Shack sports new swordfish

The swordfish created by fisherman Scott McDowell for a Menemsha shack. - Rich Saltzberg

Artist and charter fisherman Scott McDowell gifted Chilmark a copper swordfish last month. The fish is McDowell’s creation, and is now mounted on the shack on Menemsha bulkhead lot 1A, near the Menemsha Fish Market. The lot was recently leased to McDowell and fisherman Wes Brighton, after the previous leaseholder returned the lot to the town.

In a letter to Chilmark’s selectmen, McDowell outlined why he gave the swordfish to the town. “I had the south end of the shanty reshingled, and added a swordfish,” he wrote. “Rasmus Klimm had this shack before Jimmy Morgan, and had it covered in great folk art. I thought I’d pay homage to both him and the many swordfishermen that have fished out of Menemsha. This swordfish is a gift from me to Chilmark in repayment for all it has given me over the years. I am hoping the selectmen and the town of Chilmark will accept this gift.”

At the board’s March 6 meeting, the selectmen voted unanimously to accept McDowell’s gift and thank him for it.

“We couldn’t be more pleased,” Chilmark Parks and Recreation chairman Andy Goldman said Thursday. Goldman’s department oversees Menemsha’s bulkhead leases. Goldman described McDowell as “a terrific craftsman.”

“I love it,” co-leaseholder Wes Brighton said. Brighton was especially pleased with the anatomical correctness he saw in the swordfish’s design.

Brighton said he works on lobster traps and buoys in the shack, and stores salt inside while McDowell stows rods, among other things.

McDowell could not be immediately reached for comment.