Surfcasters were the stars for this 33rd year of the Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby. The stripers were huge, and there were more big ones than anyone expected. In the pages of the daily derby records are entered 20 striped bass weighing more than 40 pounds each, and winning daily prizes. Seven of those fish weighed more than 50 pounds. In most past derbys, a 50-pound bass would be an easy winner. This year, a 52-pounder didn't finish in the top three. It is a derby of striper surprises.

Dick Hathaway, with his 60-pound, 2-ounce, shore-caught bass was the big winner of the grand derby award. Mr. Hathaway will travel on an expense paid trip to Duck Key, Fla. To compete in the Natural Light Beer / Motorboat Magazine Master Angler Tournament from Nov. 7 to Nov. 12. In addition, he received $500 cash spending money, $300 in derby fins, and a Penn International reel worth over $200.

Mr. Hathaway also won the award for heaviest combined weight of striped bass and bluefish: his blue of 12 pounds, 14 ounces and his big bass totaled 73 pounds.

The special derby award for outstanding sportsmanship went this year to Everett "Porkey" Francis of Edgartown. Pork is an experienced and enthusiastic local angler who also won second plaze overall in the boat bluefish division.

The awards were presented last Sunday afternoon at a special ceremony at the Harborside restaurant in Edgartown. Helen Scarborough, a seven year derby veteran, presided over the congenial crowd of fishermen, winners and watchers. The presentations began at 4 p.m. By 5:30, Mrs. Scarborough had cleared the long table of its trophies, certificates, and silver bowls. The last event of the 1978 fishing derby was over.

It was a thrilling derby, noted for big fish and many changed on the leader boards. 508 striped bass were entered, fewer than last year, although they were generally heavier fish. 820 bluefish were weighed in to bring the total fish entered this year to 1,328.

The program for distributing donated fish to the Island senior citizens was a great success due to the energy of derby manager Dan Hull and the many volunteers. Again this year, fish fillets were airlifted to the Blythedale Children's Hospital in Valhalla, N.Y., delivered by Leonard Green.

The final tally of donated fish was 12,240 pounds. Mr. Hull filleted many of those himself.

Last week Dan had a bad asthma attack which put him in the hospital and caused him to miss the end of the derby. The Vineyard hospital had received some of the free derby fish so Dan, recovering quickly, was treated to fresh-caught derby striped bass for his lunch.

This year's contest was smoothly and efficiently run. The formula for this success was agreeable cooperation from the derby fishermen and tireless work from the chamber of commerce staffers behind the desk at the weigh-in station. The derby officials, Helen Scarborough, Laura Weigle, Mae Deary, and Dan Hall, devoted a substantial amount of time, effort and patience for this month-long contest. The derby doors opened at 8:00 every morning for two hours, then again from 8:00 to 10:00 every night, seven days a week. The folks doing the paperwork behind the desk rarely finished their work before midnight, every night for 30 days. Their diligence made this year's derby a tremendous success.