See the bottom of this post for a list of tournament winners.
I have many reasons to be grateful that I found fishing as my passion. One of those is that I have met great fishermen from all over the country who come here to fish. I’m reminded that I am one lucky fisherman to live here year-round, able to fish on the Vineyard and Chappaquiddick for the entire fishing season. We live in a special place.
The 27th annual Rod and Gun Club Catch & Release Tournament was held last weekend. On Sunday morning, a breakfast was served by volunteers at the Edgartown School. The winners approached the stage, and with help from two adorable youngsters, they received beautiful engraved plaques. Little Hanna, granddaughter of expert fly fishers John Kollett and Sandra Demel, and Eli Parent aided in making the show run smoothly.
The Orvis Fly Rod Co. has been a sponsor since the very first catch and release tournament. Their donation of quality rods, reels, and gear was given away in a raffle to any participant who attended the breakfast. The raffle table was full of donations from local business, artists, and fishermen. You never need to catch a fish to be a part of this event
This was the first time I participated in many years, and I enjoyed sitting at the breakfast surrounded by fly fishermen from all over New England, plus Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and New York. I was reunited with old friends and met many new ones, including my teammate, Mary V. Palmer. She named us the M&Ms. I thought that was perfect. She was sweet and filled with chocolate, and I usually feel full of nuts!
The 30-knot northeast wind made it difficult to fish, but the 122 participants braved the wind and caught and released close to 300 striped bass.
One of the many highlights was when Jim Blair presented first-time participant, Coast Guard Executive Petty Officer Robert Parent, with a striped bass print by Navy veteran and artist Don Breveleri. It was a token of appreciation for Rob’s service to our country. Rob has been stationed in Menemsha for the past two years. He was born in Massachusetts, but since he enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1998, he has been stationed in many places throughout the United States. The entire family attended the ceremony. When his wife Valerie has a moment free from caring for their four children, Isaac, Eli, Rob Jr., and their much-wanted baby girl, Veda, she also enjoys fishing and hunting.
Tournament photos are available on the club’s Facebook page.
Tough times on Long Island
I received a call from a longtime surf fisherman from Long Island, Tommy Caruso. He will arrive on Chappy on June 10 with his gang, Lou DeRicco, Willy Young, and Al Buccola, better known as Gravy Al. They rent a house on Chappy every year to target striped bass. He reported that this spring, the fishing on Long Island has been slow. As of the beginning of June, only the boat fishermen and those fishing bait on the bottom are seeing keeper bass. He told me that those throwing plugs are not even getting schoolies. Willy Young is the president of the New York Coalition for Recreational Fisheries. Lou and Tommy are active members. Their group, along with charter captains, is lobbying to stop commercial netting of striped bass in N.Y. waters. He told me they are meeting with legislators and making progress.
In Massachusetts, commercial and recreational regulations state that fish may be taken by hook and line gear only. Netting, spearing, and snagging striped bass are prohibited.
I also talked to D.J. Muller from Manasquan, N.J., this week. In New Jersey, striped bass have a game fish status. They cannot be bought or sold, only taken recreationally. D.J. is the author of four fishing books, and will have the fifth on the shelves soon. I met D.J. fishing on Chappaquiddick. He comes each year with a group of New Jersey fishermen. He told me that lately the fishing in New Jersey has been spotty at best. He said he had one good day. While he was fighting a northeast wind, some big bluefish and an occasional striper showed up on Island Beach State Park.
There are many reasons for the decline of fish in the ocean waters up and down the East Coast. I will be writing about this as time goes on.
Fishing on the Vineyard has picked up. Big bluefish finally hit Chappy on May 30. Unfortunately, I was not there, but I heard many 10-plus bluefish were landed. That means that some large striped bass must be coming our way. If you have not been successful at landing a keeper-size bass, don’t get discouraged. I’m sure if you keep at it, you will get the big tug.
The squid have arrived. Time to make some calamari and black sauce.
For current information call The Trustees of Reservations’ Norton Point hotline at 508-627-8390, or visit their Facebook page at Trustees MV. As of this writing, Norton Point at Katama to Wasque Point is still open. The beaches are closed to all recreational vehicles from the Dike Bridge to the Gut. If you are walking anywhere on Chappaquiddick beaches, please stay off the dunes and away from nesting birds. All entry to the tip of the Gut is closed by land or by way of boat. It was reported that boats were accessing the beach and letting dogs run free. The tip of the Gut is closed to everyone. Please obey the signs.
