On a rare rainy day this week, Cooper Gilkes was busy in the back of his bait and tackle shop in Edgartown, melting the end of a glue stick with a lighter and piecing together rods.

“We’ve had a really good fall,” he said, noting the abundance of false albacore all around the Island. “It’s unbelievable right now. If everything follows suit the way it’s going, we should have one heck of a derby.”

Down the road at Larry’s Tackle Shop, a new shipment of gear was arriving by UPS.

Perfecting technique at Lighthouse Beach. — Mark Lovewell

“Saturday was our busiest day of the year by far,” said Julian Pepper sitting behind the register. “Just for that reason. People getting excited. And the albies are in, so people are getting the fever.”

By many accounts, the 70th annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby is shaping up for a strong start on Sunday afternoon. Committee member Amy Coffey said Wednesday that all four derby species — false albacore, bonito, bluefish and striped bass — are biting.

“From what we can tell, it’s going to be a fulfilling derby,” Ms. Coffey said.

Registration opened last week, with the release of buttons, hats and this year’s derby booklet, which includes statistics from past years. Last year’s derby set a record with 3,282 registrants. A total of 2,305 fish passed over the scale, up from 2,000 the year before.

Albacore seem to be on the rise, with about twice as many entries in 2014 as in 2013, the most in 10 years. Bonito and bluefish were also up last year, although

striped bass entries were at their lowest since 1994. Derby president Ed Jerome said Wednesday that the bass numbers were still down.

A new one-fish limit for striped bass, approved by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission last year, aims to reduce juvenile mortality by 25 per cent in one year. But Mr. Jerome said the change won’t affect the derby, which already limits entries to one fish per day.

Following some good bass fishing this spring, warmer water temperatures pushed the fish farther offshore, fillet master and fisherman Eli Bonnell said Wednesday. “They are starting to show back up, though, because the water is starting to cool off. That’s a good sign.”

Mr. Gilkes reported an abundance of bait fish that has drawn the albacore and other game species and which may be a result of restrictions on commercial menhaden fisheries. “Why the rest of the bait is here, it’s just one of those years,” he said. “It’s going to be a good year.” With the closing of the Norton Point breach and the return of a riptide this year, the waters off Wasque Point on Chappaquiddick have occasionally churned with bluefish. Mr. Bonnell said the area would likely be a hot spot during the derby.

He also pointed to Menemsha and Tashmoo, along with Vineyard Haven and Edgartown harbors, as potential hot spots for fishing. “In the daytime they’re catching the false albacore and bonito right off the jetties,” he said of fishermen in Menemsha. “You see it all over the Internet.”

Ms. Coffey reported seeing albacores racing through Edgartown Harbor every morning.

But many contestants abstain from fishing in the days before the derby.

“I won’t bass fish for a couple weeks before,” said Mr. Pepper, who has fished the derby for 23 years. “You don’t want to pull a big bass out of its hole right before the derby.”

Other traditions may seem more obscure. Some people wear their buttons upside-down until they weigh in their first fish. Others won’t shave until they have entered a fish.

Ms. Coffey always saves a piece of striped bass from the previous year and cooks it the night before opening day, as a way of honoring the derby tradition.

For the most part, she said, the five-week event will be the same as in recent years, with only one rule change. In response to feedback from anglers, team competitors will now be ranked according the total weight of both entries, instead of just the heaviest fish.

“We haven’t changed anything of any magnitude,” said Mr. Jerome, who has overseen the derby for more than 30 years. As in past years, the grand prizes will be an Eastern 22 Sisu provided by Eastern Boats, and a Chevrolet Silverado, courtesy of Clay Family Dealerships. Fishermen will also vie for a large variety of smaller prizes, to be awarded at Farm Neck Golf Club on Oct. 18.

Kids’ Day, another derby tradition, will be Sept. 20 from 6 to 8 a.m. in Oak Bluffs. “It’s always a huge success,” Mr. Jerome said. “We have several hundred parents and an equal number of children. If you want to enjoy your morning for about an hour, come on down. It’s really wonderful.”

The derby exists in large part to support Island students and summer camps, generating about $30,000 in scholarships each year. And most of the fish weighed in at Edgartown Harbor — about 5,000 pounds each year — are filleted and donated to Island senior centers.

Every night during the derby, Mr. Bonnell and others gather in the floodlights at derby headquarters on the harbor, filleting the fish and sharing the day’s stories. It’s part of what draws Mr. Bonnell back year after year, along with the awards ceremony in October, at which rivalries often dissolve.

“You see guys that won’t even look at each other,” he said of the fiercest competitors. “They are just battling on the floor, trying to get first place. But then at the end of the derby you see them standing next to each other drinking a beer and shaking hands.”

A large network of volunteers keeps the derby going from year to year — a major undertaking that Mr. Bonnell said is often overlooked. In addition to the 32 committee members, several others run the weigh station every morning and evening and help with the filleting.

Longtime weighmaster Roy Langley, who is approaching his 90th birthday, will again ring the opening bell Sunday at 8 a.m. But this year he will also scale back his involvement, taking evenings and Sundays off, with the exception of opening day.

Ms. Coffey will step in to help fill the role, making her the first female weighmaster in the history of the derby. “On the other side of the gender issue, we have a lot more men volunteering behind that counter,” she said. “We’re getting to be a pretty good family back there.”

Mr. Bonnell has seen more excitement surrounding the derby in recent years, especially among kids and young adults. He noted that social media has become a more central feature of the derby, allowing people to keep up with the daily standings and share photos and stories.

“I think it draws more people in when they start seeing stuff,” he said. “It’s going to bring more and more people every year.”

Mr. Gilkes agreed that the excitement was growing.

“Right now we’re actually in a little lull, between the derby and the end of summer,” he said. “But a lot of people are preparing for the derby this year. We are seeing a lot more.”

Fishermen may register for $50 at any Island tackle shops or at Menemsha Texaco. Junior registration is $25. As of Tuesday, 716 anglers had registered and received their buttons.

“It isn’t just the fishing,” Mr. Jerome said, explaining what draws people to the derby every year and keeps them out on the water for days at a time. “It’s seeing everybody out doing the same thing, getting together. People coming from off-Island, and getting to see them.”

“Some of them have become dear friends,” he added. “You’ve got guys on the beach you will meet in the middle of the night and you will just sit and talk and enjoy.”

“It’s still an incredible family.”

This article has been updated to clarify the time of the derby opening bell, which takes place at 8 a.m. on Sunday, not at noon.