Fewer fish were caught and released in the 18th annual Martha’s Vineyard Rod and Gun Club’s flyrod striped bass catch and release tournament last weekend than in the previous year’s contest. It may be the first time the number of fish caught and released was less than the number of anglers who entered the contest. There were a total of 146 striped bass and 193 flyfishermen.

Kevin Cooke caught and released the largest, which measured 43.5 inches in length. He caught it while fishing on Chappaquiddick — and he caught it within minutes of the end of the fishing at two o’clock in the morning. For his effort he received the Sonny and Joey Beaulieu trophy. Mr. Cooke fished with a team of anglers and they oversaw the key moment.

The catch and release tournament is usually a June fishing event. This year’s decision to move the contest to May emerged from the organizers’ concern about the moon tides. This weekend offers a big, fat, full Strawberry Moon. So the timing for tides was better last weekend than it will be this and next weekend.

But at the awards ceremony on Sunday, the fishermen all were expressing frustration at the lack of fish.

Some anglers hate the full moon, so having the event last weekend was fine. Some anglers aren’t deterred by the full moon, and even have a good time fishing under it.

But there was general concern that the numbers of striped bass in these waters have dropped over the years. Last year the anglers caught and released 270. In 2007, they caught and released 484 fish.

In 18 years of having the contest, the numbers don’t add up as they did. There is a declining trend in bass, but not anglers, so looking ahead it seems the fish hooked and released are going to be ever more precious.

Spring at the Oak Bluffs Steamship Authority wharf is usually a hotbed for underwater activity by young short striped bass and a few big ones. To the surprise of many, a report came back that the refurbished old wharf was quiet Saturday night. The waters along Oak Bluffs and down along State Beach into Edgartown also were quiet.

The tournament recognizes the anglers who can catch and release the most. The Roberto Germani trophy is named after an angler who was spirited in catch and release fishing.

1. Wuss Industries (Seth Nickerson, Jeff Iadonis, 20 fish) 10 average; 2, Green Mountain Stripping Baskets (Gerry Davis, Rob Mann, 12 fish) 6 average; 3, Team Visine (Pat Jenkinson, Jay Bodner, Mark Plante, 12 fish) 4 average; 4, Team Double-Haul (Wilson Kerr, Clint Eller, Chip Bergeron, 10 fish) 3.33 average.

There were fishermen who competed with just one fly. They operate at an extreme disadvantage. This year’s anglers were lucky to catch one fish, let alone catch more than one: 1. Last Cast (Tony DiRobbio, Ed Tatro and Jim Ehrhardt caught nine fish), 3 fish average; 2, No Name (Mike Wrabel and Jim Jackson caught three fish) 1.5 average; 3, Scurvy Seaslugs (Herbert Tilton and Jeremy Bradshaw caught 2 fish) 1 average; 4, Caddyshack (Mac Haskell and Charles Finnerty together caught 1 fish) 0.5 average.

Fishing Tournament

The 28th annual John Havlicek Celebrity Fishing Tournament began yesterday and it continues through the weekend. Headquarters for the event is at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown. Oak Bluffs harbor will host the visiting fleet of recreational fishing boats, as it has done for years.

The annual event is a fundraiser for the Genesis Fund, a nonprofit organization that seeks to raise money to fund specialized care for area children with birth defects and genetic diseases and mental retardation. John Havlicek, a celebrated Celtics legend, hosts, and his wife, Beth, helps to oversee the event.

In addition to fishing there is golf and an auction. Information about the event can be found at thegenesisfund.org.

Fluke Season

The commercial season for fluke begins next Wednesday but don’t go fishing for fluke unless you are a working fisherman with the license. This is an odd season. The commercial fishermen can take their 300-pound daily limit, but the recreational angler has to wait until the first day of July.

While there may be more fluke swimming in Vineyard waters than all of striped bass and bluefish combined, fluke, also called summer flounder, is still not a recovered fishery. Fisheries managers have set up a strict regimen of regulations around this fishery out of an overall concern that the recovery goals are met.