Tracking down information about eels and the skinning thereof, the path led me to the blacksmith shop of Milton Jeffers in Edgartown.


There is a seasonal change on the water this week. Atlantic bonito are showing up in greater numbers just south of the Island and false albacore are only a few weeks away. There are also more stories of tuna.

Steve Morris of Dick’s Bait and Tackle Shop had an early birthday present on Monday. Mr. Morris turns 50 years-old next Thursday and to celebrate he went offshore fishing with Greg Lee. They went on Mr. Lee’s boat, Sea Ox II, and caught long-fin albacore and one 40-pound wahoo.


eel fishing

The storied American eel was once one of the Vineyard’s most valued resources.

Even though the eel now faces hard times, memories are still fresh of the role the American eel played in Vineyard waters, where it was shipped to the mainland in barrels. Generations of native Islanders regarded it once as a staple food. Locally harvested eel was as familiar and as local as boiled lobster, stuffed quahaugs and bay scallops sautéed in butter.


Let’s Go An-Eeling

From winter editions of past Gazettes:


The American eel, once as abundant as shellfish in Island coastal ponds and rivers and all along the Atlantic seaboard, is in such decline that the federal government is considering placing it on the list of endangered species.

On Wednesday the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service opened a 90-day public comment period on whether to declare the American eel endangered.