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Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Derby, 2008

Every fall, the fishermen and women and children of Martha’s Vineyard and beyond begin their monthlong striped bass and bluefish derby in the waters surrounding the island. This year, the 63rd annual derby begins on September 14th and ends on October 18th with a special awards ceremony on the 19th. After a long summer of hard work, many island fishermen take considerable time off from work to join in the derby.

The derby has special events and categories that include kids, shore and boat fishing.
Daily, weekly and whole-Derby prizes are awarded for biggest fish caught according to species and technique, including all tackle and fly rod from both shore and boat.

Being the Vineyard, the Derby is more than just a competition. With registration and fundraising from sponsors, along with a partnership with island artist, Ray Ellis, who has created paintings of favorite island fishing spots to be copied and sold by the Derby for the last 20 years, the Derby has awarded over $250,000 in scholarships to island students…amazing!

For more information, rules, regulations, awards and registration spots, visit the Derby’s official website.

Because we’re officially off-season for vacation rentals on the island, this is a great time to rent a house and and get in the action!

Fishing on Martha’s Vineyard

If you fancy yourself a fisherman or fisherwoman (or want to become one) you’ll be thrilled with all the options you have here on Martha’s Vineyard. There are no required permits needed to cast your line, however you do want to observe town limits for fish size and amount. For more information, talk to experts at local tackle shops like Larry’s Tackle in Edgartown (508-627-5088), Dick’s Bait and Tackle in Oak Bluffs (508-693-7669) and Menemsha Bait and Tackle in Menemsha (508-645-2901). These shops will also be able to provide you with whatever gear you need including tide charts and maps of island fishing spots as well as good advice on which fish you can expect to find off which shores.

There are a number of wonderful fishing spots on the island. Some favorites are:

The inlet and jetties of Lake Tashmoo
. This is a great spot for beginners since there are plenty of small striped bass to be found (and even some big ones). It is less crowded than other fishing spots and it is one of the island’s most beautiful locations.

State Beach and Big Bridge.
State beach is one of the cleanest and best public beaches for swimming in the Northeast. It’s also a great place to find many of the small and big fish that swim the island’s shores. Fishing fanatics can spend a lovely day at the beach and then watch the sunset while casting their lines directly off the beach or off the adjacent Big Bridge that crosses the Oak Bluffs/Edgartown border. Look out for lots of stripers and false albacore.

Menemsha. Menemsha is one of the last working fishing villages on the island so it would make sense that it’s also a great place to catch a lot of fish. Home to a beautiful public beach and a wide variety of restaurants, fish markets and shops, it’s a great place for the whole family to spend a day. Fishing from the beach or the jetties can yield scup, fluke, bonito and false albacore.

For more information on island fishing, visit the Martha’s Vineyard Surfcasters Association’s great website.