The Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby 2018
August 24, 2018
Every fall, Martha’s Vineyard is seized by fish fever as one of the East Coast’s best known saltwater fishing tournaments gets underway.
Started in 1946 as a promotional event and run since 1987 by a non-profit organization composed largely of local fishermen, the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby attracts anglers from all over the world.
The 73nd annual derby starts at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018, and runs through 10 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. The awards ceremony will take place Sunday, Oct. 14.
Fishermen vie for awards and bragging rights for the biggest catch caught from the shore or from a boat. In addition to the striped bass and bluefish, the tournament covers bonito and false albacore. Anglers ages nine to 14 at the start of the derby compete in the junior division and the youngest fishermen, those between four and eight, compete as mini junors.
There is also a free kid’s derby event from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. on Sunday, September 16. Meet at the Oak Bluffs Steam Ship authority wharf.
At the weigh-in shack at the Edgartown Yacht Club, crowds gather twice a day, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., as the daily and weekly leaderboards are updated. At the end of the tournament, the top fishermen in eight divisions have a chance at grand prizes, including a truck and a boat.
A true community event, the derby sponsors a program that provides fish to the Island’s elderly population and each year provides four-year college scholarships to Island youth.
For a detailed history of the Derby, visit the Vineyard Gazette’s Time Machine. Visit the Gazette’s Derby site (and check out the print paper) during the event for updated leader listings, weather forecasts, photos and more.
Visit here for a listing of Martha’s Vineyard fishing charters.
For more information about the derby, go to mvderby.com.
Photos by Mark Alan Lovewell.