For 72 years, fishermen have approached the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby as dreamers in their own right. Long forgotten are the disappointments and the ones that got away from previous years. Instead there are new dreams of boats and trucks and padlocks and keys dancing in their heads. But for first-time participants, derby president Ed Jerome has some simple advice.

“It only takes one fish,” Mr. Jerome said. “That’s the beauty of it all. It doesn’t matter whether you’re really a professional or someone who is really, really sharp at the trade. You can catch that one fish and win. It happens and it has happened before.”

Plenty of lines will hit the water at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 10, when the 72nd derby officially gets underway. It will all wrap up on Saturday, Oct. 14, when the final bell rings at the derby headquarters weigh station in Edgartown.

Oh the places you'll go when looking to hook the big one. — Jeanna Shepard

There are new grand prize sponsors this year. The lucky winner of one of the four shore divisions will get a 19-foot center console boat with outboard trailer and motor, courtesy of Cape Codder boats.

“They’re just really good people,” Mr. Jerome said. “They have been involved in the boat world on the Cape for many years. We had an opening they were really happy to be part of it.”

If the key fits, the winner in one of the boat divisions will receive a 2017 Subaru Crosstek SUV from Clay Subaru. The Clay family dealerships have sponsored the vehicle grand prize for many years, but previously the prize was a pickup truck.

There will also be a structural change in the youth divisions this year. Junior and mini-junior divisions will be separated, to eliminate confusion that sometimes happened when mini-junior anglers bumped juniors in daily and weekly prizes.

Tournament chairman John Custer is a veteran of the derby committee. He said after many years of weigh station and many other duties, he has come to realize the derby has less to do with the fish than the people catching — or not catching — them.

“It’s a fishing tournament, it’s about fishermen, it’s about fish,” Mr. Custer said. “But more and more it strikes me how important the event is to people. They get to spend time with friends, family members. It’s something that brings them together. It gives them a reason, a purpose to spend time together. I hear that, year in and year out. I love hearing those stories, whether they’re stories that result in someone catching a fish or not.”

At Dick’s Bait and Tackle in Oak Bluffs, owner Steve Morris is usually too busy at the store to get in much fishing. Anglers have been stocking up for several weeks now.

“It’s just everybody gearing up,” Mr. Morris said. “A lot of people don’t get to fish in the summer, they’re busy. They take the time in the fall to get their fishing in. The derby gives them that push to get going.”

He said if the summer is any indication the derby should see plenty of fish weighed.

“We’ve had a great summer, should be a pretty good derby,” Mr. Morris said. “There’s quite a few fish around. If we get the right weather, I think it will be a good fall. There were a lot of stripers around. I don’t think we’ll see a lot of big fish. We’re going to see 15 to 20-pound fish, probably a fair amount. I think there will be some big bluefish. Bonito and albacore, you just never know.”

Derby registration is at derby headquarters at the foot of Main street in Edgartown, or at most Island bait and tackle shops, including: Dick’s Bait and Tackle in Oak Bluffs, Coop’s Bait and Tackle in Edgartown, Captain Porky’s Bait and Tackle in Edgartown, Larry’s Tackle Shop in Edgartown, Menemsha Texaco in Chilmark, and Keep It Reel Kayak and Tackle in Oak Bluffs.

Follow all the action at the Gazette's Derby Headquarters.