Gone Fishin' : Islanders make VFW fluke tournament a crowning success
The Oak Bluffs Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post was an island of sanity Sunday. I heard no talk about the King of Pop, the recently departed gloved strange one who had so dominated the "news," and no speculation about where President Obama might stay, or even if he plans to visit Martha's Vineyard, referred to as Hollywood East by those who know nothing about the Island.
The conversation was all about fluke. What does that tell you about the world we live in and the head-screwed-on-straight VFW's basic charm?
By most measures, the tenth annual VFW Fluke Tournament was a major success. Last year, 179 people entered. Peter Hermann, tournament chairman, said this year there were 223 individual entries and 25 teams. People caught fish, maybe not a lot, but the weather was nice and everybody had fun.
Like the one-story post building on Towanticut Avenue, the tournament is a no-frills affair and that is what makes it so appealing. This is an Islanders fishing tournament.
Fishermen competed individually and as teams. The team competition was based on the combined weight of the four heaviest fish landed each of the two days.
On Sunday fishermen crowded around the scale to watch Peter weigh in fish as the 6 pm finish time approached. Team 4-B's, perennial bridesmaids Ben Ross, Billy Dreyer, Bob Goff, and Steve Buckley, hoped that this year they might land on top. But when the tally was announced (with a little math help from Phil Cronin) they were 3 ounces under first-place team "Four Reel."
Much of the talk was about how hard people had to work to find good-sized fluke. The weather cooperated, but the fish did not.
Saturday was calm and sunny but a bit cool. My teammate Remick Smothers and I fished the deep water along Pasque and Naushon between Quicks and Robinsons holes. The morning began optimistically. Remick caught a nice 19-inch fluke and I told him to throw it back because we were looking for big fish. Later, as we struggled to get a fourth fish for our team limit, I regretted that decision.