That's My Boat: Chris Morris

Owner: Chris Morris, 20, Oak Bluffs

Boat: Lucky Blue, nineteen-foot fiberglass Boston Whaler Montauk

Home Port: The Morris backyard. It gets towed to landing sites when Chris goes out.

Fishing hasn’t been the same for Chris Morris since 2007. That was when the Oak Bluffs angler landed the largest shore-caught bluefish in the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby while out fishing with his dad, Steve, who owns Dick’s Bait and Tackle. The bluefish weighed 11.7 pounds. Chris was thirteen years old, a ten-year veteran of fishing even though he wasn’t even in high school yet. The fish put him on the overall derby leader board and in the running to win a brand-new Boston Whaler, worth about $30,000.

You never know: Morris in 2997 after picking the lucky key and winning a new Boston Whaler.
Louisa Gould

“At the end of the derby, at the awards ceremony, I got on stage with . . . the other leading shore contestants – striped bass, bluefish, false albacore, and bonito – and I got to pick a key,” Chris said. “And the key I picked opened the lock. I was shocked.” He laughed, as if seven years later he still can’t quite believe it. He was the first junior angler to ever win it all.

“I had seen my dad on the stage when I was little, about five or six years old, and he didn’t win,” Chris said. “So I thought, nah, I can’t win. It’s cool that I’m up here, but I can’t win. I’m thirteen!”

He named the boat Lucky Blue.

These days, the UMass Amherst junior isn’t on the water as much as he’d like to be – being away at college will do that – but in the summer he tries to go out at least once a week. Sometimes it’s to take friends tubing, other times to chase stripers, which Chris sells. (“There’s a nice price per pound,” he said.) The other day he hooked two twenty-pound stripers at once, working feverishly to successfully haul one onto his boat without losing the other, collapsing from the effort afterward.

He’s stumped trying to think of a bad day he’s had out on Lucky Blue.

“There’s not a real bad day on the water,” Chris said. There was the time he and his friends landed a bluefish with every single cast. The time he caught all four derby fish in one day for a Grand Slam. Occasionally, he said, he still fishes from the shore.

There are now two derby Whalers in the family’s backyard. Four years after Chris’s win, Steve drew the lucky key too.

It’s been a few years since Chris went out during the derby, though.

“I signed up for the derby [last year], but I didn’t get to fish,” he said. He only got one weekend – Columbus Day – to come home from school, and the weather was too rough to take Lucky Blue out.

“I’ll come down again this year,” he said.