Updated Thursday, July 11
Why go fishing? In ancient times, it was a way to put food on the table, or on the tree stump, and avoid the need to hunt animals and risk becoming dinner for a roaming lion or a bear. It is easier to tangle with a trout than a tiger. But then, man became adept at raising food, and God invented the bar code scan and microwave pizza. It became easier to get something to eat, and fishing became fun.
So, why go fishing now? One very good reason occurred to me as I navigated through auto traffic over the Fourth — to keep from jumping out of your car and screaming at the top of your lungs, “I can’t take it any more.”
Fishing is a way to escape the crowds, the noise, the cars, and the turmoil. It does not even matter if you catch a fish. Friday evening, Remick Smothers and I went fly fishing along the shore west of Paul’s Point. It was breezy, but we were in the lee of some bluffs.
Remick and I have managed to find time to fish together on his annual summer visit to the Vineyard since he was a little kid. Now he is a fine, young man who needs a size 12 wader boot. We each caught one fish. It was not a stellar night of fishing, but it was a great fishing trip, far from the reach of the madding crowd.
Ned Casey was not so lucky. He was trying to back out of his parking place at the Stop and Shop in Edgartown when a woman drove in going the wrong way and blocked him. Ned said he got out and very nicely told the woman, “You know, you just drove in the wrong way.”
Her answer: “I don’t care.” I think that pretty much sums up many of the attitudes that we encounter as we enter the summer crush. It certainly seems to be what is behind the abundance of boats and trailers parked at the Lagoon Pond launch ramp.
I had a call Monday from Eddy Lepore, an excellent fisherman, fly tier, and all-around gentleman. Eddy was distressed because there were at least six boats and empty trailers taking up space in the Lagoon Pond launch ramp parking lot, including, he said, a new Toyota SUV with Connecticut plates hooked up to a boat and trailer. The ensemble had been there more than one week.
I recommended he call the Vineyard Haven harbormaster, to alert him to the situation, and that he contact Environmental Police Sgt Mike Camire. On Monday, Ed said the harbormaster’s office told him to call the police. Ed said he has yet to hear from Sergeant Camire.
Wednesday morning, I took a ride to the launch ramp. I can understand why Ed was perturbed. There were two empty trailers, each about 30-feet long. One was new with up-to-date Florida plates, the other was pretty beat up and had a 2012 registration. There was an old 20-foot fiberglass boat sitting on a trailer, with a 2012 boat registration sticker; an old Arrow fiberglass bowrider boat with a Pennsylvania sticker on a trailer with no trailer plate; and another old fiberglass boat with an Evinrude 90 on the back, a 2010 boat sticker on the boat that was on the trailer with no plate.
The blue Toyota Sequoia was still parked there attached to a Mako-23 with a T-top. Nice boat and nice vehicle. Under the windshield was a note: “This is not a parking lot for boats or cars. Please move.”
Our former EPO, Sgt. Matt Bass was diligent about tracking down offending boat and trailer owners. One hopes Sergeant Camire will bring the same enthusiasm to the task.
On the job
Thursday morning I heard from Sergeant Camire. He said he had cited every vehicle/boat/trailer that was there illegally and if they were still there when he returned he would have them towed.
Ed called and happily reported the parking spaces were opening up. The Toyota and boat were gone, along with one or two boats and trailers. That is good news.
Change in Fluke tourney rules
The 14th annual Martha’s Vineyard Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 9261 Annual Fluke Derby is Saturday and Sunday. And there has been a rule change.
The separate ladies division has been eliminated. Now, the girls will have to play with the boys. Not sure if that rule change came down from Obama, but why not? If they can go toe-to-toe in combat, they can do the same in the fluke derby.
Vineyard women can hold their own when it comes to fluke fishing. So the competition just got tougher. The kids division remains.
The fluke derby is great fun and very much unvarnished. No Grey Poupon on those boats.
The awards banquet on Sunday comes complete with burgers, dogs, and a cold one, at the unpretentious VFW hall in Oak Bluffs.
The tournament also awards a prize for the heaviest sea bass. Fluke tournament weigh-in is from 4 to 6 pm each day. The Sunday cookout begins about 5:30 pm.
The entry fee is $20 for adults, and $10 for seniors over 65 and teens between 13 and 17. Kids 12 and under are free. In addition to the individual contest, there is a team competition, based on the four heaviest fish weighed in each day. Team registration costs $20. Registration forms are available at most Island tackle shops.
For more information, to donate prizes, or in the event of weather cancellations, call derby director Peter Hermann at 774-563-0293.