• Mark Lovewell

In Vineyard Skies: Derby Stargazers

Stargazers make up a pretty good number of late night derby fishermen. Anyone who loves to catch bluefish and striped bass, will often venture out along the Island’s shore line at night. They’ll fish for hours at a time, some will fish all night. Ask anyone of them and they will report a treasured memory of seeing the Milky Way, a shooting star, or even the pretty moon hanging low over the horizon.

All these anglers are highly tuned into feeling a gentle nudge on the line. A fisherman’s hearing is acute. He is hoping to note any or a number of distant splashes in the water by an errant tail. An angler who is tuned into his environ pays attention to all aspects of the world around him.

A few of them are pumped up with caffeine from a hot cup of coffee from a hand-carried thermos. Many more anglers are just riding on the adrenaline of the moment. No matter what, we hear many speak of not only the fish they caught or got away, but also of their fascination with what they saw last night overhead.

Fishing isn’t just fishing, these night-time anglers are also practicing naturalists. With all that time at the end of a rod, there is plenty of reason to be out there enjoying a late summer, early autumn scene.

The bright planet hanging low in the southwestern sky after dusk is Jupiter, the brightest celestial object in the sky, other than the moon.

The ringed planet Saturn is farther south, just above the horizon in the early part of the evening. It sets later in the evening, following right behind Jupiter by a few hours.

Venus, the brightest planet in the sky, rises early in the morning well before the sun. By the time dawn arrives, Venus is high in the east.


Sunrise and Sunset
Day Sunrise Sunset
Fri., Sept. 29 6:35 6:27
Sat., Sept. 30 6:36 6:25
Sun., Oct. 1 6:37 6:24
Mon., Oct. 2 6:39 6:22
Tues., Oct. 3 6:40 6:20
Wed., Oct. 4 6:41 6:18
Thurs., Oct. 5 6:42 6:17
Fri., Oct. 6 6:43 6:15

Temperatures and Precipitation
Day Max (Fº) Min (Fº) Inches
Sept. 22 65 58 1.72
Sept. 23 63 60 0.04
Sept. 24 66 61 0.01
Sept. 25 75 60 0.01
Sept. 26 76 62 0.03
Sept. 27 77 65 0.01
Sept. 28 76 68 0.07


Water temperature in Edgartown harbor: 72º F


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