Authors Posts by Nelson Sigelman

Nelson Sigelman

Nelson Sigelman
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Catch a movie and maybe a fish on Menemsha Beach Tuesday.

A chart-topping 180-pound bigeye tuna brought it in late Saturday afternoon by the crew of Mulberry Canyon is hoisted up and weighed in. — Photo by Michael Cummo

Updated 3 pm, Friday with news of Cape Poge beach closure

By most accounts, The Oak Bluffs Bluewater Classic (OBBC) held last weekend went off without a hitch. No shark heads adorned boats, no protestors provided targets for beer cans and if there were arrests I did not hear about it. Pretty tame now after the Monster Shark tournament swam out of town.

Damon Sacco of Bourne, owner and operator of Castafari Sport Fishing and organizer of the Hyannis Tuna Fest, was the organizer of the first Bluewater classic. Ted Rosbeck of Edgartown helped out.

Participants on the boat Mulberry Canyon pose next to their 180-pound Big Eye Tuna after it topped the charts on Saturday.
Participants on the boat Mulberry Canyon pose next to their 180-pound Big Eye Tuna after it topped the charts on Saturday.

A total of 25 boats entered the contest. In an email, Mr. Sacco said the 2014 Oak Bluffs Bluewater Classic raised over $14,000 for charity. Proceeds went to the Island Autism Group and the MGH Colon Cancer Research Fund in memory of Kevin Glynn, he said.

Sixteen billfish — four blue marlin and 12 white marlin — were released. One bigeye tuna was landed, as were “a ton of yellowfin and mahi-mahi.”

Captain Al Gagnon of Brennans Grin took first place. Second place went to Captain Ted Rosbeck of Bad Martha. Captain John Galvin of Mulberry Canyon was third.

The biggest tuna was an 180-pound bigeye landed by Mulberry Canyon. Most billfish points went to the crew of Brennans Grin with two blue marlin. Mr. Sacco said there were 46 yellowfin tuna caught up to 95 pounds.

Steve Morris, owner of Dick’s Bait and Tackle in Oak Bluffs, participated in the tournament. Steve told me, “It was definitely a lot calmer. Not a lot of yahoos. The guys were nice and it seemed like they were just here to fish.”

The banquet was held at Dreamland. Everybody seemed to be really happy with it, Steve said.

Steve said offshore fishing is an addiction and he admitted he is “totally hooked.”

The tournament weigh in attracted a crowd of spectators to Oak Bluffs harbor.
The tournament weigh in attracted a crowd of spectators to Oak Bluffs harbor.

He explained, “You never know what’s going to be out there, a white marlin or a bigeye tuna, there’s so much out there to catch. We spent the night out there, we turned the lights on and there were squid and bait all around the boat. You just never know what’s going to be out there.”

I suggested it might also be scary to be a little boat in a very big, dark ocean far from land. Steve laughed. “This is true, this is true, that’s why you go in a big boat.”

Steve said they put the lines out Friday night to try and catch a swordfish. Crewmembers took turns sleeping. “There’s usually someone up tending the rods,” Steve said.

“And looking out for a Korean oil tanker?” I asked.

“Well you stay out of their way, for sure,” Steve said.

But they were not alone. They were part of a small fleet all hooked on offshore fishing. That is part of the fun, he said.

First bass of the summer

Matthew Strem of Edgartown holds a 15 pound striped bass he caught Friday night on his new fishing rod.
Matthew Strem of Edgartown holds a 15 pound striped bass he caught Friday night on his new fishing rod.

While the big boys were fishing offshore, Matthew Strem, 10, of Edgartown was trying out his new bass rod on South Beach with his mom and dad. On Friday night Matthew caught his first striped bass of the summer. It was 34.5 inches long and weighed in at 15 pounds.

His mother Lynn provided the details: “We drove on to the beach and used squid on his new bass fishing pole, bottom fishing. Matthew was the first one that night to catch a bass. He was so excited he couldn’t wait for dad to get the tape measure to see if it was a keeper. And it was, 34 inches long and weighed 15 pounds. It was also about 11 pm that night. He caught his fish and reeled it in all by himself, but I wasn’t surprised because Matthew has been fishing for a long time, catching many different fish. Nothing compares to the look on his face when that fish came ashore and it was a huge bass.”

Matthew did very well to land a bass on the beach in the surf. It is no easy task. It takes timing to ride the fish up on a wave. Better yet, he caught a bass. Most reports describe tough fishing for stripers from the shore. Congratulations.

Movie night on Menemsha

All fishermen should be concerned with the state of our oceans. On Tuesday night, fishermen will have an opportunity to learn just how concerned they ought to be — and go fishing.

Documentary filmmaker Bob Nixon, a seasonal resident of Chilmark, and Fisher Stevens have produced a new documentary, MISSION BLUE, which describes the life of oceanographer Sylvia Earle. The filmmakers will show their film at 8:30 pm, Tuesday on Menemsha Beach in conjunction with the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival. The event is free.

Bring popcorn for the film and a fishing rod for later.

Dennis Harvey offered this description in a review for Variety Magazine: “A compelling human-interest hook and spectacular underwater photography are the highlights of Fisher Stevens and Robert Nixon’s documentary.”

Mr. Harvey said, “The majesty and imperiled status of the world’s aquatic life are vividly captured in “Mission Blue.” Fisher Stevens and Robert Nixon’s documentary also serves as a biographical portrait of internationally renowned oceanographer and eco-activist Sylvia Earle, whose trailblazing career and inspiring ongoing efforts provide compelling human interest, while Bryce Groark’s spectacular underwater photography offers eye candy aplenty.”

Cape Poge beach closure

Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge is currently closed for over sand vehicle access from the Dike Bridge to the gut, Chris Kennedy, Trustees superintendent said Friday. “On Tuesday, two plover chicks moved from the outside beach, north of the Dike Bridge to the bayside trail to feed,” Chris said in an email Friday.  “The next day they moved back to the outside beach but now appear likely to continue moving back and forth between the narrows and East Beach. These chicks are due to fledge in two weeks but under state and federal law we will be required to keep all of Cape Poge closed until these chicks fledge. We encourage property users to call the 24 hour recorded beach hotline at 508-627-8390 for updated information. All of Leland Beach and Norton Point Beach are open for OSV access. Permits are required.”

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Cape Cod Five announced plans Monday to open a full service branch office in Vineyard Haven.

