A Message of Thanks from the Derby Chairman

Phil Horton
On behalf of the Derby Committee, I’d like to welcome you to the 77th Annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby. The Committee members and dedicated volunteer support staff hope you enjoy the experience. This may be your first Derby, or one that adds another Derby badge to your large collection. In either case I hope you enjoy being part of the great Derby tradition. After enjoying the Derby for many years as a participant, and frequent ‘fish cutter’ volunteer, I joined the Committee in 2012. I was immediately struck by the dedication of a group of volunteers committed to the tradition of the Derby and the enjoyment of its participants. After spending ten years working with my fellow Committee members, this past winter I was asked to chair the Committee. I was both honored and humbled, and look forward to the challenge. In my new role, I recently had the privilege of assisting with the presentation of the 2022 Derby Scholarship awards at the MVRHS Class Night. This year the Derby awarded $80,000 to ten deserving high school graduates. I was overwhelmed by the appreciation shown to the Derby by the students and proud family members who attended the event. I urge you all to read the scholarship section of the booklet to learn more about this year’s recipients. Through the scholarship program, filet donation, and other activities, the Derby continues to pay forward to the island community.

I encourage participants to review this year’s Rules Brochure as even long-time participants can benefit from a quick review and refresher. There are a few important changes to point out this year. The team competition has been changed to include weigh-ins of bluefish, bonito, and false albacore from both team members – for a maximum team total of six fish. While it’s not necessary to fill all six spots, it will certainly help your team’s standing. Evening weigh-in hours have also changed. Based on feedback from volunteers and participants the evening weigh-in period has been moved up one hour and is now 7:00 to 9:00 pm. I would like to thank the participants who participated in the on-line survey we conducted on the evening weigh-in change. The survey results were overwhelmingly in favor of the change.

I want to extend my personal thanks, and the thanks of the Derby organization and participants, to our Grand Prize sponsor Eastern Boats and our hat sponsor Vineyard Vines for their generous contributions. We are also grateful to the many other companies, island businesses, and organizations that provide the many prizes and goods to support this great event. And finally, to the island restaurants and shops that provide donations of food and beverages to the HQ staff – a heartfelt thank you. I encourage all participants to support our sponsors and the island businesses that contribute to the Derby.

I hope you enjoy the Derby, and in doing so please respect the Derby rules and private property rights. Help protect the wonderful beaches and pristine waters that we have the opportunity to enjoy during the Derby. Leave only your footprints on the beach and your wake on the water. Most of all, please respect your fellow participants, and yourself. The competitive spirit runs high during the Derby. Enjoy the thrill of competition, but please conduct yourself in a manner that honors this remarkable event. Indeed, the Derby is about catching the biggest fish, but please don’t forget to enjoy your time on the water, and fellow anglers.

I hope you enjoy the Derby, not just the fishing, but also the opportunity to spend time with family and friends, and reconnect with yourself and this amazing island. Finally, remember to release any fish not destined for weigh-in quickly and carefully, and please put any fish you plan to keep on ice as soon as possible.

Tight Lines to All.

Phil Horton

Chairman, Derby Committee