Gone Fishin' : An Island visit spawned newspaperman's first book
In April, Atlantic/Monthly published "The Big One: An Island, an Obsession, and the Furious Pursuit of a Great Fish." The story focuses on the 62nd annual Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby and in the process describes the fishermen, culture, and history of this singular Island event.
Even before the book was released, DreamWorks Studio bought the film rights. It was quite a catch for David Kinney.
Mr. Kinney is a former reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Associated Press, and the Newark Star-Ledger, where he contributed to the Ledger's Pulitzer-Prize winning reporting on the resignation of Gov. Jim McGreevey.
Mr. Kinney is also an enthusiastic fisherman. He lives outside Philadelphia in Haddonfield, N.J., with his two children and his wife, Monica Yant Kinney, metro columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer. "The Big One" is his first book.
There are a lot of fishing tournaments. How did you find the Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby?
One year, on a trip through New England, I spotted a mention of the Derby in a tour guide. It was November, but my wife and I decided to take the ferry and see the Vineyard. I remember it was cold and dreary, and we didn't have anywhere to stay, so we just drove to Edgartown, took a picture of the shuttered weigh station, grabbed dinner and then head off-Island. But I was intrigued. I'm a fisherman, and I told my wife I had to return one day and fish the thing. A few years later, I read the Robert Post classic, Reading the Water: Adventures in Surf Fishing from Martha's Vineyard, which reminded me about the derby and introduced me to the rich vein of fishing stories on the Island.
I'd always wanted to write a book. After I quit my newspapering job to take care of my daughter in 2004 - she was then seven months old - it seemed like the time to give it a try. The Derby kept bouncing around in my head. The setting for the story couldn't be beat - as people who love the Vineyard can appreciate - and I thought it would make an interesting story. Once I dove into it, I found I was right.
Did you ever wonder how on earth you would turn this fishing marathon into a book?