Fatal Attraction

There is endless fascination about sharks, and the Monster Shark Tournament staged annually every July by the Boston Big Game Fishing Club has long been an attraction for people of all stripes — shark lovers, scientists, protesters and the just plain curious. For two days at the height of summer, Oak Bluffs is transformed as huge crowds pour in to witness the spectacle.

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No Bait, No Weight, No Problem, Fly Fisherman Enjoy the Derby
Ivy Ashe

David Nash of Edgartown was in the process of explaining how artificial fly lures are made when a neighboring fisherman’s rod bowed toward the water. A distinct whirring sound zipped through the air and the angler’s line raced out into Edgartown Harbor.

Mr. Nash looked up.

“That’s the sound of an albie.”

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Commercial Bluefish Season Ends
Mark Alan Lovewell
The commercial season for bluefish ended on Wednesday. The closure came when fisheries experts determined that the 2012 annual commercial Massachusetts quota of 692,986 pounds was taken.
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Nautical Twilight
Mark Alan Lovewell

Capt. David Dutra, 67, of the 60-foot Eastern Rig dragger Richard & Arnold, fished for fluke for most of this summer out of Menemsha. His 88-year-old fishing boat is an unmistakable old black wooden dragger that smells and looks like something out of another era. It is a handsome boat, the last of its kind, not unlike the captain. Richard & Arnold, out of Provincetown, is but one of a very few working wooden fishing boats left on the East Coast. They make neither the boat, nor the captain like they used to.

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Young, Tagged Flounders Released
Mark Alan Lovewell

Close to 5,000 tagged juvenile winter flounder will be released this week into Nashaquitsa Pond, following a two-year federally-funded study. Last week, crews involved in the project at the Wampanoag tribe’s hatchery overlooking Menemsha Pond spent two days tagging the fish they had raised in the hatchery since last spring. Each fish measured less than two inches in length.

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The Fishermen
Mark Alan Lovewell

Nelson C. Smith, 87, has had plenty of water pass under his keel. And observed many sharks off his bow. The retired Edgartown charter fishing captain, who has had many jobs on the waterfront, predicts an increase in shark sightings in Vineyard waters. As long as the seal population continues to rise around the Vineyard, Mr. Smith said he believes the seal’s worse predator, the great white shark, will also increase, as it seems to have done around Nantucket and certain areas of Cape Cod, according to recent reports. “More seals are showing up at Muskeget Channel.

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Governor Patrick Seeks Disaster Relief for Fishing Industry
Mark Alan Lovewell

Responding to Gov. Deval Patrick’s plea this week for federal disaster relief for Massachusetts commercial fishermen, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Commerce said that it remains committed to the fishery and is reviewing the governor’s request.

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The Fishermen
Mark Alan Lovewell
The American eel is in trouble. So says James Prosek, author of a widely- respected book on eels. Last week Mr. Prosek told the Vineyard Gazette that he thinks, “absolutely,” that the American eel should be listed as endangered.
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Gone Fishing

As if on cue for the sixty-seventh Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, the fish are running again.

There was a bluefish feeding frenzy at the Cape Pogue gut late one afternoon last week, one of those churning blitzes where you could throw out an old shoe and catch a fish. And out on Nantucket Sound, boats have been lined up like summer traffic at Five Corners as fishermen chase the silvery schools of bonito now flashing through the cooling saltwater. There are reports of stripers being caught on the north shore.

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Cod Woes
Mark Alan Lovewell

It is indeed bad news to see that cod, once the most abundant fish in our waters, continues to have a hard time. Despite huge efforts on the part of fishermen and scientists to come up with a mix of fishing and conservation, the stocks continue to have problems recovering from historically-low numbers.

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