The fish are beginning to climb their way up the scales as the 74th annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby approaches the halfway mark.

More than 3,500 anglers have registered and 665 fish have been weighed in, topping out for a combined weight of just over 6,000 pounds.

Surf casting at Wasque, hoping for a top spot on the leaderboard. — Mark Alan Lovewell

There have been numerous lead changes in each of the categories, except one. And as of Sunday, the grand leaders range from seasoned derby veterans to members of the junior division.

Mason Warburton, age 11, and Westley Wlodyka, age 12, top the grand leaders for fish caught from a boat. Mason landed a 37.58-pound striped bass on Friday afternoon, vaulting him to the top of the leaderboard. Westley has been leading the boat false albacore category with his 12.96 pounder since the first week of the derby.

Clinton A. Fisher now tops the board for shore striped bass. He weighed in 34.42-pound striper on Sunday night, knocking off Lucy Cox’s 28.93 pounder that had led for over a week.

Shawn A. Emin leads the shore false albacore division with a 12.13-pound fish.

In the bonito category, Greg Clark is in the lead with a 11.62 pounder caught from a boat, while John Thurgood leads from shore with a fish weighing in at 6.04 pounds. Of the 163 bonito weighed in at the derby so far, only 15 have been caught from shore.

Though many fishermen have speculated that there are fewer bluefish in the water this year, the leaderboards tell a different story. Of 6,057 total pounds of fish weighed in, 2,481 pounds come from the bluefish category. About a fifth of the bluefish have been caught from shore.

Don W. Ballway tops the boat division for bluefish with a fish weighing 15.71 pounds. Robert Bottary heads the shore category with a 12.17-pound bluefish.

Next weekend, Oct. 5, is Super Saturday for striped bass. Anglers who land the largest bass, from boat or shore, that day will be awarded with a special prize for first, second and third place.

Though the fishing has been competitive, no record-breaking fish that have been weighed in yet this year. Weigh master Mike Cassidy said each category still has the opportunity to be claimed.

The derby runs through Oct. 19.

Home page picture by Tim Johnson.