An appetite in Asian markets for the littlest of little American eels has led to a spike in their price. And that, in turn, has led to a rise in illegal harvesting and concerns about the species as a whole.

Sara Brown

“I bought it last year – it wasn’t [called] Chocolate Chip. It was some ungodly name that you can’t even pronounce that meant nothing to me at all. I have a forty-four-footer, and the name of that boat is Hot Chocolate.”

Ivy Ashe

Ever wonder why fly fishermen wear dishpans around their waists? These contraptions are called stripping baskets, and the Vineyard was a testing and proving ground for them. A stripping basket is a container into which fly line is retrieved or “stripped.” It gives the angler the ability to control the loose line so that it doesn’t tangle with rocks or seaweed or other detritus or get rolled up in breaking waves.

Kib Bramhall

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.

Ivy Ashe

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