Wind from the West, Catch Derby Culture Lessons From the Best
Jack Shea

For the casual fisherman, fishing the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby is like going from sandlot baseball to the major leagues.

He realizes that a welter of customs, laws of natures, tips and superstitions have developed over centuries of Island fishing and more than six decades of derby competition to create a mind-boggling fishing culture.

This casual fisherman felt that it would take an act of God to prepare him to compete with the best.

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Intensity of Derby Grows
Jack Shea

Oh boy, what a derby this is.

The second week produced at least two records as eager anglers produced leader changes on a daily basis in most categories.

Discussion of the sheer number of grand slams, including flyrod grand slams and a grand slam on opening day, almost tore the attention of Chris Scott away from a school of false albacore breaking 150 yards away from the weigh-in shed on Monday morning.

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Bass Derby Opens With Plenty of Fish; One Lucky Angler Posts Grand Slam
Mark Alan Lovewell

Opening day at the 2007 Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby was a smash, including the recording of a first day grand slam by Capt. Tom Langman of Menemsha, likely a first day record. Derby president Ed Jerome said of the slam: “We don’t keep records for that but I don’t ever remember it happening on the first day. Certainly we’ve had one-day grand slams before but they are rare.”

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Bass and Bluefish Derby Begins; First Weigh-in Sunday Morning
Mark Alan Lovewell

Roy Langley, weigh master for the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, will ring a cowbell at 8 a.m. sharp Sunday morning.

Once that cowbell rings, at the entrance to the official derby headquarters at the foot of Main street in Edgartown, the Vineyard will become an entirely different place.

From that moment on, derby participants can bring in their fish to be weighed in the month-long contest that galvanizes the Island every year.

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Anglers Get Their Hooks Into Derby Awards
Mark Alan Lovewell

An architect from Connecticut and a mailman from Westport were the top winners in this year’s 63rd annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby.

On Sunday, Paul C. Harris of Oak Bluffs and Weston, Conn., won a new black Chevrolet 4x4 pickup truck for a 10.75-pound bonito he caught while fishing with friends earlier this month.

Scott D. Tompkins of Westport won a 20-foot center console Eastern powerboat for a 40.12-pound striped bass he caught fishing alone on an Up-Island shore in the early evening of Oct. 1.

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Fishing Derby Enters Home Stretch
Mark Alan Lovewell

Fewer fishermen and fewer fish — that has been the main theme for the 63rd annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby this year. The fall premiere saltwater fishing contest has been affected this year both by the economy and the state of fish stocks. Participation is down.

The tournament that began in mid-September ends tomorrow night at 10 p.m. with the last weigh-in. As of Wednesday morning there were 2,674 fishermen registered in the contest, significantly down from last year’s 3,042 participants.

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Fishing After Extra Innings

The air was calm this morning under dark gray skies.

“The water is like a mill pond,” said Ron McKee of Buxton, Maine. “So there will be hundreds of boats out there today.”

Mr. McKee was standing with a half dozen anglers. They were all sipping coffee and talking fishing at the weigh station at the foot of Main street in Edgartown. This is the fourth Monday morning in the 63rd annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby. There is only one Monday left in the contest.

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Anglers Brace for Winds

At the derby station this morning Ed Jerome, president of the 63rd annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, was not happy about the weekend forecast.

“It could blow up to 35 knots,” Mr. Jerome said.

Last weekend the anglers were discouraged by heavy rain. This weekend, there is a serious concern about high wind.

For boat fishermen that is not only tough it could be dangerous. Shore fishermen will flock to the lee side of the Island to get out of the wind.

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Big Stripers Surge to Top Spots in Derby
Mark Alan Lovewell

Following last weekend’s foul weather, Island anglers have jumped back into fishing with a new urgency. This is the start of the third week of the 63rd annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby and with two weeks to go, a lot can happen — and is happening.

A shifting on the leader board took place on Tuesday, before the past weekend’s storm clouds and the big waves had settled.

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Lev Wlodyka Leads By a Sliver

There is a new boat leader in the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby: Lev C. Wlodyka came in with a 46.82-pound striped bass he had caught earlier in the day.

There was drama at the weigh station, according to the officials. It wasn’t just Mr. Wlodyka’s fish that drew the crowds — it was the drama of two other fishermen showing up with theirs at the same time.

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