A 10-year-old won this year’s annual fluke fishing contest, held last weekend. Nathaniel Packer, of Tisbury, caught a 10.1-pound fluke which more than eclipsed anything caught by the 139 other participants in this year’s contest. Youth, persistence and luck overshadowed age and experience when it came to the grand prize.
The 12th annual fishing derby, primarily a boat fishing contest, is put on by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9261 and a group of volunteers. Peter Herrmann, past commander, and chairman of the contest, was pretty pleased by this year’s results. Mr. Herrmann and others first proposed the contest to promote fishing for children and to get them out on the water with their parents. Young Mr. Packer was a perfect grand prize winner.
The winning angler was out fishing with his 12-year-old brother, David, and eight-year-old sister, Charlotte, and their parents, John and Janet Packer. Also onboard was Shane Metters and his brother, Devon. They fished both Saturday and Sunday. David Packer picked up a third in the under-12 category for a 4.4-pound fish.
Fluke, also called summer flounder, are a wonderful Vineyard fish. These fish swim into Vineyard waters through the summer and are caught daily by the hundreds of pounds by draggers fishing out of Menemsha. They have the nickname of doormat, and you have only to catch a big one to understand why. They are a flounder, with two eyes on one side of the head. Among some cooks they are called Vineyard sole. Quite tasty, they are served often in local restaurants and available fresh in local fish markets.
The contest also recognizes the value of black sea bass and gives a prize to the biggest. Luke Mercier caught a 4.2-pounder.
The winners of the contest are as follows: Grand Prize: Nathaniel Packer. Men: 1, Mike Jackson, 8.9 pound; 2, Rick Harvey, 8.7; 3, Calvin Tomkins, 8. Women: 1, Nina Patterson, 8; 2, Bev Bergeron, 5.8; 3, Holly Mercier, 4.9. Teens, aged 13 to 16: 1, Chris Perry, 5.9; 2, Tony Canha, 5.7; 3, Damon Hardison, 5.4. Kids 12 and under: 1, Nathaniel Packer, 10.1; 2, Corbin Buchwald, 7.3; 3, David Packer, 4.4; 4, Oliver Metters 4.4; 5, Tate Buchwald.
Team winner: Solemen: 1, Cooper Gilkes; 2, Rick Harvey with a total weight of 51.4 pounds.