Stephen Pietruska, aka Striper Steve, a perennial derby leader, drives away this year in a brand new Chevrolet truck. — Mark Lovewell

For 70 years, the Martha’s Vineyard Bass and Bluefish Derby has woven itself into Island lore. Derby committee president Ed Jerome thought he had seen just about everything. Until Sunday’s derby awards ceremony.

When he turned the key that opened the lock that won Miles Whyte of Edgartown a new Eastern Boats fishing vessel, Mr. Whyte turned to the microphone amid the tumultuous applause and thanked “everyone, everywhere, who ever took a kid fishing.”

Then his acceptance remarks got a little more specific.

“I’d like to thank my girlfriend Dee, and I’d like to ask her to marry me,” he said.

In a house filled with hardened fishermen, weary from 20-hour fishing days, long hikes through the sand and five weeks of tension, there weren’t many dry eyes.

Top women anglers. — Mark Lovewell

“Yes,” said sudden fiancee Deanna Withers, after making her way to the

derby awards stage.“Of course yes.”

Mr. Jerome, like most of the crowd, was somewhere between stunned and incredulous.

“Seventy years, we’ve never seen that,” he said, when the uproar finally settled down.

Mr. Whyte said later he thought several times about popping the big question from the stage. Though he was sure he wanted to marry Ms. Withers, he wasn’t quite sure he would propose in public. Believe it or not, that wasn’t the most nerve-wracking part of the deal. “I was more nervous when they were drawing the numbers for the keys,” he said.

Top junior anglers. — Mark Lovewell

Mr. Whyte found himself on the stage by virtue of catching the largest striped bass from shore in the 35-day tournament, a 37.95-pound beauty that was quite a challenge to land. “I hooked it and it swam to the surface and showed its head,” Mr. Whyte said. “I walked it back to the shore, but there was so much seaweed, it stared to build up on my line. I got it in, and I could hardly talk. I knew it was a good fish.”

The catch landed Mr. Whyte on the stage Sunday, one of four shore grand leaders in the running for the boat. Other shore anglers in the running were Karen A. Altieri for her 15.65-pound bluefish, Timothy J. Scott for a 8.99-pound bonito, and Donald R. Sicard for his 13.10-pound albie.

Somewhat less dramatic, but no less an accomplishment, was the winning fish landed by Stephen Pietruska, a 41.98-pound bass landed from his boat. His key opened the lock to a new Chevrolet truck from Clay Chevrolet. It is the fourth time since 2009 the seasonal West Tisbury resident has caught the tournament’s biggest bass from a boat, earning him the nickname Striper Steve.

So, where exactly is he catching all these trophy striped bass?

“Local waters,” he said, with a laugh. “Within the derby boundaries. I would never give that one up. It’s been good to me.”

The other boat grand leaders have their secret spots too, though they didn’t take home trucks this year. Mr. Pietruska beat out Clinton A. Fisher, who landed a 17.87-pound bluefish, Rob E. Coad and his 11.32-pound bonito, and Fred Hoffman, who caught a 14.22-pound false albacore.

Mr. Pietruska was also the boat grand slam winner, catching one of each fish species totalling 68.18 pounds. Tim Scott, the grand leader for shore bonito, was the shore grand slam winner with a total catch of 49.73 pounds, and Brendan R. Morris was the junior grand slam boat winner, catching a total of 47.82 pounds.

In the team competition, Buzzards Bay Outfitters — James Simmons and Stephen Hansel — took home top honors in the boat division. On the shore side, Surf Ninjas, consisting of Timothy Scott and Julian Pepper, was the winner.

Zach Magid, who caught a 9.15-pound albie in the kayak division, was the BassYaks kayak winner, and Phoenix Russell won a Live Watersports stand up paddleboard by writing about what she lives for when she fishes the derby.

Father/son duo John and Colby Zarba of West Tisbury won the Beaulieu/Loud Award, which is a awarded to a parent/child team that displays good will and sportsmanship during the derby.

Also notable during the awards ceremony was the posthumous nomination of Jesse (Buddy) Oliver 3rd to the derby hall of fame. He was lauded for his work in promoting the tournament in its early days. It was an emotional moment for his son, Jesse Oliver 4th, who accepted the honor.

“It brought him great joy, meeting people, new friends,” Mr. Oliver said. “He always instilled in me to enjoy fishing, and represent the Island well.”

Despite the challenging weather, a near-record 3,261 people registered for legendary tournament, including more than 400 women, who took their share of top prizes on Sunday.

For the record, the competitors weighed 3,914 fish, which collectively tipped the scale at 35,339 pounds. That’s 17 2/3 tons of memories.

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More photos of the derby awards ceremony.