Island fish, fishermen win honors in state derby

Island fishermen and fish caught in Island waters accounted for a number of awards in the Massachusetts Saltwater Fishing Derby.

Officials from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) and the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) honored more than 80 anglers Saturday at the Eastern Fishing and Outdoor Exposition in Worcester. Saltwater and freshwater anglers received awards for top catches in several categories, including youth, women, angler of the year, and heaviest fish by species (ranging from brook trout to big eye tuna).

The 2010 saltwater winners included two Vineyard residents and seven fish caught in Island waters.

Jeff Sayre of Vineyard Haven took top honors for the heaviest false albacore, an 11-pound, 7-ounce fish he caught in the Derby — the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby.

Jacob Gurney of Oak Bluffs won the junior division Spanish mackerel category with a 4-lb. fish.

Off-Island fishermen also caught winning fish in Island waters. Junior fisherman Jackson Brex of West Stockbridge weighed in a 5-lb., 2-oz. black sea bass; Mark W. Jones of Middleboro weighed in an 8-lb., 13-oz. bonito he caught in the Derby; Peter Cox of Vineyard Haven and Monroe, CT took top honors in the state tournament with the massive 15-lb., 2-oz. fluke that put him over the top in the annual VFW fluke tournament; Caroline Fearey of Sudbury won the junior fluke division state crown with an 8-lb., 15-oz. summer flounder; and Ryan Sullivan of Middleboro weighed in a 158-pound mako shark to capture the junior trophy in that division.

The only new state record was a 231-lb. bigeye tuna Randy Parda of West Yarmouth caught.

Massachusetts Fish and Game Commissioner Mary Griffin presented gold pins to fishermen who reeled in the biggest fish of 2009 from Massachusetts lakes, ponds, streams, and coastal waters.

This year’s contest also featured a new catch and release derby. Perhaps because it was new in 2010 fishermen only entered two of the six species categories.

Frank Mazzulli of Quincy took bluefish honors with a 36-inch fish released and Alison Miles of Chelsea released a 46-inch striper.

For more information on the state fishing derby go to mass.gov/dfwele/.