From the June 18, 1948 edition of the Gazette:

Although theoretically he has nothing to do with it, some of this year’s miserable weather might be traced to Robert Foote of Tiah’s Cove, West Tisbury. He is one of the publishers of the Old Farmers Almanac, a yearbook that predicted a chilly spring and summer, and so far has been astonishingly right.

Mr. Foote is currently engaged in predicting next year’s foul days and fair, and anything that may put him in a good humor will perhaps pay off in the future. Some people might scoff at the full year’s prognostications turned out by Mr. Foote and his staff. But his methods, while less scientific than those used by government meteorologists, often have the great weight of accuracy their side.

Farmers from as far away as Iowa have called him up to ask about the prospects for certain crops in their fields. On requests of this kind, the editors are as baffled as the farmers. In their forecasts they hope only to call the turn on general tendencies in the weather, and not whether Dukes County will have a shower on the 23rd of July.

Predicting weather for a year ahead, Mr. Foote analyzes the records of the previous centuries. He uses some clues which might seem crude, but are probably as reasonable as anything else when applied to such as unreasonable item as the weather. This year, for instance, Mr. Foote discovered that the sun spot formation closely duplicated their alignment during a bitterly cold year in the early 1800’s. Putting two and two together, that was enough to indicate that the weather this year might follow the same frigid pattern. “Don’t ask me why,” said Mr. Foote, displaying a rather human side, for a prophet.

Another clew which Mr. Foote believes might be profitably followed as a guide to forecasters is the temperature of the water. But to this moment there are not enough statistics on the warmth of the ocean to serve him accurately enough in making his predictions.

The good fortune he and the staff of the Almanac have had with their forecasts this year does not dim in Mr. Foote’s memory the number of times that the publication has been wrong. But rain or shine, he looks at the whole gamble of prophesy in a sunny light: “If we are wrong, people say, ‘How in the dickens can they be expected to tell the weather that far in advance?’ If we are right, they give us a pat on the back.” This position and attitude is one which a day to day forecaster might envy. Whenever one of them comes up with a lemon, the citizens squirt some of the juice in his eyes. Even though, as Mr. Foote points out, they have to work with the slim appropriations granted them by the government, a policy of economy which has cut the number of weather stations to a minimum.

Monday found Mr. Foote sunning himself on the first clear day in June, at the Martha’s Vineyard airport. Not at all disconsolate at the break in the weather. Mr. Foote observed optimistically: “I have just looked at my barograph. Anyone who thinks a solid high is coming in, is doomed to disappointment. The atmospheric pressure is leveling off.” Sure enough Tuesday dawned in the usual fog.

Another wild weekend with the stripers, despite showers and fog and other interference with the plans of the fishermen. The best daylight lures appeared to be plugs, with no particular reference to the make or model, but the dark hours favored the use of eels, particularly at the bridges.

Mackerel struck on during the weekend, and plenty of these fish were reported schooling close to the beaches, but up to mid-week, no one had reported taking any.

With reference to the report of bluefish on the Cape shore, the local gang accepted the tale with a fair-sized portion of salt. It wouldn’t be the first time that someone has been fooled by a pollock, or even a menhaden. Both are thick in all nearby waters.

The biggest creel hailed during the weekend, was that of Manny Lima and Larry Meyer, twenty-four fish at Katama. Yes, all bass. Antone Silva landed a 32-pounder; Ben Cromwell got six fish. Bob Crandall and George Albrecht got four at the Tisbury Pond opening, using the new slip-cast reel, and another pioneer, using the new magnetic reel, got a bass on his first cast.

Bob Rogers got a twenty-pounder, Joe Amaral also landed a nice one, and needless to say, Mrs. John Caperonis is still going strong. Some of the gang think she uses a spell or something. Mrs. Alfred Doyle, fishing in a group which included her husband and Antone Silva Jr., caught her first bass of the season. Mr. Doyle and Mr. Silva both caught fish that evening also.

Richard Burt, 13 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Percy Burt of Seven Gates Farm, landed his first bass at Menemsha Creek, on Monday night. It weighed 13 3/4 pounds. And Frederick Smith, 9 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Smith of West Chop, caught his first striped bass, in fact two on Saturday evening, while drailing from his father’s boat in Lagoon Pond.

Compiled by Hilary Wallcox