At last year’s derby, Greg G. Clark drew the first key for a shot at winning the grand-prize boat. He didn’t win but a year later, after drawing the sixth and final key, he took home the grand-prize 19-foot Cape Codder boat in the 75th annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby.
Mr. Clark’s derby-winning fish was a 12.34-pound bonito caught from a boat, a 10th of a pound from tying the derby record. When he picked the sixth key he thought that was a good omen after last year.
“And as they’re going through I’m thinking okay, okay, okay and then oh my god,” Mr. Clark said, his smile evident even behind his mask.
Like the derby this year, the grand prize ceremony was a different experience. All six division winners were in attendance along with one guest each and a few select derby committee members but that was it. The order to choose keys was drawn from a derby hat. Then derby president John Custer tried each key in the lock. When the fifth key failed, Mr. Clark’s key was the last one standing.
A total of 1,444 fish crossed the scales this year. When the final bell rang Saturday night at the weigh station a total of 3,225 anglers had registered to participate.
“The 75th derby will be remembered for many good and positive reasons based on numbers, registrations and fish weighed in, it was a successful derby,” Mr. Custer said. “There are other factors that cannot be measured by numbers but certainly helped demonstrate the success of this year’s derby in terms of how much it means to all of us.”
“Thank you, all of you, for supporting our efforts,” he continued. “You affirmed that the derby is one of the most important parts of our community and that even during a time of adversity it is something that people needed and supported. We are sincerely grateful.”
Joe El-Deiry, chairman of the derby committee, thanked the town of Edgartown for allowing the derby to go on this year and all the support the town’s agencies provided in making sure it was successful.
“I would also like to thank all the participants for your cooperation and understanding with all the changes this year… as difficult as all the planning was, this year’s derby has been the most rewarding one I’ve been a part of as the chairman. I’m so proud to be a part of this amazing group of men and women who all inspire me. Thank you for your commitment, this community is very lucky to have you.”
The final grand leaderboard for the 75th derby fell in this order: Greg G. Clark, grand-prize winner with a 12.34-pound boat-caught bonito; John Thurgood, first place shore-caught 10.48-pound bonito; Christopher Belezos, first place boat-caught 17.86-pound bluefish; Peter Shepardson, first place shore-caught 12.98-pound bluefish; Stephen Luce, first place boat-caught 11.4-pound false albacore; Rudy Sanfilippo, first place shore-caught 13.7-pound false albacore.