|Vanderly Pereira daSilva holds a wayward bonito he caught Sunday. Photo Courtesy of Steve Maxner
What to make of a bonito caught off Menemsha
This is a fish story that should attract the attention of Al Gore, the nation's former vice president who had a mid-life crisis and became a global warming activist. A fisherman caught a bonito from the Menemsha jetty in mid-June.
I did not believe the story at first. Even presented with photographic evidence of the alleged fisherman holding the alleged fish I still find it hard to swallow.
But the sea is a strange place and Menemsha is even stranger. Perhaps, I thought, this is one of Karsten Larsen's pet bonito.
The story began with a telephone call from Steve Maxner of West Tisbury on Monday. I know Steve to be a skilled fisherman with a fondness for bonito and a quiet sincerity that made me doubt he was trying to put one over on me.
Steve said he thought he had a fishing story. "You tell me," he said before proceeding with the details.
"My son-in-law's brother, yesterday, off the Menemsha jetty at 3:35 caught a bonita."
What was my reaction? About the same I suspect as any reader who knows anything about the miniature tuna Islanders expect to see in Vineyard waters, only in mid-July, not mid-June.
"No way," I said to Steve.
"We ate it last night, we have the carcass and we have photographs," said Steve.
Steve had listed three sources of possible evidence, only one of which interested me: the photo. I had no interest in playing at CSI-Menemsha.
Steve expressed his own sense of disbelief. I never lost mine as I tried to divine every word for any hint of foolery in the story I was hearing.
"Can you believe that? It is unbelievable," said Steve. "June 18!"
I asked Steve again. "Are you pulling my leg?"
He offered to bring me the carcass. Out of deference to my Times co-workers who have had to put up with a variety of fish, fowl, and mammal brought into The Times, I told Steve the photo would be sufficient.
Steve said that the lucky fisherman, Vanderly Pereira daSilva, did not even know what it was he had caught on his large Swedish Pimple, a metal lure meant to resemble a sand eel. A big striped bass was following his fish and his attention was focused on the bass.
"It was just funny because he said he didn't know what it was and there was this huge bass trying to eat the bonito on the way in," said Steve.
Quite frankly I still do not know what to think of this story. I want to believe that bonito will soon arrive and have no reason to doubt the photograph, but it just seems too early.
Curious, I did a little research. According to the Massachusetts Saltwater Sport Fishing Guide published by the Division of Marine Fisheries the season for bonito is late July to October.
One of the wonders and I suppose the reason for the success of Google, the Internet search engine, is that people like me can type in "preferred water temperature for Atlantic bonito" and the computer instantly provides pages upon pages of information on where I can get Cialis made from bonito, find photos of nude bonito, buy a pill that will make larger bonito and learn what water temperatures certain species of fish prefer.
According to a site that brought up Saltwater Sportsman Magazine, the low water temperature for bonito is 60 degrees and the optimum water temperature range is between 65 and 75 degrees.
Checking current buoy readings, I saw that the water temperature off Woods Hole and Newport, R.I., was 66 degrees. It was 59 degrees off New London, Ct., and the highest water temperature was 75 degrees off Conimicut Light, R.I.
Clearly the water temperature did not rule out an early arrival. I needed more expert confirmation.
"Are you willing to believe someone caught a bonito off Menemsha jetty?" I asked my friend Cooper "Coop" Gilkes.
"I am if you are telling me you saw the picture," said Coop. "We've had them show up early before, one or two fish, everyone gets excited and then nothing happens for weeks."
I want to believe, I really do.
15th annual catch and release tournament
A fishing contest spawned out of conversations at winter fly tying classes in the Martha's Vineyard Rod and Gun Club celebrates its 15th year Saturday.
The annual Martha's Vineyard Rod and Gun Club Fly Rod Striped Bass Catch and Release Tournament is a unique event for a variety of reasons. By way of disclosure, I was one of the early organizers and I still help officiate at the awards ceremony, but I think most of the participants, many of whom return year after year, would agree with me that this is a truly unusual event.
Fishermen fish in teams and all catch tallies are strictly a matter of personal honesty. Early on we decided that if someone is that desperate to have a plaque that he or she would lie we would not worry about it.
Everyone who fishes the tournament, and is present at the awards ceremony has an opportunity to win a very nice prize. All entry forms go into a box and are pulled at random.
There are three prize categories: The Roberto Germani Trophy for the most striped bass caught and released by a team, in honor of an island "character" who believed strongly in the philosophy of catch and release;
The Sonny and Joey Beaulieu Trophy, for the largest striped bass caught and released in honor of the father and son who died in a tragic boating accident along with Fred Loud and his son Adam; and the Arnold Spofford Trophy for the most fish caught and released by a team using one fly in honor of a fly fisherman and gentleman.
The entry fee is $35. Money raised by the tournament helps to provide trout for the Kid's Trout Derby, send two kids to summer Conservation Camp and supports the M.V. Regional High School culinary arts program's annual trip.
The first cast cannot be made until 7 pm Saturday night and tournament fishing must stop at exactly 2 am Sunday morning [Rules and registration forms are available here].
Fishermen must register Saturday between noon and 3 pm at the high school cafeteria. On Sunday the culinary arts program provides breakfast. The awards ceremony begins at 10 am.
Coop's Bait and Tackle will be hosting Orvis Day on Friday from 10 am to 2 pm. This is an opportunity to eat a hot dog and try casting some of Orvis' newest fly rods as long as you wipe the mustard and relish from your fingers.
This is a great opportunity to talk to the folks from Orvis and receive some expert instruction, ask questions or just trade fishing tips with many of the fishermen who stop by.
For more information, call 508-627-3909.
Is being a school principal more stressful than taking people fishing for hire? Ed Jerome, long-time Edgartown School principal, is about to find out.
Ed, who retired last fall and grew a beard, has joined the Edgartown charter boat fleet. Principal Jerome is now Captain Ed Jerome, master and commander of a 32-foot Luhrs Wayfarer.
Ed is taking a big risk. I can see every kid who ever had to stay after school plotting to charter Captain Ed.
"Uh, Mr. Jerome, I'm sorry but I hit the free spool and the wire line all came off your reel ... um, Mr. Jerome, I think I dropped your rod in the water ... uh, Mr. Jerome, I'm not feeling so good ..."