Richard Leonard. — Courtesy Richard Leonard

Well known Island banker Richard Leonard did not stay retired long. The Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank announced Monday that it had hired Mr. Leonard to serve as its regional president for Martha’s Vineyard.

The announcement dovetails with the Cape bank’s effort to establish a stronger physical presence on the Island.

Also Monday, the bank announced that it had purchased 412 State Road, the former Coca Cola bottling plant and most recently the proposed site of the new Tisbury Farm Market, where it intends to open a full service banking center.

Mr. Leonard will lead the bank’s cross-functional team from its office located on Beach Street Extension in Vineyard Haven,” according to a press release.

“We are delighted to welcome Richard to our senior officer team,” said Dorothy A. Savarese, President and CEO of The Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank in prepared remarks. “He shares the values that are so important to us at Cape Cod Five. Richard is a dedicated and active participant in important community nonprofit agencies, and he has a proven track record of providing locally-tailored, customer-focused community banking on Martha’s Vineyard.”

Mr. Leonard, 54, an Oak Bluffs native, has spent most of his life on the Island and his entire career in banking. He started in banking at the age of 15 at Edgartown National. When he was 25, after graduating from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, he moved to the Martha’s Vineyard Co-Operative Bank, eventually serving as president until it merged with the Dukes County Savings Bank.

In June 2007, citing a shared culture of personal service and community values and the evolving nature of the banking business, Martha’s Vineyard Co-operative Bank and Dukes County Savings Bank became Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank.

In April of 2013, Mr. Leonard announced his retirement. “It was simply time to move on,” he said at the time.

One year ago Mr. Leonard said he was looking forward to the future and new professional opportunities, but not immediately. “Right now I’m looking forward to working in the yard, biking, golfing, and shellfishing,” he said.

In a telephone conversation with The Times on Monday, Mr. Leonard said he retired from the Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank, and had “not necessarily retired from work.” After one year of catching up on chores it was time to get back to work, he said.

“I took a year off to think about what it is that I really love to do and what I really love to do is help people and be active in the community. And working with a good strong community bank has always been an approach that I enjoy and I am happy to have the opportunity to enjoy it again,” he said.

Mr. Leonard said Cape Cod Five has been serving the Island’s commercial and residential customers and has been looking to expand its services and bring its brand of community banking to the Vineyard for some time.

Mr. Leonard said the State Road site is a wonderful location. “We’re looking forward to working with the local boards and authorities to develop our plan,” he said

Mr. Leonard serves as President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Island Housing Trust, Inc., President of Greenough House, and President of You’ve Got a Friend, Inc.

He lives in West Tisbury with his wife, Pia, and daughters Tonya and Brielle.

The Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank is an independent state-chartered savings bank with over $2.5 billion in assets, according to a press release.

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Bob Jacobs holds the bounty of a July nighttime fishing trip to Chappy, a 10 pound bluefish. — Photo by John Piekos

Typically, fishermen refer to this time of the season as the summer doldrums. The heat and humidity makes the fish, or is it the fishermen, lethargic and lazy. But reports from around the Island describe a mixed bag.

At Coop’s, the report varied by species. Cooper “Coop” Gilkes had fished Norton Point beach one night earlier and reported bluefish mixed with a few striped bass. But what really got his attention, he said, were the more than 30 commercial draggers visible just offshore.

Coop did not know what the boats were targeting but the sheer number has him worried. He said in addition to the boats he saw off Wasque he could see lights from more boats stretching to the west. “There’s not going to be a fish left,” he said.

I am told the Division of Marine Fisheries allows the boats to squid fish small mesh 24/7 up to the shoreline south of the islands from Nomans east to Nantucket’s southeast corner.

Bluefish are hit or miss on Chappy. Lobsterville, a favorite of striper fishermen, is slow but there are fish in Menemsha channel, he said.

Coop said he has had some reports of bonito. The tasty mini-tuna have been caught at the hooter off Wasque, off Gay Head, and off Menemsha by a kayaker. What these multiple sightings portend for the months ahead is unclear. It could be a brief foray or a sign that bonito are about to take up residence around the Island.

In recent years, inshore fishing for bonito has been pretty hit or miss, and shore fishing has been almost nonexistent. Coop said there has been no pattern. “Nothing really solid,” he said.

At Larry’s, owner Steve Purcell described a very mixed bag. He said the boat bass fishing had slowed but the shore guys were doing well up Island. On Chappy, he said, blues come in and then go away for a day. The exciting news was a bonito caught off Cape Poge gut from shore.

And the solid news he said continues to be the strong bottom fishing for fluke and scup. a favorite activity for kids. Offshore, he said football-sized tuna are within striking distance.

At Dick’s, Steve Morris said the new Oak Bluffs fishing pier is getting good use. He said scup fishermen are doing best in the morning and evening. It is a good season for scup with some monsters being caught. “Definitely, scup are in,” Steve said.

Offshore, small tuna are at the Owl and inside the Fingers. Steve plans to fish in the Oak Bluffs Bluewater Classic, a big game fishing tournament that will make its inaugural run this week, from Wednesday, July 24, through Saturday, July 26.
Check out the weigh in from 5 pm to 8 pm, Thursday through Saturday, at the dock adjacent to Our Market. For more information, go to obbclassic.com.

Norton Point reopened, with caution

Chris Kennedy, The Trustees of Reservations Island superintendent, said that all of Norton Point beach has been opened for vehicle access. The barrier beach, which stretches out from Chappaquiddick and Katama, is a prime fishing spot.

“The last four plover chicks disappeared and we assume they were predated,” Chris said in an email. “We did fledge several hundred least tern chicks over the past few weeks and the last of those chicks have started flying.”

Chris said there is a large area cordoned off on the bayside where several hundred terns, plovers, and other shorebirds are fattening up on the Katama Bay flats in preparation for their flight south over the next few weeks.

“We would like to remind folks that while they can now access the breach from Norton Point, there is no swimming in the breach,” Chris said.

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The Sheriff's Meadow Foundation 2014 summer benefit was held on the Vose family property overlooking Edgartown Harbor and the Vose boathouse. — Photo by Sara Piazza

Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation welcomed its supporters Tuesday night to its annual summer fundraiser held under a spacious tent set up on top of Tower Hill in Edgartown that provided spectacular views of Edgartown Harbor, courtesy of the Vose family trust, which lent its grounds for the occasion.

