On the water, following days of bad weather and rough fishing, derby fishermen are hoping for better conditions in the weekend ahead. So far approximately 2,800 people have registered for the derby, and organizers expect a final surge for the holiday weekend.

“We’re running ahead of last year’s pace by a couple hundred,” Dave Nash said, during the morning weigh-in session Monday.

David Kadison, who took home a grand prize car in 2018 for his boat-caught bluefish, is at the top of this category again, with an 18.06-pound, boat-caught bluefish.

“The last few year’s I’ve been having a lot of success,” Mr. Kadison said, down at derby headquarters. “Without good luck you have nothing.”

Filet master David Hearn keeps displays his technique at derby headquarters.

The leader board is currently rounded out by Peter Hess with a 17.16-pound, shore-caught bluefish; Peter Crabtree with a 10.86-pound, boat-caught bonito; Mark Campos with a 8.36-pound, shore-caught bonito; Mark Leonard with a 16.52-pound, boat-caught albacore; and Matthew Strem with a 13.38-pound, shore-caught albacore.

But leading the derby is not the only positive outcome. A good source of food for Island seniors continues to be a staple of the event through its filet donation program.

“We’ve really been blessed to offer good, fresh nutritious food,” West Tisbury Council on Aging assistant director Bethany Hammond told the Gazette.

The West Tisbury Council on Aging is one of several Island entities that receives fresh fish donated by fishermen throughout the derby. Fishermen are encouraged to donate their catch upon weigh-in, which are then fileted and distributed to senior centers around the Island.

Mike Cassidy, a 30-year member of the derby committee, said he was introduced to the derby decades ago through its filet program.

Debbie Smith and Mike Cassidy at the weigh-station.

“The fact that we’re able to donate a couple thousand pounds . . . I think is a very important program,” he said.

He said that the amount of fish donated in general has dropped over the years, but noted that the quality of fish donated has increased over the years as fishermen take better care to ice their catch before donating.

“We get a lot less wasted fish today than we did several years ago,” Mr. Cassidy said.

Ms. Hammond said the donated fish are an opportunity for seniors to receive fresh filets of their favorite foods, or venture out into new territory.

“People trying bluefish if they’ve never had it before,” she said.

Ms. Hammond said through the council on aging upwards of 20 households receive fish in West Tisbury each week.

The derby concludes Oct. 15, just a little over a week away.

“Fishing reports should be good,” Mr. Cassidy said, ever hopeful.