Do you fish? Maybe some ice fishing at the North Pole, with Rudolph pulling your sleigh full of fish? I hope so, because my Christmas list has a lot of fishing tackle on it.
I have been a very good girl this year. I would like a new Century …
Well, to be honest, maybe “very good” is an exaggeration, but certainly a good girl. If you could bring me a Saragosa …
OK, let’s cut to the chase: I’m a girl. I like to fish. I hope I’m on your “nice” list …
Hmm, it might be better if we focus on a few of my friends who I’m certain are on your “nice” list.
You love teachers, don’t you, Santa? Let’s start there. One of the best teachers I know is Tisbury School Principal John Custer, who also happens to be the president of the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby. John, or Mr. Custer, as his students call him, selflessly asks “for the recovery of the striped bass population.”
When you’re flying over Mr. Custer’s house in Vineyard Haven, please leave the apples at the North Pole, and bring him some “hooks and sinkers,” since he “lost so many rigs while tautog fishing this fall!”
Edgartown Shellfish Constable Rob Morrison would also like some fishing gear, specifically, “my favorite fishing line — Jerry Brown Line One.” Rob also asks for “a healthy and bountiful bay scallop crop for the upcoming 2024–25 season.”
Santa, so many of my friends are conservation-minded, and care deeply about Martha’s Vineyard and her surrounding waters. Commercial fisherman, singer, and activist Johnny Hoy would “like to see someone invent a cheap, efficient, nitrogen-digesting septic system, and see it in widespread use around all the ponds!”
Johnny has a minor but very important personal request: “I need 1½ sheets of ½-inch Coosa board to build a doghouse on my boat.”
Santa, you know I had some fun with Captain Abbie Schuster of Kismet Outfitters this summer. Abbie is a fabulous fly-fisherman. I am determined to learn to fly-fish well in 2024, so I’ll be seeing more of Abbie when the weather warms up.
Until then, I hope Abbie’s Christmas wishes will come true. “I wish for responsible protection of the striper fisheries to ensure fish abundance and healthy oceans for future generations,” said Abbie, adding, “And a new all-round saltwater rod, the Thomas and Thomas Sextant, paired with a Hatch reel! Perfect for M.V. waters and travel destinations.”
I talked with Capt. John Potter of the party boat Skipper. When I asked him about a Christmas wish, his immediate response was, “I’ve always wanted to see a great white out there.” John went on musing about our oceans, and he hopes all fishermen will “honor and do what we should to keep fish in the ocean for future generations. Take what you need and leave the rest.”
Captain Ed Smith of the charter boat Tenacious was succinct and clear about his Christmas wish: “Clean harbors, safe navigation, and a nice filet knife.”
My dear friend Kathy weighed in her first boat fish aboard Tenacious with Capt. Ed, and her first shore fish at Wasque in this year’s Derby. Having watched her land the blue and the albie, respectively, I wondered if landing a bonito next year would be on her Christmas list.
Kathy skipped the bonito and went straight to Chappy, which is one of the only places Kathy can shore-fish because the OSV access allows her to drive on and avoid the walking in sand and uneven ground she can no longer do. “Rational beach management, balancing the protection of our amazing beaches with full OSV, boat, and pedestrian access for all, is on my Christmas list,” said Kathy.
Then Kathy added the three words that had me laughing out loud, “and cute waders.”
A lot of my fishing fun includes the M.V. Surfcasters, so I reached out to Pres. Donald Scarpone and asked what he wanted Santa to bring him. “My Christmas wish, as an Edgartown resident, is that next year there will be a place that we can go scalloping over in Cape Poge area,” said Donald. “I’m also wishing next year to be with family and friends on Chappy beaches, catching bluefish.”
Peter Sliwkowski, co-owner of Larry’s Tackle Shop and president of the Martha’s Vineyard Beachgoers Access Group, is passionate about “restoring historical beach access for the enjoyment of the entire Vineyard community,” and he has a very sweet wish to share with his wife: “Melissa and I catching the Triple Crown for first time in next year’s Derby.”
I recently heard John Piekos, director-at-large on the Derby Committee and member of MVBAG, speak about conservation, OSV access, and our beloved Chappy. John’s Christmas wish list is no surprise, after listening to him speak: “I wish for two things this year: I wish for responsible public OSV access to beautiful Cape Poge, and to drive my Jeep out there some summer evening and catch striped bass under the Cape Poge Lighthouse in 2024. I also wish to catch fish with friends from the shores of Chappaquiddick in 2024. There is no better gift to a surfcaster than the shared experience of catching fish with friends on the beaches of Martha’s Vineyard.”
(Santa, in case this will sway you in any way, I’m just going to mention that thousands of people share Peter, Kathy, Donald, and John’s Christmas wish, including me!)
And, Santa, if there is any space left on your “nice” list, and it’s possible to add my name, I have one big Christmas wish, and maybe a couple of stocking stuffers. My wish is for Harbor Homes to finally be able to purchase a permanent building for our Island’s overnight Winter Shelter. We have so many people struggling with housing issues on the Island, and we really need safe, secure options for families and individuals. It’s a big wish, but hey, if I don’t cast, I can’t catch a fish. And — you are Santa, after all!
If you have any No. 2 green or pink Deadly Dicks to spare, my stocking will welcome them.
Well, Santa, I’m going to pause here. The stockings are hung by the chimney with care, the tree is decorated, and I’m getting ready to bake you some cookies. I’ll be sure to pick some carrots from the garden, and leave 10 on the table on the deck. Please give two carrots to Rudolph. He got bullied a lot, forgave everyone who bullied him, and now he guides your sleigh.
The MV Times is printing this letter on Dec. 21, Santa. I hope you receive The Times at the North Pole. If you don’t, here’s the link to subscribe: hype.co/@themarthasvineyardtimes. The Times makes a wonderful Christmas gift, too, if you need a great idea for all the folks on your “nice” list. Just ask my mom, who should be on the top or darn close to the top of your “nice” list. She’s getting a digital subscription again this year, and she loves reading all the news from M.V.
Thanks for reading my long letter, Santa.
With hope and gratitude, Lisa
To all the fishermen out there, and the friends and family of fishermen, I wish you a very merry Christmas, and happy holidays.
And …. we’d love to give one reader a special Christmas gift.
Tell us what’s on your letter to Santa? What’s one item you’d love to find in your stocking or under your tree this year — fishing-related or not? Leave a comment. Whoever comments will go into a random drawing. One winner will be drawn on Dec. 23, and if the winner is on-Island, he or she will receive a surprise Christmas present on Dec. 24, to put under the tree (or open immediately).
Peace and hope to all,