In his welcoming remarks to the sold-out dinner crowd, Adam Moore, Sheriff’s Meadow executive director, provided an equally pleasing view of the the land conservation organization’s financial health and programs, which include a new educational initiative to introduce Island school children to the natural world through field trips to Cedar Tree Neck Sanctuary in West Tisbury.

Sheriff's Meadow Foundation executive director Adam Moore said the conservation organization is strong and healthy.
Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation executive director Adam Moore said the conservation organization is strong and healthy.

The evening also provided an opportunity for newly elected Foundation president, Chris Alley of Oak Bluffs, an engineer with Schofield, Barbini and Hoehn, to display his wit and thank the many people who support the Island’s home-grown conservation organization. Mr. Moore provided the nuts and bolts. Mr. Alley pointed out that the organization’s newest acquisition, Bittersweet Hill on Chappaquiddick, was visible across the harbor. The property is open to the public and provides stunning views of Cape Poge and beyond, he said.

“We are a nonprofit, charitable organization whose mission is to conserve the natural, beautiful, rural landscape and character of Martha’s Vineyard for present and future generations,” Mr. Moore, a graduate of the Yale School of Forestry, told the dinner guests. “We own 2,003 acres of land across the Island, and protect an additional 853 acres with conservation restrictions.”

As guests chatted and munched on a delicate salad of Island greens in the comfort of a light, cool sea breeze, Mr. Moore described the accomplishments and goals of the nonprofit.

“We purchased Bittersweet Hill from Mrs. Virginia Mattern for the bargain price of $100,000,” he said. “We still have about $80,000 left to go to raise back the money we spent and help fund our next purchase. At Sheriff’s Meadow Sanctuary, we have just $36,000 left to go to meet our goal of raising half a million dollars. And for the repair and restoration of the Mayhew-Hancock-Mitchell House at Quansoo Farm, I am pleased to report that a generous, anonymous donor has offered to match, dollar for dollar, all gifts for the house, made in memory of Donnie Mitchell, up to $100,000.”

From left to right: Kerry Alley, Pat Alley, Sheriff's Meadow president Chris Alley and wife Kate Feiffer.
From left to right: Kerry Alley, Pat Alley, Sheriff’s Meadow president Chris Alley and wife Kate Feiffer.

Mr. Moore also spoke of the foundation organization’s responsibility to maintain and defend its properties. He acknowledged criticism of a lack of stewardship in the past. “I want you to know that we take our role as stewards very, very seriously, and we have been doing our level best to improve and increase our stewardship,” he said. “Over the past four years, we have quadrupled the amount of field time that we devote to maintenance.”

And he added, “We pledge to you that we will look after these lands. We will care for the rare plants and the endangered wildlife. We will deal with the forest fire risks. We will mark the bounds. We will support our farms. We will blaze trails and tend paths. We will offer peaceful natural places for study and research and observation and reflection and mourning and reverence. And when these lands are threatened — and at some point, they will all be threatened — when these lands are threatened, Sheriff’s Meadow will defend them.”

Mr. Moore said that Monday’s event raised about $300,000, a record and far ahead of past benefits

For more information about Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, go to sheriffsmeadow.org.

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The ground pounders fought the tide and sea bass in the VFW fluke derby.

The VFW Fluke Derby was a boatload of fun for the kids. Left to right: Elizabeth O'Brien, Katherine O'Brien, David Packer, Nathan Packer, Jack Simpson, Jake Mundell, Molly Menton, and Charlotte Packer. — Photo by Nelson Sigelman

I fished a four-aspirin, two-Aleve weekend. After two days of bouncing lead weight in 80 plus feet of water in Vineyard Sound for two days in the VFW Fluke Derby held Saturday and Sunday my body felt like Poseidon had gone over every muscle in my back and arms with a hammer.

The key to catching fluke is to stay in contact with the bottom where fluke lie in wait for prey. That takes weight. How much depends on current and water depth.

Kid champs. From left, Kendall Nerney, Corbin Buchwald, Tate Buchwald, Darien Kral, and Joseph Medeiros.
Kid champs. From left, Kendall Nerney, Corbin Buchwald, Tate Buchwald, Darien Kral, and Joseph Medeiros.

On Saturday, the wind was calm and the fishing was relatively easy. Most of the competitors worked hard to pick up a fluke amid the carpet of sea bass. Sunday, conditions changed. A strong southwest wind coupled with the fast flowing easterly tide made it tough to hold bottom.

Many of the boats worked the deep water holes off Seven Gates, between Cape Higgon and Cedar Tree Neck, where the water depths range between 80 and 108 feet and the big fish always seem to lie. By about 11 am, Sunday it took an engine block to hold bottom.

Saturday, my teammates, Barry Stringfellow and Nathaniel Horwitz, met me at 5 am at Tashmoo landing. I wanted to get an early start so I could take full advantage of the morning rising tide. On Sunday, my major concern was not getting caught on Vineyard Sound about noon when the tide would begin to drop against the wind. Sea conditions change rapidly once the tide turns and the ride back would have been quite uncomfortable and wet in my 18-foot Tashmoo.

Team MV Times held the lead Saturday night. But I knew it was tenuous and that a big fish on Sunday would determine the winner. With teams led by Cooper Gilkes of Edgartown and Bill Dreyer of West Tisbury on the water we were hanging on to the lead with a frayed piece of braid.

On Sunday, Billy caught an 11.39-pound fluke that earned him the fluke king crown and lifted his team Breakaway (Roger Kubiak and Joe Altavilla) into the winner’s circle. It was a sweet victory for Billy, Roger and Joe, who have lost in the past by just ounces.

VFW fluke tournament impresario Peter Herrmann with his grandchildren (Darien, Dylan and Emily Kral) and new eagle.
VFW fluke tournament impresario Peter Herrmann with his grandchildren (Darien, Dylan and Emily Kral) and new eagle.

A cable news pundit Friday reporting on President Obama’s planned two week family vacation in August on Martha’s Vineyard described the Island as “ritzy and glamorous.” I suppose that impression would be accurate if one’s world only encompassed kiss-kiss cocktail parties and swank dinners in summer echo chambers. It sure does not describe the VFW Fluke Derby, and for that I am very grateful.

For the past ten years Roger and Joe have come up to fish the fluke derby with Bill. Joe is from Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and Roger is from some town in New Jersey he kept, as near as I could tell, saying was “Metouchem.” I could not get the spelling straight in the noisy dining room and since it is New Jersey I did not really care.

