Martha’s Vineyard Times: Catch-and-Release Striper Tournament

by Fire Girl Jess on June 12, 2017

It’s been a busy few weeks on the road — first was Dallas for a project, then I traveled up to Martha’s Vineyard to fish in the 26th annual Catch-and-Release Tournament, and finally I made my way down to southwestern Louisiana with Visit Lake Charles. While each stop was a working stop, it was such a pleasure to put down the camera for a bit and fish with old friends in the Catch-and-Release Tournament.

We had an A-team-level group: old friends Jackie K. and Tom Z. from Orvis HQ in Vermont, Aron and Todd C., a savvy father-son team from Rhode Island, the famed Coop from Coop’s Bait & Tackle in Edgartown, Mass., and new fishy friends Ty and Paul. It’s always a true sprint weekend — between scout-fishing, actually competing in the tournament from 7PM to 2AM Sat.-Sun. and fishing on our own, we averaged about three hours of sleep a night, and by the end were all a little delirious.

Happy and delirious. I’ve had the pleasure to fish this tournament once before, when I was staff at Orvis HQ, and recalled long, cold nights backcasting against a heavy wind. This year we lucked out with the tournament night — after being treated to one of the more spectacular sunsets I’ve ever seen in my life (you can’t create light like that in post-production), we had a night of calm winds, brisk but not cold temperatures, and fish. A lot of fish. In the seven hours I managed an even 30 stripers — all schoolies, but damn are they fun. Nice to fall back in love with fishing a little bit.

All in all, our team managed 164 fish in the tournament night, and an impressive 701 fish were caught in total. Our team fished in the one-fly category, banking all our hope on a single “secret” fly that, suffice to say, proved itself to be something akin to magic. (Kudos to Ty for tying up a bunch the afternoon before we hit the water!)

It was a weekend of moments: a near-full moon setting over Lobsterville Beach at 2AM, eerily huge in the nighttime sky. Bunkering down into damp sand to try and catch a few shivery minutes sleep as we waited for the tide to change. Jackie’s epic-level gin and tonic bar, open at all hours of the day. Todd’s chili that kept us all going… somehow. Going to bed every day as the sun rose and the birds began to chirp, knowing that in the few hours we’d be up and at it again. Getting giggly-tired at some point… when everything seems funny somehow and exhaustion is comfortable. And more rainbows and fire-red skies than I could put into words.

A few of my images made it into the Martha’s Vineyard Times this past week — including a very special moment where two deployed sons who usually fish the tournament Skyped in from Kansas and Kuwait to see their dad.

The ocean steals a bit more of my heart every time I visit her… from the brisk waters off Martha’s Vineyard to the murky warmth of the Gulf of Mexico (stay tuned for a report about my Louisiana visit, including fishing off rigs in the Gulf!). Combine the sea, good friends, happy fish, and a gorgeous location, and life is grand.

Tags: Fishing

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

NassauForever June 14, 2017 at 12:52

What a trip report! Keep traveling and fishing; love seeing this stuff.


Fire Girl Jess June 14, 2017 at 12:52

Thanks so much! I love traveling and fishing… here’s to be able to do more of it.


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