More than 400 people registered to fish in the third annual Fluke for Luke tournament, the two-day fishing derby that commemorates the life of Luke Gurney, the beloved Island fisherman who died in a tragic fishing accident in June 2016.

Many identified themselves as commercial fishermen hailing from the Island and along the Cape. All of them, however, defined themselves primarily as “a friend of Luke.”

Each friend had a different story to share about Luke. Throughout those stories, two recurring themes emerged: his love for fishing and his love for helping others.

It was an all-ages fishing derby. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Joe El-Deiry, vice-president of the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, said that Luke “loved teaching people about fishing more than anyone.”

He gestured to the crowd gathered outside the Portuguese-American Club in Oak Bluffs during the awards ceremony Sunday, drinking beer, slurping oysters and wearing T-shirts inscribed with the name of Luke’s boat: No Regrets.

“He taught most of us here a thing or two, and he taught me most of what I know,” Mr. El-Deiry said. “He taught me how to change it up if you’re not catching. He would never believe that there weren’t any fish in the water… it was always the lure.”

Despite the countless stories of Luke, many of the fishermen did not want to be named in order to keep the memory of Luke as the focal point of the afternoon. “Just put me down as Luke’s best friend,” said one angler.

“Same for me,” said another.

Oyster bar made the awards ceremony a tasty event. — Mark Alan Lovewell

“He was a one-of-a-kind guy… the kind that brings everyone in and makes them a friend,” everyone agreed. “I feel his presence a lot when I’m out [fishing]… that’s what the tournament is all about.”

The fishing derby is a continuation of a VFW tournament that lasted over a decade. Funds raised each year from the registration fees and a silent auction go towards college scholarships for Luke’s two sons, Sam and Jacob, who currently attend the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.

Gene Bergeron won the adult fluke category with a fish weighing in at 9.2 pounds. Pam Silvia won the adult sea-bass category with a 3.99 pounder. Ben Kokoska won the 12-and-under junior category with a 6.86-pound fluke and Finn Codding won with a 3.51 pound sea bass. The top group, for the second year in a row, was Team Payback with a total catch of 23.83 pounds.

The winners received donated prizes of rod and reel combinations, paintings and tackle boxes. However, winners and non-winners alike agreed that it wasn’t important who won.

“It’s not about that,” said David Hearn, one of the event organizers. Repeating the unofficial slogan of the tournament, he continued: “It’s about remembering Luke.”

After the ceremony, people finished their oysters and trickled out into the parking lot carrying filleted cuts of fluke and sea bass.

“It’s unique the way this community pulls together,” said Mr. Hearn. “It’s exactly what he would have wanted.”