I asked the two winning team members why they like fishing the fluke derby other than the fact that Billy takes them out and shows them a great time.

“They do a great job for the kids,” Joe said.

“Basically for the kids,” Roger said.

I had to ask, “Have you guys ever run for elected public office?” They looked at me quizzically. I explained that whenever someone starts telling me they’re doing it for the kids I figure he or she is running for office.

“These guys come up here,” Billy said, “They have a great time fishing. they fill their cooler full of sea bass and fluke, mostly fluke, and then they go home and look like heroes. They feed the town.”

Daughters, sons, cousins and family members they never knew they had text and call to ask about fresh fish. “It’s a good excuse to get together and fish for a long, long weekend,” Bill said.

Big kid champs, winners of the team competition. From left, Roger Kubiak, Bill Dreyer, and Joe Altavilla.
Big kid champs, winners of the team competition. From left, Roger Kubiak, Bill Dreyer, and Joe Altavilla.

John and Janet Packer of Vineyard Haven loaded up a boatful of kids Friday night. The kids sleep on the boat so that the only one who has to get up early is dad. The family has been a part of the tournament every year. Same for Bill and Kris O’Brien of Oak Bluffs and their two daughters. This year the family could only fish one day, but Bill said, “If I can only fish a day I’m goin’.”

The highlight of the awards ceremony is always the auction. Think of it as the anti-matter of every swank, high-priced Vineyard fundraiser. No celebrities. Just fun and spirited bidding.

Tournament organizer Peter Herrmann began the bidding for a set of wine glasses with the derby fluke logo at $30. $40 — $55 — $65 said winning bidder Janet Packer, who was determined not to be outdone.

A large stuffed bald eagle doll generated a bidding battle between Mark Morris and Jarda Kral. The three Kral kids urged dad to stay in the mix. But when the price hit $80 he stepped off the pedal. Mark peeled off $80 and then turned to the Krals. “You guys can have it,” he said.

The VFW Fluke Derby is that kind of tournament.

Largest fluke: 1. Bill Dreyer (11.39); 2. Cooper Gilkes (7.05); 3. Peter Cox (6.68).

Largest sea bass: Kendall Nerney (5.4)

Kids (12 and under): 1. Joseph Medeiros (5.5); 2. Tate Buchwald (4.18); 3. Darien Kral (4.04); 4. Corbin Buchwald (3.8); 5. Radio Goulart (2.42).

Teens (13-16): 1. Brendon Morris (3.91); 2. Richard Gibson (3.75); 3. Nathaniel Packer (2.80).

Teams: 1. Breakaway (Bill Dreyer, Roger Kubiak, Joe Altavilla) 39.28; 2. Sole Men (Cooper Gilkes, Rick Harvey) 33.85; 3. Austin O (Keith Olsen, Walter Tomkins, Galvin Tomkins, Michael Tomkins) 31.86; 4. MV Times (Nelson Sigelman, Barry Stringfellow, Nathaniel Horwitz) 29.84.

Derby Book launch

Hold a five-week fishing tournament on an Island with lots of crazy fishermen for more than six decades and what do you get? Lots of fishing stories.

Add the skills 25 years ago of a talented Edgartown artist who was devoted to the nonprofit organization and agreed to create a print each year to be sold to help fund the tournament and what are you left with? A series of images by Ray Ellis that captured the excitement, mood and beauty of fishing on Martha’s Vineyard.

Ed Jerome, longtime Derby president, has collected 27 Derby stories, many previously published, and put them together with Ray Ellis Derby prints into an anthology titled, “An Amazing Story of the Vineyard’s Derby, Twenty-five years of Paintings, History and Fishing.”

There will be a reception and book signing to celebrate the publication of the book from 5 to 7 pm, Friday, July 18 at Edgartown Books on Main Street in Edgartown. Many of the contributors will be present to sign books. For more information, call 508-627-8463 or go to Edgartownbooks.com.

Speaking of

Speaking of the Derby and books, Ron Domurat of Edgartown has published a collection of Derby stories in a self-published paperback titled, “Three Decades of The Derby, A collection of Stories from Thirty Years of Participation in Martha’s Vineyard Fall Fishing Classic.”

I always knew Ron was a skillful fisherman. Now add writer to his portfolio. For anyone familiar with the Derby the stories will evoke memories of great fishermen and good times with men that include Don Mohr, Abe Williams, Gordon Ditchfield, Al “Angie” Angelone, Marsh Bryan, and Walter Lison.

Last chapter

Henry “Hank” A. Schauer died on Friday, July 4, 2014, at the Arnold Walter Nursing Home in Hazlet, New Jersey. He was 85. His obituary said, “He lived to fish.”

A memorial service will be held at 11 am on Saturday, July 19, at the All Saints Episcopal Church in Navesink. Interment will be private. Memorial donations may be made to the

Alzheimer’s Association, Greater New Jersey Chapter, 400 Morris Ave., Suite 251, Denville NJ 07934. Please visit Hank’s memorial website atwww.johnedayfuneralhome.com.

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The case, now in federal court, could determine if the Wampanoag Tribe may build a casino in Aquinnah.

Erected by Air Force reservists in 2004, the unfinished community center will be converted into a class II gaming facility, if the tribe's current plan is executed. — File photo by Nelson Sigelman

The town of Aquinnah and the Aquinnah/Gay Head Community Association Inc. (AGHCA) filed court documents last Thursday, July 10, in U.S. Federal District Court in Boston in which they asked to intervene in a lawsuit Governor Deval Patrick filed to block the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) from building what the tribe has described as boutique casino on tribal lands.

Governor Patrick first filed suit in December in state court. The Wampanoag tribe argued that the case rightly belonged in federal court. Earlier this month, U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV agreed, noting the body of federal law supersedes state law with respect to gaming on Indian lands.

In a statement issued in response to the ruling by Judge Saylor, Cheryl Andrews Maltais, Aquinnah Wampanoag Gaming Corporation chairman, (AWGC) said, “The U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Indian Gaming Commission have each provided formal legal opinions in support of our rights. We now have all of the federal approvals required to proceed with gaming on our existing trust lands, and we are confident, in light of this decision, that the federal court will confirm Aquinnah’s sovereign and federal statutory rights to do so.”

The central issue and major hurdle in the tribe’s long-running battle to build a casino, in southeastern Massachusetts or on tribal lands on Martha’s Vineyard, is the Settlement Agreement that led to federal recognition for the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head.