We are saddened again when miles of pristine beach need to be closed. Yes, we all want to protect the shorebirds, but when beachgoers and fishermen cannot access any of the drivable Island beaches, the loss is great. Family traditions of spending weekends on the beach are no more. Fishermen who have waited in anticipation of the arrival of the migration of fish are now limited to backpacks and long walks. The team of rangers and the staff of The Trustees of Reservations do all they can to keep the nesting birds safe and to keep us humans using the beaches. If you are upset about this loss of beach access and can offer some viable solutions on how birds and beachgoers can coexist, contact Jonathan Regosin, chief of conservation science at Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA, 01581.
Chris Kennedy, manager of the Trustees’ properties, told me that Jonathan is receptive to your constructive input.
Help design T
The Martha’s Vineyard Bass and Bluefish Derby will once again sponsor the Kids Day Derby T Shirt Design Contest. The contest is open to all elementary schoolchildren. For information in your school, contact Mariah MacGregor at Chilmark School, Lisa Magnarelli at West Tisbury School, Julie Brand at Tisbury School, Nichole Shank at Edgartown School, Jess Johns at Oak Bluffs School, and Amy Size or Ken Vincent at the Charter School.
Tackle shop news and events
Keep it Reel, Kayak and Tackle on Oak Bluffs Harbor is well stocked and open for business seven days a week.
Larry’s Tackle Bass and Blue Battle has begun. Entry fee is $35. Ed Amaral was the first to weigh in a bluefish. It weighed 8 pounds. Congratulations, Eddie.
These are the current standings:
First: Jeff Cavanaro, 11.75 pounds
Second: Ed Amaral 10. 10 pounds
Third: Mike Capen 8.60 pounds
A shore striped bass was weighed in Wednesday morning by Creanga Cosmin, known as Cosmo at 30.90 pounds.
No boat bluefish, and no striped bass from a boat have been recorded.
Call 508-627-5088 or go to facebook.com/larrystackle.shopto see any new results.
Until next week, remember, don’t give up a minute before the miracle, Janet.
Janet Messineo fishes the coastline of Martha’s Vineyard, where she’s lived since 1966. She is a retired surfcasting guide and taxidermist, former president of the Martha’s Vineyard Surfcasters Association, and both a Derby committee member and participant. She is a frequent source and contributor to newspapers and magazines. Her long-awaited book on fishing will be published by Pantheon Books in June 2019.
Here’s a list of winners from the Rod and Gun Club Catch & Release Tournament:
Arnold Spofford award (most fish caught using one fly)
Released: 56 (Avg: 28 each)
Members: John Kollett and Jim Lepore
Released: 24 (Avg: 8 each)
Members: Randy Shea, Dave Hoskyns, Ralph Carrieri
Third: Last Cast
Released: 12 (Avg: 6 each)
Members: Scott Maccaferri and Jeff Stevens
Fourth: Up Tied Down
Released: 6 (Avg: 0.75 each)
Members: Alex BenDavid, Jeff Conlin, Brian McCarty, Eric Bettencourt, Corrigen Mello, Stauros Viglas, Peter Napoli, Jeremy Bradshaw
Roberto Germani Trophy (Most fish caught and released)
First: Team Double Haul
Released: 54 (Avg: 27 each)
Members: Wilson Kerr and Clint Eller
Released: 35 (Avg: 17.5 each)
Members: Andy Mahurin and Abbie Mahurin
Released: 35 (Avg: 17.5 each)
Members: Kalib Abrams and Kyle Colter
Third: The Green Hats
Released: 33 (Avg: 16.5 each)
Members: Aron Cascone and Todd Cascone
Released: 26 (Avg: 13 each)
Members: Abe Pieciak and David Thompson
Fifth: Knee Deep
Released: 41 (Avg: 10.25 each)
Members: Cooper Gilkes, Cooper Ferson, Paul Ferson, and Vika Zaderej
Sonny and Joey Beaulieu award (for the largest fish caught and released)
First: Abe Pieciak
Plus girth: 17