From the Vineyard Gazette edition of Oct. 18, 1946:
The Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass Derby wound up in a blaze of glory at noon on Tuesday when the last fish were entered for weighing, and the Martha’s Vineyard Rod and Gun Club held open house for all entrants, with dinner served in the club rooms in the evening before the prizes were awarded.
A weary group of committeemen, of judges and of sports writers from far and near, gave a concerted sigh of relief, but in the same breath, acclaimed the derby one of the finest ever staged, and successful to the final detail in every respect. The talk of the day centered around next year’s derby, and the declaration was oft repeated that the derby is to be an annual event, the fame of which will continue to spread as it has started to do this season.
The possibilities of this Vineyard bass derby unlimited, as viewed from the present aspect, now that all figures have been tabulated and the returns are in, as it were. For a while it fell short of expectations in certain respects, it exceeded all hopes in others, and altogether, provided the Vineyard with a wealth of publicity and favorable advertising that would be difficult to duplicate.
Admittedly the entry list was not what was hoped for. Nearly a thousand total, was the way the committee expressed it. But the area represented by these entries was widespread. Two-thirds of the entrants were from the mainland, representing twenty-nine states and the territory of Ontario. Approximately one-half of these came from outside the state of Massachusetts, and this group applies only to the registered entrants in the derby. Actually there were many sport fishermen cruising in boats about the Island, or quartered ashore, who fished throughout the period but who did not register at all.
Again, the figures on the fish weighed in for prizes is misleading. The total number weighed in was 580, but the total number taken by contestants in the derby was in excess of 2,000. How many were taken by nonregistered fisherman during the derby period is not known, but the number was impressive, to judge by the trips marketed by some of the boats in the vicinity.
On the home side of the picture, the committee and the active promoters of the derby felt that they had truly done their part. There was a total of $3,425 included in the prize money, and 310 prizes in merchandise, consisting of sporting goods, the vacation at the Harborside Inn, with all bills paid, together with air transportation to and from New York, a dingy, and various other valuable articles, estimated to total, with the cash, around $8,000 given out in prizes to the winners of daily and derby prizes.
Of the fishing itself, and the conduct of the entrants, together with possible benefits to the Island, there is much to be said. M. Martin Gouldey, general chairman, said that “there has not been one single act committed during the derby that could be called “unsportsmanlike.” This is a tribute to the visitors who came to the Island. Opinion as to how much money was left by the entrants is varied. Some business men have claimed a considerable patronage from the visitors, others none at all, which was to have been expected.
In the list of prize-winners, it is seen that while the native fishermen made a good showing, both in the daily record and the derby prizes, the majority of the latter were taken by visitors, and the grand prize was included in this visitors’ list, as the committee had hoped would be the case. There are 37 derby prizes listed in the awards, meaning those awarded for the ultimate results of the 30 day period. Of these, 21 were taken by visitors, and 16 by Islanders.
Outstanding above all others, from any point of view, was the achievement of L.D. (Pop) Adam, of Chicago, who won the first prize for the largest fish taken with a fly rod, using light tackle. Mr. Adam landed a 14-pound, four ounce fish, in the rough waters of Devil’s Bridge Ledge, with a fly rod, carrying a three-ounce tip, and using a 10-pound test line.
Turkey and striped bass, with all the trimmings, were served at the Rod and Gun Club on Tuesday night to a small army of visitors, and the prizes were awarded on the spot. The majority of the derby prize winners were present, including Gordon Pittman of New York, grand prize winner, who flew to the Island in order to be present.
The door prize, a fine surf-casting reel, was won by Robert H. Hughes. M. Martin Gouldey, chairman of the general committee, acted as toastmaster, and called on all representatives of the press to speak to the gathering. They responded with brief remarks or fish stories.
Should any derby contestant be in doubt as to whether or not he won a prize, M. Martin Gouldey can now give the desired information, as he has the records and is arranging for complete distribution of the great number of prizes still to be delivered to the respective winners.
Compiled by Alison Mead