Officials from the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game (DFG) honored more than 80 top freshwater and saltwater anglers at the Eastern Fishing & Outdoor Exposition in Worcester on Saturday, February 11. The recipients included six Martha’s Vineyard fishermen.
Four saltwater state records were set during the 2011 Massachusetts Saltwater Derby. They included the eight-pound Spanish mackerel caught by Joe Canha of Vineyard Haven.
Six Island fishermen, including three juniors, won awards in seven categories. In total, 10 fishermen weighed in winning fish on the Vineyard.
In the junior category Wyatt Jenkinson of West Tisbury (7 lb., 12 oz. bonito); Katherine O’Brien of Oak Bluffs (11 lb., 8 oz. false albacore); and Tony Canha of Tisbury (59 lb.,14 oz. yellowfin tuna) won first place awards.
And, Nancy Canha won the women’s division with a 5 lb.,11 oz. Spanish mackerel and took top honors in the false albacore category with an 11 lb., 14 oz. fish.
John Packer traveled with friends and family to watch son Nathaniel receive his award from state officials. “I never thought we’d be up there getting an award,” John told The Times. “We’re not the best fishermen in the world.”
DFG Commissioner Mary Griffin had another view. “These awards honor some of the most skillful anglers in the Commonwealth and point to the incredible quality of fishing opportunities in our marine and inland waters,” she said. “We hope these awards inspire young people and adults to get out and enjoy fishing and the many other outdoor activities Massachusetts offers.”
For a list of winners and information on the state fishing derby go to mass.gov/dfwele.