Back in the day, the Steamship Wharf in Oak Bluffs was not just a place to greet and say goodbye to passengers. It was the place to fish. Experienced anglers were always there, as they knew big fish circled those pilings looking for tasty minnow morsels. But it was especially perfect for new kids on the block. The ability to just drop a line off the wharf, rather than having to cast out into the ocean, was a pleasure for the young angler and parent alike — fewer tangles all around.

It was a special scene — old timers and kids barely out of diapers down there each morning with the scup and the stripers, the blues and the sea robins, plus those teenagers bobbing in the water yelling up to the crowds disembarking the ferry, “How ‘bout a coin? How ‘bout a coin?”

The scene does exist again now, thanks to the new fishing pier built a few paddles away from the wharf. But once a year, at the start of the derby, the Steamship Wharf is again the place to be during the annual kids’ derby. Memories old and new mingle out there, as a new generation gets hooked on fishing the derby. This years kids’ derby is Sunday, Sept. 20, from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Just a short window of time, before the ferries roll in and take over. Bait is provided and there is a weigh (and measure) station, plus numerous prizes. Visit for more information. Fish on!