Fishing slowed to a trickle this past weekend for the participants in the 63rd annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby. And the rainy, windy weather didn’t help.
Some of the 2,000 anglers may have been out there, but few came home with dinner. Weighmaster Roy Langley said he weighed in half a dozen fish a day through the weekend. Mr. Langley shares weighmaster duties with Charlie Smith, who works the scales at night.
The fish may have been in the ocean, but with so much precipitation around it was difficult making a distinction between the ocean below and the skies above.
Yesterday morning, fishermen were all over the Big Bridge on Beach Road. But only a few, if any, weighed in a fish.
At 9:45 a.m., Casey Breeds, 30 of Holden walked in to the weigh station at the foot of Main street with his striped bass, a 17.34-pounder he caught from the shore. Mr. Breeds said he came to the Vineyard to fish with friends and the weather was just part of his fishing experience. A security worker in a mainland hospital, Mr. Breeds said he spent the weekend wearing waders and a dry top. He hooked the striper with a needlefish lure.
Minutes after Mr. Breeds weighed in his fish, another angler came in with a bluefish.
Prior to the weekend of tropical showers, Ralph J. Peckham took the lead for the largest bluefish caught from the shore. Mr. Peckham’s fish weighed 14.05 pounds.
Mr. Langley said he is amazed at how quiet the derby could get with the weather. The largest Atlantic bonito caught from the shore weighed 3.76 pounds and was caught by Donald R. Sicard at the start of the contest in mid-September. Mr. Langley said it is unusual for such a small fish to prevail as a leader so long into the derby. A total of 88 bonito have been weighed in at derby headquarters. Compare that to the more plentiful 606 bluefish, the 138 false albacore or the 222 striped bass.
With only 19 days left in the fishing contest, derby competition is expected to heat up in the days ahead. There are two weekends left in the derby.
Registration is $45 for adults interested in joining either the spinning reel or the flyrod contest.
Mr. Breeds said he had to go back to work on the mainland but was making plans to come back again next weekend. Hopefully the weather will be as good as his fishing.