Fish tales long and tall, speculation about who will win the truck and the boat, reflections on a tough contest for fishing this year. A last fish weighed in. And then a bell rang and the 68th annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby came to an end Saturday night.
Fishermen of all ages and family members mingled for the last weigh in at derby headquarters at the foot of Dock street in Edgartown. A light rain fell outside. Weighmaster Mike Cassidy took a large shore-caught striped bass from Tom Barber of Chappaquiddick. The bass tipped the scale at 23.15 pounds.
Stephen J. Pietruska, who leads the derby with the largest striped bass caught from a boat, a 39.94-pound fish, stopped by with his wife Sharon and family, and a small bonito. Mr. Pietruska is a retired firefighter from Fall River. He has placed well in the derby for several years and won last year with the largest striped bass.
Eddy Gude, 10, of West Tisbury weighed in an 8.58-pound false albacore, caught from a boat. He fished with his father Anthony.
Bob Clay, who is responsible for providing the derby’s grand prize of a Chevy Silverado, is eligible to win the truck this year Now, semi retired and living on Chappaquiddick, he and his wife Fran founded Clay dealerships and have fished the derby for years. Mr. Clay caught the largest bonito (11.49 pounds) from a boat.
The last fish came in ten minutes before 10 p.m. It was a 7.74-pound bluefish caught by Richard Cascarino of West Tisbury. Mr. Cascarino caught the blue from a boat on Hedge Fence, a shoal northeast of Oak Bluffs. He said he caught the fish at 5 p.m. It was the only fish he caught all day.
At 10 p.m. Victoria Scott rang the bell, marking the closing of the weigh in station and the end of the annual derby.
The derby awards ceremony will be held today at 1 p.m. at the Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs. Doors open at 12:30 p.m.