toomey of Edgartown.
The recreational season for bay scallops is here in many towns. The season opened in Edgartown and Chilmark on Monday. Recreational family fishermen are limited to a one-gallon wash basket per week. The bag limit in Chilmark is half a bushel per week.
Chilmark selectmen, following the advice of their shellfish constable Stanley Larsen, are keeping Quitsa Pond and Stonewall Pond closed to scalloping to protect next year’s seed. There is also an area crossing Chocker’s Creek to the south that is closed. Details are available at the town hall.
Tisbury and Oak Bluffs will likely have the same starting dates as in years past. Oak Bluffs selectmen will likely approve the season schedule at their Tuesday night meeting. Following the recommendations of their shellfish constable, Tisbury selectmen approved the dates at their meeting last Tuesday night.
Tisbury selectmen approved opening the recreational season on Saturday, Oct. 13 for outside of the ponds. The interior waters will open on Saturday, Nov. 3 with a limit of one bushel per week.
In Oak Bluffs, the shellfish committee is proposing that the recreational season open outside the ponds on Oct. 13. The family season will open on Saturday, Oct. 20.
Lagoon Pond will open for family on Saturday, Nov. 3. Fishermen are allowed one bushel a week.
The commercial seasons are as follows: Edgartown begins on Thursday, Nov. 1 with a bag limit of three 10-gallon wash baskets per day.
The commercial season in Tisbury has different opening dates for inshore and offshore waters. The waters outside of the ponds open Monday, Oct. 15. The opening date for the ponds, which include Lake Tashmoo and Lagoon Pond, will be Monday, Nov. 5. Tisbury fishermen are limited to three level bushels per day.
The Oak Bluffs commercial season opens in the town’s outer waters on Monday, Oct. 15; in Sengekontacket Pond on Monday, Oct. 22; and Lagoon Pond on Monday, Nov. 5. The fishermen are limited to three struck bushels a day in the ponds. Their limit can be as high as five bushels a day if they fish the waters outside of the ponds.
The start of the Aquinnah bay scallop season is still far too far away to pinpoint opening dates. The Aquinnah shellfish committee will meet next Friday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. to discuss a season. Brian (Chip) Vanderhoop, shellfish constable, is recommending that the recreational season open in mid-October, when the water is cooler.
Unsafe Fishing Boat
The U.S. Coast Guard boarded a a fishing boat three miles southwest of the Vineyard on Tuesday and found that the boat lacked enough safety equipment. Crewmen from the 87-foot patrol boat Hammerhead, out of Woods Hole, boarded the vessel, called Corvo II, out of New Bedford.
The fishing boat had a crew of four, but only three survival suits were onboard. There was no other safety personal floation devices aboard. The vessel was escorted back to New Bedford by a vessel from Menemsha Coast Guard.
No Whippoorwill Race
There will be no annual Whippoorwill Yacht and Rocket Club model sailboat race on Sunday in Aquinnah as in past years. Organizer Craig (Spa) Tharpe said his crew of volunteers are taking this year off.
Each year the event has drawn dozens of model boat builders, all competing for prizes. It is usually held on the Sunday of Columbus Day weekend. All sailboats are handmade and powered exclusively by the wind.
Mr. Tharpe said this doesn’t preclude anyone from taking their model sailboat to Red Beach and trying to go for a sail with others. It might be fun, but probably not as fun as the full event.