The Settlement Agreement was signed by tribal leadership in 1983 and was ratified by the state Legislature in 1985 and by Congress in 1987. That agreement stipulated that the tribe was subject to local and state laws and zoning regulations in effect at the time. In November, the tribe said a legal analysis from the National Indian Gaming Commission underpinned its view that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) supersedes the Settlement Agreement.

The town of Aquinnah takes the view, outlined by town counsel Ron Rappaport in a seven-page opinion dated April 27, 2012, that the Wampanoag Tribal Council of Gay Head Inc. cannot operate a gaming casino in Aquinnah because the 400 acres described in the Settlement Act are subject to the zoning regulations in effect at that time.

The state’s 2011 expanded gaming law authorized up to three licenses for resort casinos in Massachusetts, with a directive for the Patrick administration to negotiate gaming compacts with federally recognized Native American tribes.

Mr. Patrick negotiated a compact with the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, which is seeking to build a casino in Taunton, but refused to negotiate with the Aquinnah Wampanoag.

The Patrick administration contended that the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe was free to compete for a commercial gaming license under the strictures of the casino law, but forfeited its rights to tribal gaming when it signed the land settlement.

In turn, the Wampanoag tribal membership narrowly voted to turn its unfinished community center in Aquinnah into a Class II gaming facility. The building, erected by two teams of Air Force reservists in 2004 and 2005 has sat unfinished for more than nine years while the tribe engaged in a multimillion dollar casino effort. The vote split the tribal membership, with many Island residents opposed to any casino on tribal lands, and mainland members in favor.

Class II gaming encompasses high stakes bingo, poker, pull-tab cards and associated electronic games that do not require coin slots. Unlike class III gaming, which encompasses all types of gaming and requires a tribe-state agreement, tribes may regulate Class II gaming on their own lands without state authority, as long as the state in which the tribe is located permits that type of gaming.

James Newman, chairman of the three-member Aquinnah board of selectmen, which includes two tribal members, said the motion to intervene is necessary to protect the town

“It was the right thing and the natural thing to do to protect ourselves from the casino,” Mr. Newman said Tuesday.

Town counsel Ron Rappaport said the town believes it is appropriate to be a party to the state lawsuit for several reasons. “First, we are a party to the settlement agreement; second, and most importantly, we are the party that enforces zoning, and zoning does not permit commercial gaming. So we stand uniquely suited to advocate through the courts that our local rights need to be preserved.”

The town will not stand alone. The Gay Head community association, which has carried the fight to defend the settlement agreement in the past, will do so again.

In an email to The Times on Tuesday, retired lawyer and longtime AGHCA president Larry Hohlt said, “As noted in AGHCA’s filings, the tribe’s recent gaming-related actions directly implicate the meaning and enforceability of the 1983 Settlement Agreement and the implementing Federal and Commonwealth Acts by flaunting numerous agreements, restrictions, and general provisions set forth in those documents. At the core of this case is the question of whether the agreement struck among the town, the Tribal Council, the Commonwealth, and AGHCA’s predecessor (the Gay Head Taxpayers Association) in 1983 is going to be enforced.

“Each of the parties to the 1983 agreement derived great benefits from it, and made significant compromises to obtain those benefits. We strongly disagree with the Tribe’s position on the interaction of IGRA (the Indian Gaming Reform Act) with the 1983 Settlement Agreement and implementing acts, and with the legal opinions from the Interior Department and the NIGC (National Indian Gaming Commission). We have therefore moved to intervene in the present action in order to take the steps necessary to ensure that the Settlement Agreement is properly interpreted and applied, and that the parties to the agreement receive the full panoply of benefits for which they bargained — just as we have done in the past, and will continue to do in the future.”

In a prepared statement emailed to The Times Wednesday, Ms. Andrews Maltais, AWGC chairman said, “We fully anticipated the town and taxpayers would try to intervene. However, as the court stated, this is a matter of federal law. So in my opinion, the Commonwealth is fully capable of representing any interests they may feel they have; since I believe all of their interests or rights are derived from the Commonwealth.”

Several weeks late, striped bass began showing up in Island waters in better numbers.

Remick Smothers (left) holds one of two large striped bass he caught on a fly rod while fishing with Nelson Sigelman off Lobsterville Beach. — Photo courtesy of Remick Smother

Retelling fishing stories about how good the fishing used to be is a frightening symptom of aging that appears along with various other frightening signs that include aches that seldom seem to disappear, and hair disappearing from the right places and appearing in the wrong places. No one likes to sound like an old codger, even when codgerism is setting in.

In recent weeks, I had been living on my memories of how good the shore striped bass fishing used to be on Martha’s Vineyard, in particular Lobsterville Beach. In the 90s, when it was not unusual to see a line of fishermen stretching up and down the beach. I spent many nights casting to the sound of a large bowling ball dropping in the water, the sound a big bass makes when it hits bait on the surface.

Last season, Tom Robinson and I had each caught more than a dozen “keeper” bass, fish 28 at least inches in length, before the start of June. This season, I did not catch a keeper until late June. The last week in June, Tom and I fished Cedar Tree Neck on a rising tide just after sunset and caught not one fish for our efforts, not even a schoolie. Other fishermen were having equally dismal luck from the shore and on the water.

So I was pleasantly surprised last week to hear that the bass had started to show up around the Island. The boats were also picking up fish. But the best news concerned Lobsterville.

It is a magical spot for striped bass fly fishermen. The prevailing southwest winds blow right off the back and the fish are generally right off the beach. When it is hot it is one of the finest spots to fly fish for striped bass on the Vineyard (which means the world). I was anxious to get up-Island. What better excuse than a visitor who wanted to fish.

Every summer about this time I get a call from Remick Smothers. I began taking Remick fishing when he was about 7 years old. His family did not fish and he loved to fish so they gave me a call and asked if I wouldn’t take him fishing. I took him to Lobsterville Beach. He returned home and proudly deposited three big bluefish in his grandmother’s sink. I recall that she was as tickled by his catch as he was proud.

Remick is now 25 and a fine young man with lots of social obligations and a new job. Last week, I got the call. “Nelson, it’s Remick. I’m here for a week and I’d love to get together and do some fishing.”

My first free night was Thursday. Remick was off with his folks at 6 pm to a BBQ party off South Road in Chilmark, a fundraiser for the Y. No problem, I said, the bass fishing will not start until the sun goes down. I can pick you up at 8:30 pm in Chilmark.

