Eric F. Pachico stepped out of the heavy rain carrying a large striped bass this morning. It was 8:42 a.m., the derby headquarters had been open since 8 a.m., but he was the first angler with a fish.
The heavy rain began this morning at 6 a.m., and in two hours already half an inch had fallen at the National Weather Service cooperative station in Edgartown. And the forecast was for more. While the fish don’t care, anglers lose interest when it rains.
As it had been awfully quiet, weigh master Roy Langley was ready for the first fish of the day: Mr. Pachico’s fish weighed 15.96 pounds.
Mr. Pachico said he caught the fish from the shore. He had gone fishing with his buddy Wesley Wood of Edgartown. Mr. Pachico said the rain hadn’t started while they were out, but it was windy last night.
Derby officials told Mr. Pachico that he might be getting daily prizes for his fish without much effort beyond what he had done. Anyone with a fish has a chance of placing well on the daily board, on a day when the rain is coming down in buckets and the seas are rolling.
Mr. Langley observed that only a half a dozen fish came in during his 8 to 10 a.m. watch yesterday.
Mr. Langley also noted a shift he sees in the way anglers are fishing this year. They aren’t donating as much of their fish to the fillet program, compared to past years. He observed that this may be a sign of the economic times.
“They are keeping their fish,” he said, “and they are giving them to their neighbors.”
Still the fillet program is doing well. On Wednesday night we observed a lot of fish being donated, as well as fishermen taking their fish home.
Matt Malowski, who heads up the fillet program, said on Wednesday he is in need of volunteer filleters, especially on Saturdays. So many anglers are spending their time fishing on weekends, there is a particular shortage of volunteers on Saturday night. Anyone interested, please speak up the next time you are at the weigh station, at the foot of Main street in Edgartown.