Some of the best Martha’s Vineyard striped bass fishermen are solitary individuals who steer clear of any beach where they might encounter another angler. I am not one of those fishermen.

I like to fish with people. A good fishing partner is as invaluable as a key to the gate at Quansoo. He or she is someone I can share stories with — the same ones, over and over — and play a joke on.

I could not ask for a better fishing partner than Tom Robinson of Tisbury. He shares my laissez-faire fishing style, and because he is energetic, he is willing to carry more stuff to the beach than I am.

Fishermen like to repeat the same stories to each other. It is part of the cultural code of the beach. You listen to my story and I will listen to your story. Over the years, Tom has heard all of mine, many of them published in a fishing column I formerly wrote. One story has become our standing joke.

In September 1996, I wrote about a magical night of fly fishing for striped bass from the beach at Cape Pogue. Jared Hull of West Tisbury and I had driven out to Chappaquiddick so we could fish the start of the 51st Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby one minute after midnight.

That night, in the mist and fog we encountered a school of big striped bass, and we stumbled upon legendary Island fisherman and friend, Cooper (Coop) Gilkes of Edgartown, who was guiding a client from New York. There we were, the four of us, hooking up over and over to fish in the 30-inch range.

The minimum length to weigh in a striped bass in that year’s derby was 38 inches. That’s a big striper to catch on any tackle, let alone a fly rod. And the only person who caught a fish that exceeded the minimum size? The New York guy who was happy just to catch fish, and who, to my great annoyance, was not entered in the derby.

My column began: “Stripers exploded from the black surface of the ocean in a glow of shimmering phosphorescence. It was the night of a thousand bass.”

Often, when the fishing action and the conversation lags, I’ll turn to Tom and ask, “Have I ever told you the story of the night of a thousand bass?”

And he’ll reply in mock seriousness, “Oh no, please do.”

It’d become such a standard punch line that years ago I printed out the story as a poster and gave it to Tom that Christmas.

This spring, I pulled into Tom’s driveway. The plan was to fish the north shore. I began to load Tom’s gear in my truck. He was still in the house. Sensing an opportunity, I picked up a large rock and placed it in Tom’s tackle bag.

We got out of the truck and started to walk to the beach. I thought Tom would notice something was amiss. The rock was no pebble and would have been a nice addition to a Chilmark stone wall. I was chuckling like a maniac. Tom took no notice of that either.

He went to grab a lure from his bag. “What the hell?” he said holding up the rock. “I was wondering why my bag was so heavy but I figured I’d left some bottom weights in it.” We had a good laugh.

This Christmas, my wife Norma and I gave Tom a nice book on baking, a skill he acquired before the pandemic. But I couldn’t resist one more gift to place under his tree.

I grabbed a red brick I’d picked up from the beach in front of the old brickworks in Chilmark. I printed out a label, “Night of a Thousand Bass Tackle Bag Counterweight,” and affixed it to the brick. Then I wrapped it.

Later that day, I proudly told Norma what I’d cooked up. “You gave away my brick?” she said. “You gave that to me.”

Oops. Seems she has an emotional connection to the brick that had come from the beach where she’d played as a kid. Tom, I need that brick back.

Nelson Sigelman lives in Vineyard Haven.