Derby Days

Here are some things to like about September:

Still mornings beneath a blanket of ground fog. Burnished sunsets that flood the kitchen with golden light, sadly right around the supper hour these days. Quiet evenings broken only by the urgent noise of geese in flight overhead. Beetlebung trees, their dusky greens and scarlets brushing the moist woodlands with painterly hues and making colorful patterns as they drop into freshwater streams. Sweet corn from the farm stands that is like new love — you foolishly, recklessly hope it will never end. Revisiting Red Sox Nation — no passport required, just a passion for the game.

And then of course there is the Vineyard’s national pastime: fishing.

The sixty-second annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby began on Sunday. And anglers are now part of any Island landscape sketch, silhouetted against the shoreline at dusk and again before dawn, out in boats of every description, casting lures and flies into the deep currents of Nantucket Sound, the famed riptides off Wasque and the new hot spot for fishing this year — the breach at Katama.

Just as fishing is part of the Vineyard heritage, the derby is part of the Vineyard lifestyle. For one month Islanders of every stripe will reshape the schedule of their daily lives around the tides. Dinner may be sandwiches and a thermos of coffee packed alongside some bait and a box of lures for an early evening of fishing. Shiny new graphite rods take their place alongside tools, lawn mowers and lumber in the backs of pickup trucks driven by contractors. Work that may have been left undone for months at a house in some remote shoreside location suddenly rockets to the top of the priority list.

And why not? Derby days only come once a year. Time to go out and try to catch the big one.