Gone Fishin' : Catch and release contest brings few fish but some surprises
The 18th annual Martha's Vineyard Rod and Gun Club striped bass catch and release tournament was held Saturday night. Unfortunately, the enthusiasm of the 193 fishermen who turned out did not match the willingness of the fish to cooperate.
All signs pointed to a good night of fishing. The fog, rain and wind that had dominated the previous week disappeared and the wind turned southwest.
Generally, a wind that blows out of the southwest brings good spring fishing. It propels schools of bait followed by migrating bass and blues.
The wind blew hard Saturday night. Still, that would not have been an insurmountable problem for the legions of fly fishermen that spread out across the Island in search of bass.
The problem was, there were no striped bass on the beach, or when found, the bass were not interested in striking a fly. How do I know that? Because my team members and I fished from about 8 pm until 2 am and never caught a fish, and we were not alone.
If misery loves company, we had plenty of it judging by the reports of fisherman at the awards ceremony Sunday morning. But if fishing is about having fun with friends, the tournament remained a success.
Fishermen fish in teams from the shore between 7 pm and 2 am. Awards are presented to the team that catches and releases the most fish, the team that does it without any of the members changing flies, and the individual fisherman who catches the largest fish based on a measurement of length and girth. Awards are determined based on the honor system.
When fishermen turned in their fish counts prior to the start of Sunday's awards ceremony regional high school cafeteria, there was an opportunity to hear some interesting stories.