With two weeks left in the 65th annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, fishermen are fretting about the weather, which has been unkind to anglers. Wind — lots of it and from every direction — has been the story of September.
There are 2,400 fishermen registered in the derby. Ask any one of them how they are doing and they will likely talk about the wind — the bad wind from the east, the tough wind last week from the north, and tomorrow the forecast for high, gusty winds from the south.
You can find a lot of fishermen at the coffee shops.
Roy Langley, weighmaster, said there are barely enough fish to keep him busy. On Wednesday morning he weighed in two fish. Yesterday morning, 15 minutes before closing, he had weighed in only three fish.
“I feel sorry for the seniors who are waiting for fish,” Mr. Langley said. “The sad fact is I don’t have fillets to give to the seniors,” he said. A year ago he would have eight buckets of fish fillets to send out to one council on aging; now he is offering three or four.
Still, derby headquarters is full of smiling faces, and the optimists are praying for change. October is a whole new month.
There were 21 fish that made it onto the daily board yesterday — striped bass, bluefish and bonito. There were no false albacore weighed in.
A young angler named Max Potter weighed in a 9.68-pound boat bluefish and took first prize. Tristan Blair took a first place for a large 10.40-pound striped bass caught from the shore. His fish was the only one that made it into the junior shore category.
This has been a bluefish tournament; as of yesterday, anglers have weighed in 723 bluefish, weighing a total of 6,545 pounds. They’ve weighed in 200 striped bass, 154 bonito and 49 false albacore.
William Pate of West Tisbury, who last year won the grand prize, a Chevrolet pickup truck, for catching a 12.66-pound false albacore, summed up the fishing this year. “It is tough,” he said.
His brother Pete leads the derby with the largest shore striped bass, a 28.35-pound fish, caught on Sept. 21.
The weigh station at the foot of Main street in Edgartown is open every day from 8 to 10 a.m. and in the evening from 8 to 10 p.m. Registration is $45 for most fishermen. Seniors and juniors pay $20.
The derby ends on Saturday, Oct. 16.