A Message of Thanks from the Derby Chairman

Joe El-Deiry Winter, Spring, Summer & Derby! These are the seasons that I have lived by for the last 24 years. I moved to Martha's Vineyard in March 1994 expecting to spend a single summer here and I never left. Looking back, I have not missed a Derby season since the first September that my friends Dave Hearn, Steve Kelly and I fished the Derby. Dave taught me about the excitement leading up to the start as we tied leaders and discussed secret spots; of course we were going to catch the big one. I'm still working on that part. I can't tell you how many times I've told stories about the ones that got away... My son Luke and I have fished together for the last 12 years (he is 16), along with our fishing partner Johnny Graham. By the way, Luke has out fished me every year. There is no better feeling in the world than sharing my love of fishing with Luke and watch him grow to love it as much.

I am honored to have been selected as the next Chairman of the Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass & Bluefish Derby. The Derby is without a doubt one of the things I look forward to most all year long. After a busy Spring and Summer there is no better way to get some R&R then to spend time on the water. Thank you to the Derby committee for having faith in me to become the next Chairman following my good friend John Custer. He has been an incredible Chairman and I am forever grateful that he asked me to join the committee many years ago and for his incredible leadership over the years. I look forward to continuing that commitment to the Derby, its sponsor's and most importantly the participants who make all of this possible.

Each year since joining the committee, the Derby, with the support of our Sponsors, has awarded approximately $30,000 in scholarships to graduates of the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School and the Martha's Vineyard Charter School. This year we awarded $37,500 in scholarships to island students; incredible! The Derby Committee's commitment to the students of Martha's Vineyard is the biggest reward for all the hard work that is put into each Derby. None of this would be possible without the loyal support of our Sponsors and participants. I encourage you to look through the advertisements in the souvenir booklet as well as visiting our website for a complete list of the companies who support the Derby. A special thanks to Clay Subaru and Cape Codder boats, we are honored to have them as the grand prize sponsors for this year's tournament.

Please read our rules brochure and be sure to pay close attention to the updated "12 Hour Rule", we have increased this to 14 hours to allow people some extra time to get their catch to the weigh-station. We continue to encourage everyone to get their catch to the weigh-in as soon as possible. More importantly, we want to ensure that all fishermen/fisherwomen stay safe and don't rush to the weigh-in. Please practice good sportsmanship, play by the rules, ice your catch and know the boundaries.

As always we remind people to respect the island, clean up all that you bring to the beach and something extra. It's not a lot to ask, but it goes a long way in helping the community keep this beautiful island a place where fish want to play.

Sincerely, Joe El-Deiry
Chairman, Derby Committee