My father took me fishing for mackerel off the Menemsha dock when I was five years old. I remember some of my friends being there fishing with their families as well, the Larsens, Flanders and Mayhews, just to name a few. Mackerel fishing was a community event. Oh, how much fun it was catching the slender little tinker mackerel. I could have fished all night, but as darkness arrived my father announced it was time to go home. I’m sure I cried.

Fishing in their genes. — Albert O. Fischer

From that first day of fishing I was hooked and spent many hours of my childhood with my friends, fishing the Island trout streams and ponds as well as fishing off Menemsha dock. I wasn’t allowed to fish off the jetties unsupervised until I was 10; my mother had great fear of me falling into the strong current and being swept away.

This past Tuesday, my friend Ben Cabot allowed me to tag along with him and his 13-year-old daughter Violet for a late-afternoon fishing adventure off the north shore, at a spot where the landowner gave him permission to park and use his cliff stairs to access the beach. Interestingly enough, the same landowner let my father take me fishing here during the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, when I was Violet’s age.

I took pictures and asked questions as Ben and Violet fished the rocky bottom with cut up mackerel — mackerel they caught this past summer and froze to fish the derby with.

Violet first went fishing for trout when she was five with her dad at the West Tisbury Mill Pond. Violet loves fishing, cleans her own fish that she catches and enjoys cooking them. Her favorite fish to eat is fluke.

Tools of the trade include mackerel for bait.

I asked Violet who was luckier at fishing — her or her father? There was a long pause and then Ben piped up: “She holds her own and more often then not, Violet will out-fish me.”

Ben and his daughter have fished the derby together for the past five years. Last year Violet won a daily prize with a 10-pound striped bass that went on to win a weekly prize for the largest bass that week, caught in the junior division. This year, so far, she has weighed in a very respectable 9.24-pound bluefish but was beaten by larger bluefish caught that day. Violet says she is sad when the fishing derby ends, not so much for the competition of catching fish but for being outdoors with her father, fishing the sunsets, looking up at the night sky for shooting stars and naming the constellations.

Tuesday afternoon on the north shore was cloudy and drizzly with no fish being caught. As we packed up the gear and headed up the long flight of beach stairs in the darkness, Ben and his daughter summed up the evening. He said: “Too bad there was no sunset.” Violet replied: “Yeah, but it was still fun.”