By MARK ALAN LOVEWELL
Recreational anglers are seeing the best fishing for early summer. Water temperatures remain on the cool side, so stripers and bluefish are still within reach for shoreside angling. Doug Asselin at Dick’s Bait and Tackle Shop, a store in Oak Bluffs, said bluefish were caught during the day at the beach at Right Fork in Katama. This creates a little bit of a challenge, since the swimming season has started.
Mr. Asselin said shiny metal lures and poppers riding the surface worked best for these ferocious oceanic fish. Blues have also been reported swimming around the Island.
Striped bass remain in the cold waters of Vineyard Sound. They are being caught close to the shore late at night from Lobsterville to Dogfish Bar.
For anglers in need of encouragement, consider this tale.
Ally Moore of Oak Bluffs fished Dogfish Bar last Friday night. Mr. Moore is an avid, low-key and well-respected fly-fisherman. He fished for hours without a single hit.
Then, at about 10 p.m., his homemade fly was gobbled up by a 36-inch striped bass. Mr. Moore caught the fish using a black sand eel pattern fly.
He and his family had the fish for dinner on Saturday night, on the night Oak Bluffs had its first Summer Solstice fireworks. Which is the better memory?
When it comes to Vineyard Sound, Mr. Asselin said anglers are getting fluke working the bottom of Lucas Shoal with jigs.
The recreational season for fluke will be short this year. The season began on June 10 and it ends on August 15. Anglers are limited to a minimum size of 17.5 inches and a bag limit of five fish per day.
Recreational anglers are limited to a minimum of 28 inches on striped bass and the bag limit is two fish a day.
Stripers are still in Middle Ground.
For those boaters with the fuel, stripers are swimming near the shallow waters of Devil’s Bridge under the Gay Head lighthouse.
“There were a lot of fish out there but most of them were small,” Mr. Asselin said of the start of the season. “Now there are less fish but they are bigger.”
The start of the commercial season for striped bass is still two weeks away. The season begins on Sunday, July 13.
One of New England’s most celebrated Coast Guardsmen has retired. Master Chief Petty Officer John Downey, 60, retired from the Coast Guard last Friday in a big celebration at Point Judith. The mariner may not have worked directly at the Menemsha Coast Guard Station, but his efforts were appreciated by Coast Guardsmen around this region.
Wayne Iacono of Chilmark, a former Coast Guardsman, attended the retirement ceremony.
“Usually a Coast Guardsman might serve for 20 years, but this guy worked for over 40 years,” Mr. Iacono said. Mr. Iacono said he had the highest regard for the man and his service along the seaboard.
Mr. Downey is credited with saving more than 600 people during his career. Since 2006, he has served as First District master chief in Boston.
Robert E. Kinnecom of Oak Bluffs, a local Coast Guard enthusiast, also knows the man by his reputation. Mr. Kinnecom said: “I think he is a great guy, and I heard he was a tremendous bosun.” Mr. Kinnecom, 77, served at the old Gay Head Coast Guard station.
Mr. Downey is the first recipient of the Joshua James Keeper Award in 2003 and with it, he has earned the title, The Ancient Keeper.
The Menemsha Coast Guard station has reason to be celebrating for its own achievements, though with some degree of sweet sorrow.
One of Menemsha Coast Guard station’s finest boat engineers recently received a national award for his service to the station and the Coast Guard. Michael A. Micucci is the recipient of the Fireman First Class Paul Clark Boat Forces Engineering Award. The award is given only once a year within the Coast Guard.
For Senior Chief Stephen Barr, who had the privilege of notifying Mr. Micucci of the significant award, it was kind of hard.
“We found out on Monday, June 9 that it had been announced and he was the recipient,” the senior chief said. But by then Mr. Micucci was already en route to another part of the country, off to work at a Coast Guard station in Honolulu. When the senior chief got the word and tried to reach Mr. Micucci, the recipient was driving across the cornfields of Nebraska headed towards the West Coast to his new assignment. The Menemsha station had to celebrate in his honor without him.
According to documentation tied to the award: “Assigned to Coast Guard Station Menemsha as the engineering petty officer, Mr. Micucci and his crew have expertly maintained all engineering programs and certification on all Station Menemsha assets. His work ethic and attention to detail inspires not only the entire station crew, but also peers and superiors through the region.”
A team from the Nantucket Anglers’ Club outperformed the Martha’s Vineyard Surfcasters Association team at the first Inter-Island Shore Fishing Tournament held last weekend here. Fourteen fishermen participated in the contest, seven from Nantucket and seven from the Vineyard.
Charlie Barr of Oak Bluffs, an organizer of the tournament, called the contest a success. They’ll do it again next year on Nantucket.
Lines went in the water as early as 12:01 a.m. Saturday morning and the contest ended with lines out of the water at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
Mr. Barr said the anglers fished the whole Island. “We had people fishing under the lighthouse at Aquinnah,” he said. “And we had people fishing under the lighthouse at Cape Pogue.” Plus, there were a lot of special places in between.
No live bait was used. Mr. Barr said the most successful lures were Danny plugs and Kastmaster lures. “Nantucket just happened to get bigger fish,” Mr. Barr said.
The results of the tournament are as follows: Largest striped bass: Dianna White of Nantucket, 20 pounds, 7 ounces. Largest bluefish: Ralph Hardy and Jerry Smith, both from Nantucket, 6 pounds each.
Most striped bass caught, eight, Victor Colantonio of Chappaquiddick.
The team that caught the most fish: Charlie Barr, Ralph Hardy, Chuck Hodgkinson of the Vineyard and Jerry Smith of Nantucket.
The winner of the trophy is the Nantucket Anglers’ Club. That club’s total weight was 54 pounds, 6 ounces; Martha’s Vineyard Surfcasters Association had 24 pounds, 4 ounces.
Mr. Barr said the Nantucket anglers returned home with a pretty nice-looking trophy that they get to keep until next year. Mr. Barr said: “They get to keep it until we win it back.”
Tina Barr, the wife of Charlie Barr, attended the anglers’ reception and awards ceremony that was held at the Lookout Tavern on Sea View avenue on Sunday afternoon.
“I was impressed by the camaraderie and good will that was generated by everyone,” she said. “That is what impressed me the most. It was almost a storybook fishing tournament.”