The top striped bass keep getting bigger and with two weeks to go in the 68th annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby so does the field. More than 2,600 fishermen are registered in the contest and more and more keep showing up.
“I’d be really pleased if we got over 3,000,” said derby chairman John Custer.
The contest ends on Saturday, Oct. 19.
Overall nearly 12,000 pounds of fish have been weighed in as of Thursday morning. Striped bass total 5,300.26 pounds and bluefish total 4,288.88 pounds.
The leading striped bass weighed in at 35.42 pounds. It was caught on Wednesday by Alexandra Lynch, a working mother of two elementary school children. There are 321 women registered in the contest.
Mrs. Lynch’s husband Duane is a charter fisherman and they live on Cuttyhunk. They were fishing in their boat, Lexi G., a 24-foot Privateer. Duane had held the lead as of Monday with a 34.68 pound striped bass caught from a boat before his wife bested him on Wednesday.
Mrs. Lynch told the Gazette that she and her husband wanted to fish together all summer but the business of life kept getting in the way. During the derby they fished three times in a row together before she got her derby leader. She said they fish the waters of Cuttyhunk and she used live menhaden as bait.
Getting the fish from Cuttyhunk to the derby weigh-in isn’t easy. Mrs. Lynch said they ran the boat to Menemsha and then borrowed Marshall Carroll’s pickup truck to get the fish to the Edgartown headquarters.
Knowing a 30-plus pound striped bass probably won’t stay at the top for long, Mrs. Lynch said she and her husband are plotting more trips together in the days ahead.
While there have been other changes in the leader board, Daniel Hiemer of Germany still leads the boat-caught bluefish category with a 19.69 pound blue he caught on Sunday, Sept. 22. The second place blue this year is almost four pounds less. In fact, there hasn’t been a larger bluefish caught since Abram Williams reeled in a 20.58 pounder in 1998.
Last weekend derby fishermen and organizers created a recognition event for kayak anglers. The Kayak Challenge was a way to recognize the brave anglers who go fishing for the big one in one of the smallest of boats. Only two anglers, however, were able to bring in a fish during the special weekend event, said Mr. Custer. “It is tough fishing in a kayak,” Mr. Custer said.
Registration can be done at any Island tackle shop. The cost is $50. Registration is $25 for senior citizens and junior anglers. The headquarters for weighing fish is located on Dock street in Edgartown and is open from 8 to 10 a.m. and again in the evening from 8 to 10 p.m.