In the last weeks of the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, Steve Purcell got phone calls from around the Vineyard — and around the country. “They asked me, where was I?” Mr. Purcell said.

Top tackle shop fishermen were leading the contest. Cooper A. Gilkes 3rd, owner of Coop’s Bait and Tackle Shop was on the leader board for a first, having caught a large shore striped bass, which later dropped to second place. Stephen Morris of Dick’s Bait and Tackle Shop was on the board for catching the largest shore bluefish. On Sunday, he won a boat.

So where was Mr. Purcell?

“I told them I am too busy helping other people catch fish,” he laughed. Mr. Purcell, who is also a charter captain, was out on the water and away from his phone. And plenty of his clients made the derby leaderboard. There was one hat trick, and a few junior and senior anglers got dailies. One of his customers earned $400 on the weekend for catching a big false albacore.

Mr. Purcell, 44, is the owner of Larry’s Tackle Shop in Edgartown. “Some people call me Larry,” he quipped.

Mr. Purcell has owned the store for four years; he started working at the shop in 1989 when it was owned by Ruth Meyer. Back then, the store was on Lower Main street. “She taught me everything I know,” Mr. Purcell said of Ms. Meyer.

Mr. Purcell seems to have found his own niche among tackle shops on the Island.

And oh, by the way, he may have the last word when it comes to fishing contests. Mr. Purcell runs Octoberfish — the other fishing contest, far smaller than the derby but a contest nonetheless that was started by Ms. Meyer many years ago. For a $30 registration fee, fishermen compete for prizes in both boat and shore categories. The contest ends on the last day of October. This year, there are 76 fishermen registered, and with the weather just now turning fall-like, they may see the best fishing of the season.

Earlier this week Mr. Purcell could be found out on his 29-foot center-console boat called Short Fuse.

“This is my favorite office,” he declared. His other favorite office is up a tree during deer hunting season.

On Tuesday afternoon under a deep blue October sky and in a light swell, Mr. Purcell headed out of the Edgartown harbor in pursuit of fish. He had seen schoolies off Cape Pogue earlier in the morning during a charter. Flocks of birds hovered over the water, following the bait.

“The water temperature is wicked warm,” Mr. Purcell observed.

He pointed to a school of albies breaking nearby. By the time he had arrived, the school had relocated. “They move around so fast,” he said. “It is absolutely amazing to me.”

The charter fishing community stays connected out on the water via cell phones, text messages and the more traditional marine radio. “We help each other out,” Mr. Purcell said.

Back in the tackle shop, Mr. Purcell said there is a different kind of connectedness, not only with the customers but with his staff. He gave special credit to his team of Ron Domurat, Julian Pepper, Donald McGillivray, Evan Jones and Carlin Floyd.

Jeremey P. Mercier, 15, of Edgartown has earned the name Larry Junior, a name he sometimes shares with another avid young fisherman and tackle shop regular, Donald O’Shaughnessy Jr.

“Some are employees and some are wharf rats,” Mr. Purcell said.

At the derby awards ceremony Sunday, Mr. Mercier won a new bicycle for catching a 9.8-pound false albacore from the shore.

On Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Purcell was busy working with both fishermen and hunters.

One hunter was in the shop checking his bow. In the back of a car outside was a deer that had been killed in the opening week of archery season.

Then Jeff Komarinetz of Edgartown arrived carrying a 26.85-pound striped bass that made him the new boat leader in Octoberfish.

“Make sure you tell them it was a fish caught from a kayak,” Mr. Komarinetz told this reporter. Why is he fishing Octoberfish? “I know everybody in it,” he replied.