A self-described “eel slinger” who had won the derby twice before and an avid angler from Carver were the grand winners in this year’s 66th annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby which came to a close last weekend.

More than 100 fishermen received awards at a joyfully raucous ceremony Sunday night at Nectar’s. But it was Stephen C. Morris and Richard A. Penney who took home the two top prizes.

Steve Morris
Steve Morris wins the 22-foot eastern outboard. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Mr. Morris, of Oak Bluffs, won the drawing for a brand new 22-foot Eastern boat and outboard and trailer, having caught the largest bluefish from shore on Monday, October 10. The fish weighed 14.86 pounds.

Mr. Penney, of Carver, won a 2011 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck for having caught the largest striped bass from a boat. His fish was caught Sunday, October 2, in the month-long contest and weighed 46.15 pounds.

junior winners
Junior winners line up for their prizes at awards ceremony Sunday. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Four of the leading shore fishermen participated in a drawing for the boat. Four of the leading boat fishermen drew for the truck.

The airport nightclub was packed with multiple generations of anxious fishermen, their friends and relatives, many enjoying cold beer and dining on Flatbread pizza. The affair included plenty of applause and high praise. In making awards, derby committee members Mike Cassidy and Robert Lane each tried their hand at being comedians to keep the spirited crowd’s attention.

Ed Jerome, president of the derby, presided over the drawing. He praised the efforts of a lot of volunteers, sponsors and the more than 2,700 fishermen participating in the 35-day fishing contest that began Sunday, September 11, and ended the night before. A total of 1,163 bluefish were weighed in, 461 striped bass, 331 false albacore and 248 bonito. The weigh-in headquarters was at the foot of Main street in Edgartown.

Beauleu Loud Award ceremony winners
Leaders of the pack: top winners in the derby are a fishy lineup. — Mark Alan Lovewell

On learning that he had won the new boat, Mr. Morris stood before the microphone and thanked the derby for being a wonderful institution that he has been a part of since youth.

“All of you make it happen,” he said, looking out over the audience.

Mr. Morris has been a multiple top winner of the derby. He won the derby in 2000 and again in 1983 for having caught the largest striped bass from the shore. His son Christopher, at the age of 13, won the derby and a brand new 19-foot Boston Whaler in 2007 which he named “Lucky Blue,” after the shore fish he caught.

Mr. Morris, who said he described himself as an “eel slinger,” told the Gazette his fish and his son’s fish were caught in different places on the Island. He said he caught his fish with his friend and coworker at his tackle shop, Matt Malowski.

David Pothier award
David Pothier inducted into Derby Hall of Fame. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Mr. Morris said he has yet to come up with a name for his new boat, though he has every intention of picking a name that would rival his son’s boat name.

Mr. Penney is no stranger to the waterfront. Chuck Hodgkinson, chairman of the derby, said Mr. Penney was an avid angler who fished out of Onset and would frequently come into Menemsha with his father.

Other top winners included: Charles J. Ogletree, for the largest bluefish caught from a boat, 15.50 pounds; Steve G. Pierson, for the largest striped bass caught from the shore, 34.92; Domingo P. Canha, for the largest bonito caught on a boat, 9.79 pounds; Pedro Guzman, for the largest bonito caught from shore, 7.39 pounds, Jaemon Gilies for the largest false albacore, 14.77 pounds; Alexander O. Bettencourt, for the largest false albacore caught from the shore, 15.38 pounds.

Though there were many awards given out to anglers with the biggest fish, there were other awards as well, including awards for conduct, to those who went a step beyond in sharing fellowship of fishing.

Domingo Canha Joseph
Brothers Canha: Joe and Domingo win Furino Award. — Mark Alan Lovewell

The El-Deiry family of Tisbury were recipients of the Beaulieu and Loud Memorial Award, an award given to the good sportsman fishing family. Luke El- Deiry, the son, won first place for the largest striped bass caught by a junior. The fish weighed 32.14 pounds. But it took the combined contributions of the rest of his family to earn a sporstsmanship award. His father, Joe, who fished with him often, was a member of the derby committee. Rebekah El-Deiry, his mother, helped with the Beach Plum Inn American Heroes Challenge, a fishing event that brings recovering wounded veterans out fishing. She also filleted evenings at the derby headquarters. His sister Isabella, helped at the headquarters on weekends with entering fishermen and their fish into the computer.

“Talk about a derby family,” Mr. Hodgkinson said.

Cooper Gilkes award
Sportsman Award goes to Cooper A. Gilkes 3rd. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Two grown fishing brothers, Joe Canha, 64 and his older brother Domingo (Mike) P., 67, received the David Furino Memorial award, a prize recognizing the spirit of fishing siblings. Through the month-long contest, fishing together, the two brothers each took turns leading the derby with the largest boat bonito. Domingo won with a 9.79 pound bonito. Joe ended up getting a third place for a 9.40 pound fish.

A truck and a boat weren’t the only big prizes. Two youngsters received bicycles in a drawing of top junior anglers, sponsored by Cutler Bikes: Michael Habekost, who led the junior category with the largest bluefish caught from the shore, 13.57 pounds; and Jeremy Mercier , who led with the largest false albacore (9.80 pounds), caught the day before, on the last morning of the contest.

Longtime friends to the derby and fishermen of all ages who like to fish in contests, Cooper A. Gilkes 3rd, may have been shut out of the drawing for the boat by first-place winner Steve Morris, but Mr. Gilkes and his wife Lela were recognized for their contribution to the sport. The two received and share the Martha’s Vineyard Surfcaster Association’s Sportsman Award.