From the Oct. 17, 1958 edition of the Gazette:

While the thirteenth annual striped bass and bluefish derby ended at noon Wednesday, in something less than a blaze of glory so far as the number of fish caught was concerned — only 262 altogether — the committee members and supporters of the derby in general contented themselves with the fact that the purposes of sportsmanship had been served for the 1,416 fishermen and women, 950 of them from twenty states, the District of Columbia, three Canadian provinces and Venezuela, who had registered for the month-long contest. For the numbers of anglers who had gone away from the Island with only sea robins, sharks and seaweed to their credit — and there were quite a few who came into this unhappy category —it was a good thing that there was such a concept as sportsmanship to fall back on, they having been denied not only chances for prize money but also edible fish.

But there were prize winners, and the fish that won the savings bongs were all of commendable size. The biggest bass ever to be hooked by a non-resident derby fisherman was caught this year. As a matter of fact, eighty per cent of the bass taken this year weighed more than thirty pounds. More than thirty per cent weighed more than forty pounds apiece. The figures pretty well indicate to the committee, then, that what was missing from this derby was a plentiful supply of smaller bass, which, while making no pretenses of challenging the big prize positions, bring happiness, contentment and encouragement to the fishermen day by day.

The big prizewinners had all held their positions for the last week or so of the derby. In the non-resident division of the striper shore fishing, Robert Carbee of Amityville, N. Y., won the $500 U. S. Savings Bond with his 50 pound 12 ounce bass. Second prize, a $100 bond, was won by Robert Levy of Bellmore, N. Y., (45 pounds 12 ounces). Third prize, a $50 bond, was won by Charles Adamowitch of Dunstable (45 pounds 8 ounces).

First prize winner among Island residents was Oscar B. Flanders of Chilmark, whose 51 pound 11 ounce bass led the contest for most of the derby. Second and third prizes were won respectively by Raymond Scott of Oak Bluffs (47 pounds 1 ounce) and Daniel Bryant of West Tisbury (46 pounds 15 ounces).

Bonds worth $25 were also won by Roy Maciel of Vineyard Haven, 15 years old, winner of the juvenile striper shore fishing class with his 18-pound 11-ounce catch, and Ralph C. Estes of West Tisbury, winner of the senior striper shore fishing contest with his 15-pound 11-ounce bass. These two also had the contest more or less won from the early days of the derby.

The prizes were all awarded at the weighing in station in Oak Bluffs Wednesday afternoon after the final bell was rung by Roger Gibson.

As the total number of fish weighed in crawled up almost imperceptibly over the weekend, derby fishermen could take faint hope in the fact that there were some sizable bass — sizable but nothing to get excited about so far as changing the grand contest positions were concerned.

On Saturday, though, Harold R. Morris of Vineyard Haven did come in with a 13 pound 1 1/2 ounce blue to take over second place in the bluefish category, pushing Charles Conroy Sr. with his 13 pounder down to third place, and George Maury of Vineyard Haven, whose entry was in the 12 pound class, right out of the running.

Then the next day, Sunday, another bluefish, the most elusive for elusive fish, was brought in by William E. Blake of Melrose. It weighed 6 1/2 ounces more than Richard Flanders’ 13 pound 15 1/2 ounce fish that had held the number one position for most of the derby, completely upsetting the lineup for that contest. That pretty well took care of the official weekend excitement. But the unofficial excitement was something else again, and was rampant Saturday night, thanks to the spectacular efforts of Alfred Lewis of North Westport, a house guest of W. Howard Andrews of Vineyard Haven, and Mr. Andrews himself.

Mr. Lewis, who makes no bones about not being a fisherman and who was not registered in the derby, went out Saturday night with his host and some other people, more for a lark than for any other reason, made one cast and latched on to something big.

It was a situation fraught with drama for a neophyte fisherman, and nothing could be more ironic than for the reel to jam at that particular moment, and that’s what happened. Mr. Lewis passed the rod over to Mr. Andrews, who was unable to get the gear untangled, so he brought the huge bass in hand over hand, which is no easy job.

At the weighing-in station, both officials and onlookers were astounded when Mr. Lewis’ fish shot the scales up to 54 pounds 13 ounces — the biggest of the derby. But it was unofficial because Mr. Andrews refused to take any credit for it. Considering the money riding on the fish could its legitimacy have been established, Mr. Andrews deserves a nomination for the sportsman of the year.

Compiled by Hilary Wallcox