Fisherman ties an elegant knot at Vineyard wedding

Groom John Piekos and ring-bearer Thomas Cacace sport their fly boutonnières. — File photo by

There are people who like to fish, and there are fishermen. The distinction between the two categories may not always be apparent to the casual observer, or in conversation between two people on their first date — or the second — or third.

For those in the first group, fishing is fun, but it occupies a position that is an afterthought: “It looks like it might rain, I think I better go home and start making dinner.”

For those in the second group, fishing is the thought: “That thunder sounded like it was still miles away and the lightning’s not too bad, I think I still have time to make a few casts.”

Karen Cambray got a hint of the fraternity she would be marrying into when she and her fiancée, now husband, John Piekos, began the planning for their Island wedding, held on June 12 in Edgartown.

John is a software guy from Westford who owns a house in Edgartown. He is also an avid fly fisherman (a particular kind of derangement) who is passionate about the annual catch and release tournament and the Derby and spends as much time as he can fishing the Island.

Karen is the chief financial officer for a technology company in Lexington. I spoke with her by telephone about a week before their wedding after I learned about the unique arrangements she planned to incorporate in the ceremony.

“I’m getting married to John Piekos and he’s really passionate about fishing,” Karen told me.

Uh-huh, I thought. Wait a few years and passionate will become crazy when she describes her husband.

I did not share my well-worn insights gathered over 20 years of marriage or the countless anecdotes I have recounted in fishing columns. She was in premarital bliss so I let her continue.

“John fishes the Derby every year and the catch and release tournament every year so when we decided to get married Martha’s Vineyard was the perfect place for us.”

She said they planned a small wedding of about 60 family members and close friends. “John wanted some sort of a fishing theme, right? Of course, I wanted something elegant,” she said and laughed.

Uh-huh, I thought. I laughed too.

One hitch in the pre-wedding planning was the date of the tournament, also held in June. “When we scheduled the wedding he was concerned about the date of the catch and release tournament,” she said.

“Would he have delayed the wedding?” I asked.

Karen said, “I’m pretty sure we would have lost some deposit money.”

The ceremony was at the gazebo in the Harbor View hotel. The reception was planned for the Boathouse at the end of Main Street overlooking Edgartown Harbor.

Karen said she loves the room’s elegant navy and white motif.

During a conversation with the florist, Lynda Dandeneau, “John said he wanted to wear a lure or a fly or something. We laughed, and he said, why not? Some of the flies are beautiful.”

So John and I got to talking.”

Karen got a navy blue and white tie with a fish design at Vineyard Vines to go with John’s navy blue suit. Karen went through John’s fly box to look for an appropriate fly.

She found a fly with the required colors, white and blue, but it fell short of her requirements.

Karen and John decided to turn to a shop that has never been featured in Modern Bride magazine — Coop’s.

Justin Pribanic and Robby Morrison were in the shop. Both men are skilled fly tiers and fishermen, but I guarantee you they have never picked up a copy of Modern Bride magazine.

John was out fishing on Chappy (uh-huh), so Karen went to Coop’s by herself. “I went in and Justin and Rob were so nice,” Karen said. “I told them I wanted the fly in place of boutonniere and they were not sure what I was talking about. I explained it was in place of a flower and they said, okay now we get it.”

“So, I was describing the colors that I wanted, a little more red here and a little more silver there and I offered to leave the tie,” she said. “And they said, no, no, no we’re not really style guys. So I told them, I’ll be the designer and you be the architects.”

Most of the fly requests Robby fields are for people who want to catch striped bass, bonito, or false albacore. He is fashionable but strictly in a fishing sense, a fact he was more than willing to admit when I asked him about Karen’s visit.

“I’m not really good at matching clothing,” Robby said, adding for emphasis, “Look at me.”

He said that when Karen first walked into the shop she said she had a weird question. Would they tie a fly even if it was not for fishing, she asked. Of course, they were more than happy to oblige

The final product took several days and several color adjustments before Karen had the match she wanted. Two flies were needed, one for John and another for the ring bearer, Thomas Cacace, 7, of North Andover.

But how to attach the fly to the coat? Sticking the hook through the jacket would not do. The guys suggested Karen go to Beadnicks and pick out a pin so that they could use a glue gun to attach the fly.

The finished products greatly pleased Karen and John. There was no cost. Coop and Lela Gilkes said the flies were a wedding present.

One week before the wedding Karen told me, “Justin and Rob did a great job on them. So I got elegance and he got his flies.”

Karen said it was a good compromise. I asked if that was the recipe for a good marriage. “I think so,” Karen said.

Were you aware of his fishing affliction when you first met him, I asked.

“You know,” Karen said, “he mentioned it but I wasn’t aware exactly how much of an affliction it was.”

I asked her when she realized that fishing was more than just a casual hobby.

“I realized it when he actually took a sabbatical in 2006 to fish (here she paused and emphasized each word) — every-day -of-the -Derby. That is when I realized it, when he took a five-week sabbatical. I said, huh?”

Karen said, “Its not just a hobby, its not just that he is passionate about it because I thought we all have hobbies that we are passionate about. It is more than that, so that is when I realized it.

“But its okay, he loves it but he still makes enough time for me.”

I received the following post-wedding email update from John: “Our honeymoon consisted of a few additional days on Martha’s Vineyard, then back to work. Actually, I had committed to participating in the 3rd annual Martha’s Vineyard vs. Nantucket fishing tournament (MV Surfcasters vs. Nantucket Surfcasters club), which was this past weekend. I’m happy to report after losing the first two years, this year we finally won and took home the cup for our club/Island.”