The 73rd annual Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby saw more than 3,500 participants sign up this year and weigh in over 1,400 pounds of fish. It got off to a great start on September 9 when Caitlyn Parker weighed in with a 12.23-pound striped bass after fishing from midnight to 4 a.m. The 5-week event also includes bonito and false albacore and participants hope to get the “grand slam” by catching at least one of each. And at this year’s event, the first grand slam winner was a fourth-grade girl.
The next generation of Derby fishermen took to the Oak Bluffs ferry pier the following Sunday for Kids Derby Day where fish are judged by length instead of weight.
Derby headquarters at the foot of Main Street in Edgartown is where fishermen go to weigh in their catch and follow the board to see who’s got the biggest fish in each category. Anyone with excess fish donates them to the local senior centers where people line up and take numbers just like at a deli and go home with a fresh catch.
Sadly only a few days after the Derby began, Ed Jerome, retired Edgartown School principal and longtime Derby president passed away. Howard and I were fortunate enough to know Ed for many years along with his family and his wife Mary Ann’s parents as well. As saddened as we are we take comfort in the fact that we knew him, appreciated his commitment to the Island community and his thoughtfulness and kindness to all.
The Derby concluded on October 13 and was followed by the awards ceremony the next day at Farm Neck Golf Club where the grand prizes include a boat and a 2018 Subaru Forester.
There’s plenty of time to sign up for next season. Find more derby information at www.mvderby.com.