Every fall, the island of Martha's Vineyard is seized by fish fever as one of the East Coast’s best known saltwater fishing tournaments gets underway.
Started in 1946 as a promotional event and run since 1987 by a non-profit organization composed largely of local fishermen, the Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby attracts anglers from all over the world. The 71st annual derby concluded on Oct. 15. See highlights of derby history at the Vineyard Gazette's Time Machine.
Fishermen vie for awards and bragging rights for the biggest catch caught from the shore or from a boat. In addition to the striped bass and bluefish, the tournament covers bonito and false albacore. Anglers under 15 compete in the junior division.
Crowds gather twice a day at the weigh-in shack by the Edgartown Yacht Club as the daily and weekly leaderboards are updated. At the end of the tournament, the top fishermen in eight divisions have a chance at grand prizes, including a truck and a boat.
A true community event, the derby sponsors a program that provides fish to the Island’s elderly population and each year provides four-year college scholarships to Island youth.
For more information about the derby, go to mvderby.com.