Striped Bass Derby at Mid-Term: Fish Scarce, Competition Light

Striped Bass Derby at Mid-Term: Fish Scarce, Competition Light


As the 61st annual Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby rounds the corner into the second half of the tournament, the big story this week has been - well, that there is no big story.

"There's been a whole lot of standing around, waiting," derby headquarters volunteer Martha Smith said yesterday morning. "We're all waiting for the conditions to change, waiting for the big ones to arrive."

Derby Ends With Records All Around

An eye-popping derby to be sure but no eyes popped wider than junior angler Chris Morris’s when his key sprung open the padlock that awarded him the 19-foot Boston Whaler complete with a 115-horsepower Mercury motor and a trailer last Sunday at the 2007 62nd annual striped bass and bluefish derby awards ceremony at Outerland.

Chris, with the top shore bluefish, was one of eight division winners lined up on stage with a key and a chance to win either a 2008 Chevy Silverado four by four truck or the fishing boat.

Derby Catch Rises Over Last Year’s Tally

Total catch and catch by species during the 2007 annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby recorded large increases over last year’s derby.

The catch was the best since 2004 and among the best in the past eight years for all of the four species.

The total catch of 3,099 fish was 35 per cent higher than in 2006. Compared with 2006, striped bass were up eight per cent, false albacore were up almost 376 per cent, bonito were 204 per cent higher and bluefish nearly four per cent higher.

Derby Love Story, Smiths Leave Headquarters to Fish Together

When Martha Smith and her then-boyfriend Charlie began dating 15 years ago, they spent a lot of time at the annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby headquarters at the foot of Main street in Edgartown.

She ran the derby headquarters, two hours in the morning and two hours at night, and coordinated the volunteers. He would watch, stepping in occasionally to help. “I hung out at the derby headquarters to be with her,” Mr. Smith said. “I think I was there just about every night.”

Ban Striped Bass Catch Method, Island Fishermen Tell the State

Two leading Island recreational fishing organizations have called on the state Division of Marine Fisheries to end the controversial practice known as yo-yoing, which laces bait fish with lead that ends up in the bellies of striped bass.

Fall Classic Ends

Fall Classic Ends

A junior angler won the 19-foot Boston Whaler. A fisherman whose name has been well known on the leader board through the years won the 2008 Chevy Silverado truck. A husband and wife team who are weighmasters retired. A controversy flared up and just as quickly died down, offering an eye-opening educational moment on a striped bass baiting technique known as yo-yoing. A record number of fish were weighed in.

Bass Derby Opens With Plenty of Fish; One Lucky Angler Posts Grand Slam

Opening day at the 2007 Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby was a smash, including the recording of a first day grand slam by Capt. Tom Langman of Menemsha, likely a first day record. Derby president Ed Jerome said of the slam: “We don’t keep records for that but I don’t ever remember it happening on the first day. Certainly we’ve had one-day grand slams before but they are rare.”

Intensity of Derby Grows

Oh boy, what a derby this is.

The second week produced at least two records as eager anglers produced leader changes on a daily basis in most categories.

Discussion of the sheer number of grand slams, including flyrod grand slams and a grand slam on opening day, almost tore the attention of Chris Scott away from a school of false albacore breaking 150 yards away from the weigh-in shed on Monday morning.

Documentary on the Derby Premieres Today on MVTV

New Hampshire advertising agency executive David Flood has produced a documentary on Vineyard life and the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby.

The hour-long color film, Feeding the Water, will premiere today at 7 p.m. on MVTV and will run on the station through the remainder of the derby. Mr. Flood filmed for five weeks during the 2006 derby.

Bass and Bluefish Derby Begins; First Weigh-in Sunday Morning

Roy Langley, weigh master for the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, will ring a cowbell at 8 a.m. sharp Sunday morning.

Once that cowbell rings, at the entrance to the official derby headquarters at the foot of Main street in Edgartown, the Vineyard will become an entirely different place.

From that moment on, derby participants can bring in their fish to be weighed in the month-long contest that galvanizes the Island every year.