Veterans Enjoy Derby Battle With Fish
Mark Alan Lovewell

Rahul Harpalani caught his first fish ever, a striped bass, on Tuesday. The 24-year-old active duty first lieutenant with the Army had a smile on his face like no one else on Menemsha charter captain Scott McDowell’s boat. Out fishing a mile south of Squibnocket, Mr. Harpalani was having the time of his life. “It is so serene out here,” he said.

“Now you are a fisherman,” said Joe Bennett, a 70-year-old veteran from Maine, who sat beside him.

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Changing Catch Patterns in Stripers
Mark Alan Lovewell

With the start of the 65th annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby just days away, fishermen are concerned about the health of the centerpiece fish, striped bass, in these waters and along the coast.

There is perhaps not a fish more watched by commercial and recreational fishermen, not to mention scientists, than the striped bass. The fish is the swimming equivalent of the American eagle.

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Author Casts Lines on Past, Future for Fish
Peter Brannen

One evening when author Paul Greenberg was 10 years old his father dropped him off at Menemsha. That night he would pull six glistening iridescent squeteague from the waters around the jetty.

“I thought I was going to be rich beyond my wildest dreams,” Mr. Greenberg said in an interview at the same spot on Wednesday.

Everett Poole of Poole’s Fish Market sat Mr. Greenberg down and told him he would take the fish off his hands for 65 cents a pound. It was the first fish he ever sold.

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Whither Striped Bass?
Mark Alan Lovewell

The commercial striped bass season ended last Monday and Alec Gale of West Tisbury said it was the worst season he has seen in the six years he has been hauling fish to the mainland for the local anglers. “It was a slow season, and it wasn’t because of overfishing,” Mr. Gale said. “I think it was a lack of bait and the warm water temperature.”

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Fluke, Bass Season Ends

Fluke, Bass Season Ends

Striped bass and fluke are a prime item this weekend in fish markets and in restaurants. And that will be it for the season. Due to the fact that state quotas have been met, the commercial striped bass season will close on Monday, August 23, and the commercial fluke season will close on Wednesday, August 25. The state estimates the 1.12 million-pound quota for striped bass and 846,667-pound quota for fluke have been met. Fish markets will likely have fish for a few days after the fishery closes.

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Eat, Fish, Love: Shore Up on Wild Food
Mark Alan Lovewell

FOUR FISH: The Future of the Last Wild Food. By Paul Greenberg. Penguin Press, New York, N.Y. July 2010. 304 pages. $25.95, hardcover.

The title is too narrow. Don’t think for a moment this is a book only about salmon, cod, bass and tuna. The book goes beyond the history and plight of four fish, to our hunger for fresh fish of all kinds. For anyone who wonders where the swordfish went, how we emerged from the collapse of the whale fishery, or simply which fish is safe to order at the restaurant, Four Fish offers much.

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Crab Hunt
Mark Alan Lovewell

Blue crab is a Vineyard seafood delicacy. For many years, the idea of eating blue crab here was kept quiet among those who knew where to find them. They were the Vineyard’s secret seafood.

But increasing awareness of the health of the Island’s great ponds has moved the topic above a whisper; the only secret now is where.

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Elusive Bonito
Mark Alan Lovewell

It should be bonito season. The water is warm, well into the 70s. There are plenty of sand eels swimming near the shoreline and there are plenty of terns overhead feeding. The bonito should be here. But they mostly aren’t.

Edgartown charter captains are catching some around Muskeget Channel. Rob Morrison, who works at Coop’s Bait and Tackle Shop, said they are also catching bonito at Hedge Fence.

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Hope is the Thing With Scales
Paul Greenberg
In 1978 all the fish I cared about died. They were the biggest largemouth bass I had ever seen, and they lived in a pond ten minutes’ walk from my house on a large estate in the backwoods of Greenwich, Connecticut, perhaps the most famously wealthy town in America. We did not own the house, the estate, the pond, or the largemouth bass, but I still thought of the fish as my fish. I had found them, and the pond was my rightful hunting ground.
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Rare Weirs
Mark Alan Lovewell

The Vineyard has no fish weirs these days. The trapping technique, catching fish by way of corralling them against walls of branches, timber and spiles strewn with nets, is no longer used here.

On Wednesday afternoon, however, Jonathan James-Perry, 33, a storyteller and historian with the Aquinnah Cultural Center, gave a talk about the use of fish weirs by the Wampanoag Indians of this region. In a time when the ocean was bubbling with a lot more fish than are there now, a fish weir was an effective way to catch fish.

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