In 1953 I found a wooden Atom in the mouth of a dead shark on South Beach. It was the first plug that I owned, and a couple of weeks later I caught a striper on it. That began my decades-long love affair with striped bass plugs, which continues to this day. The plug still hangs in my tackle room, and I painted this portrait of it to commemorate its importance in my fishing life.

Kib Bramhall

Captain: Fred Murphy

Home Port: Vineyard Haven harbor

The Name: Ishmael

The Boat: Forty-eight-foot knockabout (i.e., no bowsprit) schooner

Fred Murphy was a twenty-three-year-old in the U.S. Merchant Marine in 1973 when he bought a wooden boat named Night Wind. She was one of six schooners built at the Captain O’Connell, Inc. boatyard in Quincy, Massachusetts, in 1929, just before the Depression began. “I’ve had her forty years,” he said. “It’s truly terrific.”

Ivy Ashe

It was all very genteel, downright “Corinthian” as sailors would say, referring to the British tradition of “gentlemen sailors” who race around buoys for the pure honor of being able to say they won. But even though there were to be no Bowie knives thrown or hogs running wild, there was nonetheless a whiff of the Hatfields meeting the McCoys when the Edgartown Yacht Club and Menemsha Pond Races Herreshoff 12 1/2 (H-12) fleets agreed to tangle this summer for the first time in the Vineyard Herreshoff Cup.

Sean McNeill

One night last fall during weigh-in for the striped bass and bluefish derby, I ran into Captain Kurt Freund from Fishsticks Charters. “Ivy, good to see you,” he said. I returned the greeting and I laughed. 

“I’m looking a little less green nowadays,” I said, and we laughed together this time – ha ha ha! The last time Kurt saw me I was sunburned and seasick, wobbling around, squinting in the sunlight like a baby mole, and wondering when my next meal would be. Also, I had lost one of my glasses lenses.

Ivy Ashe

“It’s crispy and delicious, almost a little sweet,” says Tim Broderick, a man who knows his fluke. The Chilmark fisherman was the host of last year’s fisherman’s fish fry, an annual tradition to mark the end of the commercial fluke season and a chance for the fishermen to slow down and enjoy this summer specialty they unload daily on Menemsha docks. Their method was simple and classic: they rolled the fluke in flour seasoned with just salt and pepper and plunged it into the deep fryer, serving it alongside fried clams, garden salads, and other potluck dishes.

Catherine Walthers

Captain: Wayne Iacono

Home Port: Menemsha

Name: Freedom

The Boat: Thirty-five-foot Bruno & Stillman fiberglass lobster boat. Built 1980 in Newington, New Hampshire.

The Other Boat: Warrior, a twenty-foot fiberglass scallop skiff, makers unknown.

Ivy Ashe

Ted Williams, “the greatest hitter who ever lived,” was also a star in the sport fishing world and a member of the International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame. Although he never fished on the Island, members of the derby committee and the Chamber of Commerce traveled to Fenway Park and presented him with a striper caught in one of the first derbies.

Kib Bramhall

Captain: John Thayer

Home Port: Lagoon Pond, Martha’s Vineyard Marina

The Name: Kittiwake III. “I do not change the names of boats.”

The Boat: Twenty-six-foot bass boat originally built of cedar on oak by Erford Burt at Burt’s Boatyard in 1952. The boatyard is now Martha’s Vineyard Marina, on the Lagoon [formerly Maciel Marine].

Ivy Ashe