Now there are people who like to fish and there are fishermen. Any 25-year-old guy who would leave lots of food, pretty women, beer and friends to go bass fishing is a fisherman.

The driveway looked like a Lexus, Mercedes, BMW dealership lot — not a pickup truck in sight as I did my best to avoid sideswiping any bumpers.

Remick and I arrived at Lobsterville and made a quick walk up the dark beach. Bass were delicately snatching bait from the surface. I cast to each expanding circular ripple on the surface of the water. Not far away, Phil Cronin of West Tisbury, tell-tale cigar in his mouth, cast to breaking fish.

An experienced charter captain, Phil said it was his first trip to the beach this season. Word filters around the Vineyard and Phil had gotten the word: Lobsterville.

Finding stripers and getting stripers to hit can be two separate challenges. The fish were there. The key turned out to be a small black fly and very slow retrieve.

Remick was casting an intermediate line that put his fly lower in the water column where the larger fish tend to roam. Remick gets excited about fishing, and he gets really excited when he is catching fish. “Nice fish,” he shouted to me as line rolled off his fly reel.

He slid the fish up the beach. The bass measured 34 inches, a fine catch on any night, but a particularly fine fish for a young man happy to be back fishing under the stars on Lobsterville Beach on Martha’s Vineyard and another good story for me to tell when I become a codger.

West Basin parking

Years ago, the state built a public boat launch ramp at the end of West Basin Road in Gay Head. The state failed to anticipate that the town would restrict parking to the extent that only residents could easily park a vehicle and boat trailer.

Years ago, a fisherman could park along the fence. The town now restricts that area to residents. There is a lot at the end of the road that is state property with about 12 spaces, used by beachgoers during the day and fishermen in the early morning and night. Out-of-town boaters can use one of those spaces to park a trailer. It is not a perfect situation but it works.

Unfortunately, I heard that several spaces had been occupied for more than a week by trailers. On Sunday, I saw three spaces occupied by trailers, one of which had a boat on it. Given the limited available spaces it seemed quite inconsiderate.

I spoke with Aquinnah Police Chief Rhandi Belain. He has always done his best to accommodate fishermen. Chief Belain said he was aware of the three trailers and was looking into getting them moved to free up the spaces.

The owner of the boat and trailer said he was waiting for a mooring. That was several weeks ago, Chief Belain said. The chief has ordered signs that state that overnight parking is prohibited. That may help. A little consideration would also help.

Fluke fishermen get ready

The VFW fluke tournament is this Saturday and Sunday, July 12, 13. The cost to enter is $20 for adults, $10 for teens and seniors; 12 and under are free but registration is required.

In addition to the individual competition there is a team division. That is an additional $20. The winning team gets half the purse — the glory is priceless. Four heaviest fish each day count to the team’s total. It does not matter who catches the fish. Weigh-in is from 4 pm to 6 pm at the VFW. There is a cook-out on Sunday followed by an awards ceremony. Register at Coop’s, Larry’s, Dick’s, Shark’s Landing and the VFW. This is a fun tournament. For more information, call Peter at 774-563-0293.

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Island public agencies provided shelter from the storm for more than 150 members of a tour group left stranded when Hurricane Arthur shut down SSA ferries Friday night.

Stranded Island tourists bedded down for the night on cots set up in the Tisbury School gym. — Rick Sun

There are more luxurious accommodations on Martha’s Vineyard than the Tisbury and Oak Bluffs school gyms. But on Friday night, more than 150 tired members of a stranded tour group were more than happy to sleep on cots set up on the parquet floor as Hurricane Arthur lashed the Island with torrential rains and high winds.

The details read as though they might have come from the playbook of a regional public safety drill. A category 1 hurricane races up the coast on July Fourth. The Steamship Authority (SSA) cancels the last boats and more than 150 mostly Asian tourists from New York City who expected to depart on the 8:30 pm ferry wait anxiously in the Vineyard Haven ferry terminal with no place to go.

But this was no drill. As the rain fell and the winds picked up to gale force, members of the Island’s emergency management network and public agencies sprang into action. Within hours, all of the visiting tourists had places to sleep. By 7 am the next morning, they were on their way back home with an exciting story to tell about their trip to Martha’s Vineyard.

Calm before the storm

Friday was hot and humid. Hurricane Arthur was predicted to race by Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket late that night. Weather forecasts predicted heavy rains and strong winds as the storm passed by late at night.

L & L Travel Enterprises, Inc., a major tour operator in New York City that caters mostly to Asians and Chinese speakers, had brought about 400 visitors to the Island for the day. The visitors planned to spend the day shopping and sightseeing and return that evening on the 8:30 pm ferry to Woods Hole and waiting tour buses.

And they were not alone. Two more tour groups, about 100 people, were on the Island.

Later in the day, as the storm began to approach, SSA agents were able to convince many members of the tour groups to board an earlier ferry to Woods Hole. Others continued to shop and look around town, unmindful of the worsening weather conditions and the likelihood of boat cancellations.

Uh-oh

SSA terminal agent Dave Merritt said that terminal manager Bridget Tobin cautioned travelers as they disembarked throughout the day that the approaching storm could disrupt later travel.

By 6 pm, terminal agents were doing their best to get day travelers to board early boats.

Mr. Merritt said the tour directors appeared to be doing the best they could, but with so many people off in so many directions it was difficult to communicate. “We told one of the tour directors, you need to go on this boat or an earlier boat because there is a possibility the 8:30 boat will not run,” he told The Times in a telephone conversation. “I told her that, but the people didn’t want to get on the 6:15 because the people in general didn’t know what was going on.”

Due to worsening weather conditions, the SSA shifted the 8:30 departure from Oak Bluffs to Vineyard Haven. There was a 7:15 scheduled to depart Vineyard Haven.

“The 6:15 left and they didn’t get on it so we started sending groups and groups over to Vineyard Haven to try and get them on the 7:15,” Mr. Merritt said as the tour operators attempted to get in touch with members of their group.

Mr. Merritt went to Vineyard Haven to help out. “We got tons of people on the 7:15, but it was like pulling teeth,” he said, “because they didn’t want to go because all their people weren’t there and some of their tour directors weren’t there because they were over in Oak Bluffs trying to find all their people. It was really a madhouse, lots of confusion.”

Mr. Merritt said he spoke to one man, who appeared to be in charge of one of the groups, and told him to get his people on the boat and their tour buses would be there to meet them on the other side.

