Fishing poles bobbed like reeds and voices were hushed early Sunday as children waited to claim their spots at the Oak Bluffs Steamship wharf for the annual kids derby day. Hannah Gibb, 13, was the overall winner with a 19.75-inch shark.
The 41st Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby will be held in Edgartown again this year, according to a release issued by the derby committee this week. And for the second year, the derby will not award prizes for the catching of striped bass.
The news release said: “Although local populations of striped bass were up in 1985, particularly school fish in the 20-to 30-inch range, the East Coast populations are still seriously depleted and need further protection.
There are few possessions that last 50 years on the Vineyard waterfront. A wooden boat may last only 10 years unless the owner takes good care of it. A fishing reel will fail in a few years if exposed to hard use and poor care, and a fishing rod may last a little longer.
In a sudden and dramatic shift of position, the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby dropped the threatened striper out of the fall tournament.
The announcement came yesterday in a formal statement released by the derby committee chairman Ed Jerome and puts to rest a running controversy that has plagued the derby for at least the last two years.
The decision to remove the striped bass from the derby comes after months of heated debate within the derby committee. The decision also follows a recent public letter from Leo P.
The striped bass, valued not only as a premier game fish but also as a commercial catch, is the subject of a three year, multi-million-dollar study by several federal agencies because of its apparently dwindling population.
The study is called a major undertaking by the officials of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service — the agencies directing a broad reaching survey of the striped bass.
Surfcasters were the stars for this 33rd year of the Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby. The stripers were huge, and there were more big ones than anyone expected. In the pages of the daily derby records are entered 20 striped bass weighing more than 40 pounds each, and winning daily prizes. Seven of those fish weighed more than 50 pounds. In most past derbys, a 50-pound bass would be an easy winner. This year, a 52-pounder didn't finish in the top three. It is a derby of striper surprises.
The 27th Vineyard Derby is turning into a family fishing outing with the Tiltons and the Hancocks leading the way. Jean Hancock and her husband, Herb, still lead the boat bluefish division, topped by her record 23 lb. 4 1/2 oz. blue and Judy Tilton nearly knocked her husband out of the second spot in the resident shore bass category as she weighed in a 44 lb. 13 oz. striper, just 5 oz.