He won again. William A. Pate of West Tisbury, who spends his summers working at Cutler Bike Shop in Edgartown and his winters working as a carpenter, won the grand prize in the 64th annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck. Three years ago, Mr. Pate won the boat in the derby.
The story gets better. Mr. Pate caught his winning fish this year, a 12.66-pound false albacore, from the boat he won in the 2006 derby.
“Now he can tow the boat,” declared Ed Jerome, derby president, following the awards ceremony on Sunday afternoon at Nectar’s.
Mr. Pate had another view. “It took the derby boat to get the derby truck,” he said.
Michael L. Seeger of Chilmark was also a grand prize winner this year. In a drawing among the top four shore fishermen, Mr. Seeger won the 24-foot Eastern boat, with outboard and trailer. Mr. Seeger had caught a 7.99-pound bonito halfway into the month-long contest on Oct. 3.
More than 300 fishermen, friends and family members filled the nightclub near the airport on Sunday for a three-hour ceremony that saw close to $350,000 handed out in prizes. There were plaques, fishing rods and fishing tackle.
Ruth Meyer, former derby chairman and former owner of Larry’s Tackle Shop in Edgartown, was inducted into the derby hall of fame. Ms. Meyer’s father opened Larry’s Tackle Shop in 1946. There are 27 past hall of fame recipients.
The derby was marked by rainy, windy weather this year; on Sunday Mr. Jerome called it “brutal.” Despite that, contest participation reached 2,844, about 100 more than last year but 200 short of the year before.
Mr. Jerome noted the derby’s continuing goal to provide regional high school scholarships of $32,500 in the coming year.
One of the stars this year was Wyatt Jenkinson, 11, of Chilmark, who caught a 9.71-pound bonito with his father Patrick in the family boat during the last week of the derby.
During the grand awards, young Wyatt stood tall amid seven adults. Along the way he had several opportunities to go on stage to collect prizes, and each time he put his foot on the stage, the crowd cheered.
This year’s derby was primarily a contest among boat fishermen. Stephen J. Pietruska led with the largest striped bass he caught on the first day of the derby from a boat. The fish weighed 44.68 pounds.
Henry R. Fauteux of Edgartown caught the largest bluefish from a boat. The fish weighed 14.04 pounds.
Weighmaster Charlie Smith said Friday was the worst day of the derby, when only one fish was weighed in. Blame it on the gale winds outside.
Hundreds of awards were given out Sunday afternoon. Many of the last names were familiar: Contessa, Rapone, Tilton, Crago, Morrison, Gilkes, Kadison, Morris and Metcalf.
Flyrod angler Thomas J. Rapone, who led the derby for weeks with a 13.81-pound bluefish caught from a boat, took a first place in the flyrod division. His brother, John C. Rapone, took second with a 11.53-pound bluefish. The two men won first and second place for boat bonito, too.
Eight-year-old Taylor and six-year-old Tristan Blair of Edgartown received the David Furino Memorial Award for their partnership. Taylor led the mini-junior striped bass shore division with a 20.96-pound fish he caught on Oct. 1. Tristan got his recognition for a 4.27-pound shore bluefish.
Dozens of other youths were honored. Tyler Dufresne and Jeffrey S. Cimeno Jr. each won a bicycle from Cutler Bikes for their fish. Mr. Dufresne caught the largest boat striped bass in the junior division, a 28.04-pound fish. Mr. Cimeno caught the largest shore bluefish, 10.55 pounds.
And the winners weren’t only boys. Mini-junior Victoria Scott, age eight, of Edgartown, won a first prize for a 13.36-pound bluefish she caught with her father Chris on the family boat. Victoria also won a Victor Danberg Trophy.
The Martha’s Vineyard Surfcasters Association offered its first derby award to a participant who exhibits great sportsmanship; the award went to Bob Nixon of Chilmark and his family, who sponsored a special program that brought recovering veterans to the Vineyard for three days of fishing.
“A lot of people nominated him. He is a warm human being,” said Janet Messineo, president of the surfcasters’ organization. “Every time I have been around him, he makes sure everyone feels included in the activity. He is the kind of person that makes a group work, makes everyone feel included.”