On Saturday morning, members of the Martha’s Vineyard Surfcasters Association set up tables full of tackle, over 50 fishing rods, reels and other fishing gear to raise money for two scholarships for Vineyard high school seniors planning to study marine biology.
The MV Surfcasters Association originated in 1989 as a group of Islanders looking to fish more remote Vineyard coastlines without trespassing on private property. Over the years the association has grown and branched out, raising funds for numerous environmental and educational causes.
Don Scarpone, president of the Surfcasters Association, said this is the fourth year of the tag sale. All the items were donated throughout the year by the 120 members of the association and a few members of the public. In the first year of the tag sale, Mr. Scarpone said they raised $2,000. Since then he said their total has increased by $2,000 every year.
“I love it, we work hard for it,” Mr. Scarpone said. “All the members put in a lot of time, a lot of hours. At the end, when you see all this money and it goes to two kids, that’s what it’s all about.”
With pandemic precautions taking precedent this year, there were a few minor changes to how business was conducted. After signing in, shoppers were asked to sanitize their hands and wait before browsing among the tables filled with gear. Customers also wrote down what they wanted to purchase and then submitted the list at the checkout table.
When shoppers arrived at the rod and reel area, they were greeted by Ron McKee, a longtime member of the MV Surfcasters Association. Mr. McKee offered advice for customers in the market for a new rod, picking out the best option for whatever type of fishing was planned.
For Mr. Mckee, the best part of helping out with the sale every year is knowing all the money raised goes towards scholarships for Island kids.
“It’s great, the kids are our future,” he said. “It keeps the ‘go out and do something’ going with the kids.”
Mr. McKee said that when he sees people he’s worked with or helped, it reminds him of when he started fishing and the help he received along the way.
“Now I’m in the same place as the people who helped me and I wouldn’t have gotten here without them,” he said.