Little Anglers Land Big Catches
Megan Dooley

The Island’s youngest fish ermen were treated to a quiet, still morning last Saturday. The anglers came early to Duarte’s Pond in West Tisbury to compete in the annual spring Martha’s Vineyard Rod and Gun Club trout tournament. The club hosted the event with a large crew of volunteers. Youngsters were treated to hot dogs on the grill.

The club had stocked the pond with plenty of large trout, but it was the native pickerel that gave fishermen the best catch. Native catfish were also plentiful.

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Fishermen Feud Over Horseshoe Crab Protection
Mike Seccombe

Among all the species taken by fishermen in this part of the world, horseshoe crabs have, until now, enjoyed a dubious distinction: they were the only ones targeted while in the act of reproducing.

The easiest way for many to catch them was to walk the beaches at the times of the full and new moons in May and June and simply pick them up as they came into the shallows to spawn.

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Island Fishermen Attend Sector Meeting

Fishermen from Martha’s Vineyard, Bar Harbor, Jonesport and Swan’s Island gathered last month for the inaugural meeting of members of the Northeast Coastal Communities Sector.

Over a 6 a.m. breakfast in Stonington, Me., the group elected a governing board and made plans for the opening of this year’s groundfishing season. This historic event heralds the possibility of landing sizeable amounts of groundfish in eastern Maine for the first time in almost 20 years.

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Sengekontacket Pond Opens for Shellfishing After Three Summers
Mark Alan Lovewell

Summer shellfishermen will have access to Sengekontacket Pond for the first time in several years, so long as there isn’t a big rainstorm.

The State Division of Marine Fisheries has lifted the pond from a routine seasonal closure.

Sengekontacket Pond is overseen by the Edgartown and Oak Bluffs shellfish departments under the watchful eye of the state.

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Striped Bass Bill Dead in the Water
Mark Alan Lovewell

A state legislator’s effort to make striped bass a recreational fish only is dead for now. The state’s Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture has sent the proposal back for further study.

House Bill 796, filed by Falmouth representative Matthew C. Patrick, would have closed striped bass fishing to all but recreational fishermen. The bill was filed a year ago.

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Island Anglers Land Fair Share of Fishing Awards

Vineyard fishermen did well in the state’s annual saltwater fishing contest, with six Island anglers taking prizes at an event held on Valentine’s Day at the Eastern Fishing and Outdoor Exposition in Worcester.

The state keeps tallies for the largest fish taken in a wide array of categories from Jan. 1 to Nov. 30.

Helena Kirschenbaum of Oak Bluffs won in the women’s category for a 42-pound, six-ounce striped bass.

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Bill Is Called Not Fair Game
Mark Alan Lovewell

Don’t make striped bass a game fish. That was the message delivered last week by a group of Vineyard commercial bass fishermen who traveled to the state house in Boston to object to legislation that would do just that. The fishermen, most of them members of the Dukes County/Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Association, spoke out with one voice against House Bill 796.

More than 100 fishermen attended the hearing hosted by the Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture on Jan. 14.

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Vineyard Anglers to Fight State Plan To Ban Commercial Striped Bass Fishing
Mark Alan Lovewell

Hearings begin next week on legislation that would make striped bass an exclusively recreational fish in state waters.

The Massachusetts Striped Bass Conservation Bill, 796, filed a year ago by Falmouth state representative Matthew Patrick, has been debated among recreational and commercial fishermen for months.

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Mackerel Are Jumping, Herring Too
Mark Alan Lovewell

Last spring, when a local angler wanted to catch Atlantic mackerel in Vineyard waters he had to get in a boat and motor more than a mile off Gay Head. This week there is no need for the boat. For the first time in many years anglers are jigging for mackerel off Memorial Wharf in Edgartown and they are getting quite a few; some have caught enough for a holiday dinner. Plus, they are catching plenty of Atlantic herring.

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Fewer Fishermen, More Fluke, Season Fails to Hit State Quota
Mark Alan Lovewell

There apparently is a lot more Vineyard sole left to be fished.

For the first time, Massachusetts commercial fishermen failed this year to reach their quota for harvesting fluke. As a result, the commercial fluke fishery, which normally closes by the end of the summer, is still open.

Dan McKiernan, deputy director of the state Division of Marine Fisheries, called it a “success story.” But local fishermen said the facts are more complicated.

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