Mike Carotta first cast a line into the Martha’s Vineyard’s surf after his freshman year of college. Fifty years later, he continues to return to the Island for a few weeks every spring, driving upwards of 20 hours from wherever he calls home at the time.

This year Mr. Carotta (70) traveled from North Carolina, where he works in religious education, now consulting on curricular development despite being what he calls “semi-retired.” He arrived as both a fisherman and an author, having published his first book, A Long Cast: Reflections on 50 years of Visiting the Martha’s Vineyard Surf.

The book is not an instruction manual, Mr. Carotta said. Rather, it is meant to memorialize the moments spent fishing the shores of Chappaquiddick.

“More than anything, I hope that somehow this may bring to mind your favorite recreational memories and take you back to where some things are once again clear, true, noble and restorative,” he writes. “And the distance between heaven and earth gets a little thinner.”

With his daughter Christin. — Courtesy Mike Carotta

The book is divided into three sections.

Discovering the Island, returns to the beginning, when Mr. Carotta learned to surfcast with his father, and was introduced to Dick’s Tackle Shop in Oak Bluffs, where he still buys his equipment today.

The second section, Thirty Straight, shares stories about 25 fellow Vineyard fishermen. Their photographs appear in the book’s pages, holding a prized catches or sharing traditional post-fishing coffee.

In the final section, What Remains, Mr. Carotta writes about the keepers — not fish, but memories, small but significant moments collected over a lifetime of fishing.

“It is not about the number of fish you keep,” he writes. “It’s about the moments, interactions, gestures, and experiences you take in and take home.”

Mr. Carotta began writing the book last spring, when stood in his waders on the familiar shores of Chappy and felt his stories begin to slip away. Fearing he would not have an opportunity to share the breadth of his experiences with his children, now in their late 30s, he began writing in secret. He filled the pages with the people and moments that defined a lifetime of fishing.

“The book is a collection of recollections,” he said. “I wanted this to be a small, good thing for the families and friends of the Martha’s Vineyard fisherpeople, including my own family.”

This spring, Mr. Carotta summoned his children to a Zoom meeting — an unheard of occurrence for the family. He had sent each of them a copy of the book, and when they opened their packages on camera Mr. Carotta said he felt their delight through the screen.

“I told a hundred lies for that moment,” he said. “I gave my wife any excuse to run up to my study to write in the evenings. It was all worth it.”

The book, he said, is a window into a few sacred weeks each year that add up to a lifetime or relationships.

“It’s really incredible,” Mr. Carotta said. “Thirty years of the same people returning to Chappy every spring for a few weeks before going their separate ways. No one coordinated. We all just came. Like birds, my daughter likes to say.”

Mr. Carotta said he continues to honor one rule that he adopted from his father: “The fish money never left the Island.”

“Dad and I did not feel it was proper to earn money from Vineyard resources and take it elsewhere,” he said. “Not that we were making much... But we would spend everything we earned on tackle from Coops’s, groceries from Stop & Shop and breakfast at the Black Dog for a treat.”

Before Mr. Carotta returns home each spring, he makes one last stop at the Net Result, where he trades in his final catch for lobsters and a half-bushel of clams to take back to his sisters in Nebraska so they can all sit down together for a traditional fish supper.

“This is not about learning how to fish,” he said. “It’s about why we fish.”

A Long Cast: Reflections of 50 years of visiting the Martha’s Vineyard surf is available for purchase at Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, Coop’s Bait and Tackle, Edgartown Books, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.