Remembering Luke Gurney, honoring his legacy

Third annual Fluke for Luke tournament celebrates life of lost fisherman.


It’s been three years since the Island lost a treasured father, son, and friend to a tragic fishing accident. To honor the legacy of beloved Islander Luke Gurney, more than 350 fishermen from across the country and the world traveled to the Vineyard the weekend of July 6 to take part in the third annual Fluke for Luke fishing tournament. 

In 2016, Gurney and his first mate Ricky LeBlanc were setting conch pots west of Nantucket’s Great Point from the 42-foot No Regrets,”when Gurney became entangled in one of the lines and was pulled overboard. A search ensued, with multiple agencies and good Samaritans scouring the area where the men were fishing. 

After Gurney’s death, the Vineyard community came together to support his wife and family, and the Fluke for Luke Tournament was created to honor his caring nature and passion for fishing. 

Friends of Gurney told The Times he was a “one-of-a-kind personality.”

“There are still so many people willing to donate so much time and effort to Luke’s family, it really is a testament to how much he meant to the Island,” Joe El-Deiry, a close friend of Gurney, said. “Some people never knew Luke, but they could feel the immense weight that he held in the community.”

Gurney’s wife, Robyn, wrote in a letter to the community how much she appreciates the generosity and kindness over the past three years. 

She thanked those who supported Gurney’s children through a major tragedy, and continue to support them today by providing for their future. “Thank you for ensuring that Jacob and Sam’s future is not limited by the loss of their dad, our situation, or a lack of resources,” she wrote. 

Some money raised from the tournament will go toward the boys’ college funds. “The money raised for the boys’ college funds will allow them to simply have choices they would not otherwise have. Thanks to you, they will be able to follow their passion and go after their dreams just like their dad, and there is no better way for them to honor him,” Robyn wrote. 

The competition was a huge success, with team Pay Back finishing first in the running for the third year in a row, with a total fish weight of 34.81 pounds. Big Flatties came in second with 23.55 pounds, and Joe Fish took third place overall with 22.67 pounds on the boat.