Crew from Coast Guard Station Menemsha and a good Samaritan with sharp ears rescued a fisherman who fell into the Menemsha channel late Wednesday night in a ferocious northeast storm.

Peter Jackson of Edgartown was fishing off the west pier at about 11 p.m. when he fell in the water. According to the Coast Guard, he was able to grab a piling and hold on until someone heard him.

“A good Samaritan finally heard a call for help around 3 a.m. and called the Coast Guard,” said Petty Officer Cynthia Oldham. “They rescued him using a life ring, a throw bag, and a ladder.”

On Friday, the Gazette spoke with Mr. Jackson, who was resting at home, about his ordeal.

“I had a fish on,” Mr. Jackson said. “I turned to go with the fish, and a puff of wind blew me off the dock, hit me in the back and pushed me off.”

Mr. Jackson, age 73, said he hung to the slippery pilings, and scored a bit of luck when he landed near a rope that was tied to the pier. He managed to hang on for four hours, and he said he was prepared to hang on longer.

“I could have hung on forever. I had a rope there, I tied a loop around it. I had my arm through it. I was in the water up to my armpits. There was no way I could have gotten out of there. I had all my gear on, foul weather gear. There was a pole, with barnacles, was what I was holding on to. Above the barnacles it was slimy, you couldn’t climb up.”

The long wait for help was frustrating, with the wind and water mostly drowning out his yells.

“I saw three other guys come over to the Lobsterville side across from me,” said Mr. Jackson. “They couldn’t hear me, so they just turned around and drove off. This one guy happened to come over and step out of the car on the jetties. He heard me. That was 3 a.m.”

The good Samaritan called 911. Dispatchers sent first responders, including the Coast Guard, based just a few hundred yards away at station Menemsha. Mr. Jackson said he was treated at the scene for slight hypothermia, then transported to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital as a precaution.

Mr. Jackson was asked what went through his mind during the hours he spent clinging to the pilings. "A whole bunch of stuff, knowing I couldn't get out of there unless I had help, and none of that came for a long time."

Mr. Jackson said he has fished the Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby since he was 15 years old. While thankful he didn't lose his life, like a true Derby fisherman, he did sightly lament losing some other things. “My rod, and the plug I was using, and the fish. I don’t know how big he was, not that big, I don’t think.”

When asked where this adventure ranked in all those years fishing through storms and scrambling around on slippery docks, he didn’t hesitate.

“The biggest,” he said. “I’m still here to talk about.”