As the 68th Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby enters its final days, the bonitos and false albacores have arrived in full force.
All three of the top boat bonitos were caught in the past week, with Bob Clay’s 11.49-pound fish leading the division. Several large albies have also made their way to headquarters. Sam Bell currently stands in first place in the boat-caught albie division with a 13.24-pound catch.
Stephen Pietruska, last year’s division winner, remains in first place in the boat-caught bass category with his 38.24-pound fish; his son is in third place in the division. Jena Beauregard’s 34.63-pound bass is still tops for shore-caught stripers.
And the grand slam competition is heating up; 21 contestants and four junior anglers have weighed in slams so far. Cooper Gilkes landed the lone shore slam. Art Crago and Andrew Moore each have flyrod slams. In the all-tackle boat division, David Kadison and Mark Morris have been dueling for the top spot for much of the derby. Earlier this week, Bill Potter threw his name into the hat. Mr. Kadison and Mr. Potter are now separated by just .05 pounds on the leaderboard, with total catches of 55.35 pounds and 55.30 pounds, respectively. Mr. Morris’s total catch is 54.95.
But during weigh-in Wednesday, Josh Flanders shook up the grand slam board by weighing in a 34.36-pound striper to jump into first place by more than six pounds.
Still, two days remain to find the fish that will complete the slam or win the division. The final derby bell rings at 10 p.m. on Saturday night. The awards ceremony will be held at Farm Neck Golf Club at 1 p.m. on Sunday. All are invited to attend. A green backpack containing flyrod gear was lost on Chappaquiddick on Wednesday night. If found, please return to derby headquarters.