“The 7:15 left and everybody was fine and then all of a sudden more people started coming in from all the tours that were scattered around town, that didn’t get called, that didn’t make it in time. About 170 of them. All of a sudden the 8:30 cancels. Uh-oh.”

Call to action

It was dark and raining, and SSA terminal agents Dave Merritt and Joe Sullivan had more than 170 people crammed inside the small building with no place to go. Ticket agents began calling around for rooms, but few were available. An alternative needed to be found.

Mr. Merritt called Chuck Cotnoir, Dukes County emergency management coordinator, who works closely with each town’s emergency management director. “I said Chuck, we’ve got a shelter for these people, 170 people, they’re Chinese. Some speak English, some don’t. We’ve got to do something for these people.”

Mr. Cotnoir began making telephone calls. Mr. Merritt said initially it was difficult to reach people. Mr. Merritt contacted Tisbury police. There was some initial confusion about the extent of the problem and what needed to be done, he said.

In a short time coordinated efforts began developing to help the stranded visitors.

Tisbury Police Sergeant Chris Habekost and officer Jeff Day helped keep people calm. Sergeant Haberkost began calling hotels to find rooms for the elderly and families with children. On one of the busiest holiday weekends of the year he was able to locate seven rooms in Tisbury and four rooms in Oak Bluffs.

In the terminal, several people began feeling sick. EMTs arrived to help out. Nearby Porto Pizza faced a deluge of customers. “It was really interesting,” Mr. Merritt said. “But we all did great, we all pulled together. Everybody that was working here, the Steamship Authority, the police, the tour guides, there was no problem, no fighting, everybody was listening and communicating.”

Plans were made to open up the Tisbury School gym, a designated emergency shelter.

But there were no cots immediately available. Mr. Cotnoir called John Christensen, West Tisbury emergency management director (EMD).

Mr. Christensen began rounding up cots. When he realized he did not have enough, he called Tim Carroll, Chilmark EMD. The men worked in the rain to get the cots to Tisbury.

Angela Grant, Vineyard Transit Authority (VTA) administrator, directed buses to assist with transportation.

Richard S. Reinhardsen, chairman of the Salvation Army, and Shelley Christensen arrived at the Tisbury school to hand out juice and snacks.

Ann Marie Cywinski, Martha’s Vineyard American Red Cross team captain and assistant Tisbury assessor, brought resources that included personal hygiene kits to hand out to the stranded people. She and other volunteers would spend the night in the shelters with the unexpected Island guests.

Tisbury Police Lieutenant Eerik Meisner, who is also the town’s emergency management director, contacted Tisbury Fire Chief John Schilling. The men opened the Tisbury School gym and began setting up cots.

Mr. Meisner also called Oak Bluffs fire chief and EMD John Rose, who began mobilizing to open the Oak Bluffs School.

“We weren’t expecting that to happen, but we made a good show of it,” Lt. Meisner said.

“And kudos to Oak Bluffs. They stepped up and took about half the people, otherwise I don’t think we would have been able to fit all those people in the school.”

A VTA bus transported more than 70 weary travelers to the Oak Bluffs School.

“We set up all of our cots and they were happy,” Mr. Rose said. “By midnight they were pretty much all sleeping.”

Mr. Rose and a police officer spent the night at the shelter along with the town’s guests.

The next morning a VTA bus arrived and transported the visitors to the ferry terminal in time to catch the 7 am ferry. “It was pretty seamless; it worked pretty well,” Mr. Rose said.

All came together

Ms. Cywinski said the first bus load of about 70 people went to Oak Bluffs. Buses took 84 people to the Tisbury School. Members of the Salvation Army were there to greet them with snacks and juice. “They just came in and ran for the cots, they were so tired and confused,” Ms. Cywinski said.

With the help of a translator, Mr. Cotnoir put up signs in Chinese so that people would know where the bathrooms were located in the Tisbury School

Mr. Cotnoir praised the regional effort. “I think that everybody did a truly excellent job,” he said. “It was just incredible the way it all came together. The whole thing was from 8:20 pm to midnight and they were in all bed. That is what coordination is all about.”

Thank you Martha’s Vineyard

L&L company vice president Rich Sun told The Times in a telephone call Saturday that he was very grateful for all the help.

“We were very grateful, very thankful that they did their best to find shelter,” he said. “We really appreciate it. We saw the pictures of the night and all the people very peacefully resting. We really appreciate it.”

Mr. Sun said his company paid for the hotel rooms. “It was pretty expensive, about $400 per room,” he said.

Mr. Sun said he sent four busloads of visitors to the Island on Friday, about 200 people in all, mostly Asian Americans from New York City. He questioned why the SSA did not provide a warning that there was a possibility boats might be cancelled. “All the tour guides were very experienced and none of them were notified about this,” he said.

He said that one group boarded the 7:15 pm boat and made it back to the mainland. The

majority were stranded, however. “I hope if a similar thing happens some warning would be given to tour guides before they get on the Island,” he said.

Mr. Sun said he was aware of the weather reports of a hurricane moving up the coast. “I did see that, but when we checked weather reports we did not see anything so significant,” he said.

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A file photo shows the section of South Road near where the accident occurred. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

Alexandro Garcia, 22, of Springfield died just after noon on Wednesday after he lost control of the moped he was operating on South Road in Chilmark and drove into the path of an oncoming pickup truck operated by Jonathan Rich, 24, of West Tisbury.

Mr. Rich had just left work at the Grey Barn Farm and pulled out of the driveway on his way down Island. Mr. Garcia was driving up Island when he went off the road on the right side, tried to correct, and crossed into the oncoming traffic, Chilmark Police Chief Brian Cioffi said.

Chilmark, Aquinnah, West Tisbury, and State Police responded to the accident call at 12:27 pm. The State Police accident reconstruction team arrived on the Island about 3 pm. South Road was closed between the Grange Hall in West Tisbury and Beetlebung Corner in Chilmark most of the afternoon while police investigated. No charges will be filed.

Mr. Garcia worked for Sun & Fun, an Oak Bluffs moped rental business owned by Don Gregory Jr., Mr. Garcia’s brother-in-law.  He had the day off and was alone at the time, possibly on his way to the beach, Mr. Cioffi said.

“It is just an unfortunate, tragic, sad accident,” Chief Cioffi said. “My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of both young men involved.”

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Every fisherman’s list of gear should include some type of PFD.

