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.

These are the benchmarks of the sixty-second annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, which ended on a high note at Outerland on Sunday with a festive awards ceremony that saw thousands of dollars handed out in prizes and thousands more in scholarship money for graduating seniors at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School next spring. Eight-year-old Donald O’Shaughnessey had the special honor of ringing the final bell.

The fishing was good this year, in fact better than good. Monster stripers, huge bluefish and dozens of bonito and false albacore were pulled from the cold saltwater rips and currents that surround the Island. It all added up to plenty of food for the dinner table, and for the soul.

The derby is the Vineyard’s Fall Classic, and as it comes to an end there is always that wistful bit of sadness, the wish that it could linger just a little longer, like a good book or a weekend spent with an old friend.

But just like the one that got away — there is always next year.