The strong persistent northeast wind this past week has made fishing especially tough the last few days. Seas are high and waters rough from East Beach on Chappaquiddick to Dogfish Bar in Aquinnah. The forecast for the weekend isn’t much better. To catch fish, an angler has to be more strategic about where he or she goes.
“I just tell people to find a spot in the lee, whether you are fishing from the shore or fishing from a boat,” said John Custer, chairman of the derby. “We always preach and remind the participants that it is safety, safety, safety,” he added. “Just be smart.”
Big fish are being brought in to the weigh station, regardless of the weather. Jena-Lynn Beauregard of Edgartown weighed in a 34.63 pound striped bass on Wednesday morning. She’d caught it from the shore, not an easy place. She told the Gazette yesterday that this was the first fish she weighed in during this derby, but that she has been fishing intensely throughout.
“I was in the derby last year, but all I caught was a dogfish and some crabs,” she said.
Ms. Beauregard’s fish was four pounds bigger than the previous leader.
Her catch was one of only 14 fish that made it onto the daily board. On more friendly fishing days, hundreds of fish can hit the scale. As of Wednesday night, 24 days into the derby, 1,627 fish have been weighed in. The derby began on Sunday, Sept. 15.
Stephen J. Pietruska leads the derby with the largest striped bass caught from a boat, a 38.71 pound fish. He caught his bass last Friday. Andrew G. Moore, of Oak Bluffs, moved into first place last Saturday with the largest striped bass caught with a flyrod and it, too, was from a boat. His fish weighed 20.44 pounds.
The derby comes to a close on Oct. 19. The winners of the contest could win a brand new powerboat or a Chevy truck.
On Wednesday night, when the winds were blowing hard, Jerry Crocker, 76, of Burlington, was out fishing South Beach with his son, Mike, 55. They were using bait. Dressed for winter, the two stood on the beach and worked together like they’d been doing it for years, which they have.
Mike Crocker said he and his father have been fishing the derby for a decade. They came to the Island for a week with a large extended family. While these two men fished in the breeze, the family was staying in Edgartown.
“Most of it is about having fun,” Mr. Crocker said.