They came together at the end of the day Wednesday to catch fish. Backed by the glitter of fast-moving water, more than 20 anglers, most of them participants in the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, stood at the far end of the Menemsha jetty casting their lures in close quarters. The sun was brilliant above the horizon. The Menemsha buoy, a ringing bell, filled the air with sound. Ian Thurber, 31, a landscaper from West Tisbury, arrived at 5 p.m. after a full day of work. “This is one of many of my favorite places,” he said. “When there are no fish, it is relaxing. When there are fish here, it is chaos,” said Mr. Thurber.
False albacore and bonito often swim in tight schools and the Menemsha jetty can get hectic when a school passes by. But on this lovely afternoon there were few fish. In fact, it seemed almost an accident when someone reeled one in.
Chris Reimann, 49, of Oak Bluffs spent the day demolishing tile in a customer’s laundry room. This was his treat after a long day, he said. Soon after, he received an accidental treat. The point of his rod dropped and for the next nervous five minutes he battled a false albacore.
Mr. Reimann was assisted by Joe Rogers, also of Oak Bluffs, who grabbed a net and put it under the fish coming out of the water.
Once caught, it was returned to the water. The fish, 19 to 20 inches in length, was too small to be entered in the derby. The minimum size for a false albacore — also called an “albie” — is 25 inches long.
Mr. Reimann caught the fish with a lure called the Maria. The lure is more valuable than the fish, he said, and has been sold out for quite a while on the Vineyard.
Moments later, an angler at the jetty on the Lobsterville side of the channel hooked a bonito. He quickly became the center of attention on both sides of the channel, leaving those on the Menemsha side to surmise the implications of their chosen spot.
Bernie Arruda has questions of his own about his location. He stood at the end of the jetty on a rock that bares his name, but it wasn’t he who painted the word “Bernie” there, he said.
In Edgartown, at the Memorial Wharf, a piece of timber at the edge of the dock bears a name painted in a similar style. That sign, painted in the same color, reads “Kathi” and recognizes the talents of Edgartown angler Kathi Pogoda. “I don’t know who did this,” Mr. Arruda said.