By MARK ALAN LOVEWELL
The Island fishing season arrives in June. There are enthusiasts who will go out in April or May and catch some nice fish, but they are only preparing for what happens in June.
Now the striped bass and bluefish are here, along with fishing tournaments.
Four Vineyard fishing tournaments are scheduled this month and two of them are this weekend. They are the Pink Squid Yacht Club tournament and the Martha’s Vineyard Rod and Gun Club’s catch and release tournament.
Next weekend comes the John Havlicek Celebrity Fishing Tournament. Later this month there is the first-ever inter-Island shore fishing tournament, sponsored by the Martha’s Vineyard Surfcasters and the Nantucket Anglers Club.
The 11th annual Pink Squid Yacht Club striped bass and bluefish tournament begins at 12:01 Saturday morning. While the emphasis is boat fishing, shore anglers who think they can compete with big boat fishermen are welcome to participate. Registration is $40 for anglers and $15 for kids. Money raised from the tournament goes for a good cause: the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Martha’s Vineyard.
Entry forms are in three Edgartown fish tackle shops: Larry’s Tackle Shop, Coop’s Bait and Tackle Shop and Capt. Porky’s Bait and Tackle Shop.
The weigh-in runs from noon to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and will be held at North Wharf, off North Water street. The town wharf is the familiar old waterfront home of Edgartown Marine. A barbecue at the site will follow the closing of the weigh-in and include an awards ceremony.
Peter (Rico) Robb is the chairman of the contest. Mr. Robb said attendance this year is expected to exceed 40 boats, more than last year when they raised only $4,500.
“I am looking for from 40 to 50 boats,” Mr. Robb said. The contest has a division for adults and one for children.
“I think the fishing just kicked in,” Mr. Robb said. “On Tuesday night, my friend Sam Kissler of Edgartown went out fishing off East Beach and did well. They caught and released three keeper-size striped bass,” Mr. Robb said. Captain Kissler operates a boat called Sea Saw.
The Pink Squid Yacht Club fishing tournament attracts a fleet of fishing boats from Osterville. They are a very good team of fishermen. Every year for several years, the anglers have come from the Cape and through their efforts have continued to win the club’s burgee. “We are going to win it back,” Mr. Robb said.
The awards ceremony will include a silent raffle. Mr. Robb said they’ve gotten a number of local and distant items. “I’ve got a lot of silent auction items, like tickets to the Late Show with David Letterman, along with hats and sweatshirts. I’ve got prints and art work from three Island artists: Ovid Ward, Meg Mercier and Margo Datz,” Mr. Robb said.
Don’t go looking for a Pink Squid Yacht Club building anywhere on the Vineyard. The organization resides in the minds of a group of mostly Edgartown fishermen and golfers. They formed the club with its first tournament on Memorial Day weekend 11 years ago. The club organizers thought it would be fun to pool their resources together for a fun, annual one-day event that would raise money for a good cause. Since that first year they’ve raised more than $60,000 for high school seniors. They also raised $25,000 for organizations that include the Martha’s Vineyard Arena, Vineyard youth football and Sail Martha’s Vineyard.
The club also has a fall golf tournament. They were one of the first fishing tournament organizations to have a Web site: pink-squid.org.
Tomorrow is the 17th annual Martha’s Vineyard Rod and Gun Club Striped Bass Fly Rod Catch and Release Tournament. In the past the fishing contest has attracted as many as 200 anglers.
Not a single fish is taken. All the fish in the contest are measured and released back into the sea. For the flyrod angler, there is not a better contest on the Island.
Registration is at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School cafeteria tomorrow from noon to 3 p.m. and costs $35. Even anglers who have already filed their registration by mail are required to check in. Anglers are paired for the competion and are charged with keeping track of the number of fish and their size. Lines go in the water at 7 p.m. and come out of the water by 2 a.m. Sunday morning.
Cooper A. Gilkes 3rd, chairman of the contest, is an avid recreational angler. He runs a tackle shop in Edgartown and has been with the contest since it started.
Fishermen come from all over to compete. In years past they’ve come from as far east as Europe and as far west as Hawaii.
The Vineyard shoreline is where the contestants compete. With so many flyfishermen on the Vineyard this weekend, they’ll be seen at the favorite Island fishing spots from Chappaquiddick to Aquinnah. Coastal pond openings like Sengekontacket, Lagoon Pond and Lake Tashmoo.
Anglers need to be reminded to be careful along the shoreline at Norton Point Beach, where there is plenty of moving water and the beach underfoot is quite changeable.
An awards ceremony for the flyfishing tournament will take place at the regional high school cafeteria starting at 9:30 a.m. Sunday.
The John Havlicek Celebrity Fishing Tournament takes place from Thursday, June 12, to Sunday, June 15. The event is now in its 27th year and it helps The Genesis Fund, an organization committed to helping children afflicted with birth defects, genetic diseases and mental retardation. So far the fund has raised $20 million. This contest helps the fund help the John Havlicek Child Development Clinic at the National Birth Defects Center in Waltham.
To participate in the contest and for more information, fishermen can get in touch with Rebecca Zielinski at 781-890-4282. Entry in the contest costs $3,300 and an additional guest costs $1,000.
Later this month, a group of spirited fishermen from the Vineyard and Nantucket will host the first Inter-Island Shore Fishing Tournament. The work is being done by the members within two respected fishing groups: the Martha’s Vineyard Surfcasters Association and the Nantucket Anglers Club. The contest will take place from June 20 to 22 and will be held on the Vineyard. Fishermen will pursue striped bass, bluefish and, if they are here, bonito and false albacore.
The event will rotate between the Islands each successive year and the dates will be determined by the host club and coordianted with the visiting club. This is strictly a shore fishing tournament. Here on the Vineyard, it is free to all members of the Martha’s Vineyard Surfcasters Association. The contest is for flyfishermen and conventional spinning reel anglers.
Charlie Barr of Oak Bluffs, a member of the surfcasters, is the Vineyard coordinator of the event. He invites all interested surfcasters wishing to participate in the contest to get in touch with him.
Mr. Barr, 72, grew up on Nantucket and resides on the Vineyard. He knows a lot of good anglers on Nantucket. “I graduated from Nantucket High School,” Mr. Barr said.
Anglers will get together for a group dinner on Friday, June 20 at the Ocean View Restaurant in Oak Bluffs. There will also be an awards event at The Look Out Tavern on Sunday, June 22 at noon.
The idea for the contest came from two men — one from Chappaquiddick, one from Nantucket — who had a lot to share not only about their Islands but in personal history. Victor Colantonio of Chappy and Scott Whitlock of Nantucket were both at the World Trade Center during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Surviving the experience not only cemented a friendship between the two men, it changed their outlook on life. The fishing tournament was created by them to celebrate what Nantucket and the Vineyard share in the sport of angling.