Rene Sehr of Holland holds up a small striped bass he caught in Menemsha Pond. — Rene Sehr

If you think about it, fishing is an inherently dangerous sport. There are sharp hooks and fish with sharp teeth. There are rocks to slip on, jetties to fall off, and boats to sink. But the biggest danger fishermen face, particularly experienced fishermen, is complacency.

How often do you see a single fisherman tooling along in his boat wearing no personal flotation device (PFD)? Too often. And not just fishermen.

The prevailing excuse is that there are other boats around, or the water is calm, or he or she is a good swimmer or the mindset that accidents happen to someone else. Well, they do not.

Inflatable PFDs are inexpensive — cheaper than a fishing reel or a casket — and they are comfortable to wear fishing from a boat or on land. Why would you need one on land?

Last week, I received an email from Rene Sehr (aka one of the Dutch guys). Rene has been visiting the Vineyard from Holland for years, usually in the company of Ton Kalkman, for an annual fishing vacation. He fishes hard day and night. He said his vacation started slow because he was a bit sick due to the air conditioning in the plane. But he soon got down to business.

“I found a few fish, but most of the beaches I used to fish and catch, were deserted places, no fishermen and no fish or just a few small fish, so I started roaming the ponds and I found some good schools of small herring and finally the bass arrived,” Rene said. “During daytime I caught a lot of small bass, but during the night I also caught keeper sized bass. So my fishing was pretty good.”

“We once experienced the drowning of a guide, you wrote an article about this sad event,” Rene said, referring to the June 2002 death of Kenneth Schwam, 46, of Oak Bluffs and Wyncote, Pennsylvania.

Ken, a fly fishing guide, drowned after he stepped off a sandbar into deep water just before midnight while fishing off Eel Pond in the Fuller Street Beach area of Edgartown’s outer harbor. Ken was fishing with a client on a sandbar off the beach. Returning to the shore in darkness, the men mistakenly stepped into a channel and became separated in the water.

In November, 1997, David Nielsen, 38, was fishing on the inside of Tisbury Great pond, a short distance from the ocean opening, when he accidentally stepped off a sandbar into deep water and drowned.

Rene continued, “One of those dark and foggy evenings last week I was standing on a sandbank in the pond, when I hooked up with a good fish, that forced me to go further onto the bank and deeper into the water. Finally I could unhook the fish and I wasn’t aware that the fog has became very thick! I stood up and due to the use of my headlight I couldn’t see a thing for a few moments. After that I saw that there was very little world left around me. So for a few moments I became a little bit shocked. We have an expression in Holland, but I cannot translate it properly, but it’s something like: my heart stood still for a moment. Where has the shore gone? Well after 20-30 seconds the fog pads drifted away and I was able to see a little bit of the shore again. But I cannot explain what came over me for a few moments!

My point: beware of the fog and do not say it cannot happen to me! I know this area pretty good, but you are completely lost when this happens!

So I have caught a good amount of fish, but only three on the flyrod…. Most of the fish could only be caught deep in the channel with heavy shads. So, see you next year and I will bring Ton again.”

White shark numbers increase

A recent study of white sharks by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that their numbers are increasing, in part due to strict conservation measures.

NOAA said white sharks are among the largest, most widespread apex predators in the ocean but are also among the most vulnerable. The new study, the most comprehensive ever on seasonal distribution patterns and historic trends in abundance of white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) in the western North Atlantic Ocean, used records compiled over more than 200 years to update knowledge and fill in gaps in information about this species, NOAA said in a press release.

“White sharks in the Northwest Atlantic are like a big jigsaw puzzle, where each year we are given only a handful of pieces,” said Tobey Curtis, a shark researcher at NOAA’s Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office in Gloucester, and lead author of the study. “After decades of effort by a lot of researchers, we finally have enough puzzle pieces for a picture to emerge on distribution and abundance patterns. We are pleased to see signs of population recovery.”

Among the findings: White sharks occur primarily between Massachusetts and New Jersey during the summer, off Florida during winter, and with a broad distribution along the U.S. East Coast during spring and fall. The sharks are much more common along the coast than in offshore waters. The annual north-south distribution shift of the population is driven by environmental preferences, such as water temperature, and the availability of prey.

The return of gray seal colonies off the coast of Cape Cod followed by frequent sightings of white sharks has generated considerable media publicity and provided the state Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) with unprecedented opportunities to study the feared and fascinating predators.

The NOAA study provides plenty of reason to think that white shark sightings in the waters surrounding the Vineyard will increase.

While the overall distribution of white sharks is very broad, ranging from Newfoundland to the British Virgin Islands and from the Grand Banks to the Gulf of Mexico as far west as the Texas coast, 90 percent of the animals recorded in this study were found along the East Coast roughly between the Florida Keys and northern Caribbean Sea to Nova Scotia, Canada. The center of the distribution is in southern New England and the Mid-Atlantic Bight, where 66 percent of the sharks occurred.

The U.S., which has managed its shark fisheries since 1993, banned both commercial and recreational harvesting of white sharks in 1997.

The study said that newborn white sharks, as small as four feet long, regularly occur off Long Island, New York, suggesting this area may provide nursery habitat. The largest shark in the study considered accurately measured was a female landed on Prince Edward Island, Canada, in August 1983. The animal measured 17.26 feet from the tip of its snout to the fork in its tail.

VFW fluke derby

Had enough of World Cup histrionics? Tired of celebrity tournaments, celebrity fundraisers, celebrity this and that? Join the VFW Post 9261 MV Fluke Fishing Derby for some good Island fun Saturday and Sunday, July 12 and 13.

This is a rock-solid Island tournament and an awful lot of fun with a no-frills awards ceremony and barbecue Sunday at the VFW on Towanticut Avenue in Oak Bluffs. Where else on Martha’s Vineyard could a set of four beer mugs with one cracked glass command an auction price of over $40?

Prizes for the biggest fluke and sea bass. Kids 12 and under enter free but must register. Adults registration is $20, teens and seniors are $10. Weigh-in is 4 to 6 pm at the VFW. There is also a team competition. For more information, call organizer Peter Hermann at 774-563-0293. Register at local tackle shops.

R.I.P., Walter

Walter Ashley of Oak Bluffs died Saturday. A fisherman, hunter, and fixer of most anything brought into C&W Power, his small machine repair shop in the airport business park, he will be missed by those who came to appreciate his deadpan sense of humor and sure fix on what was right and wrong in life.