Official Derby Rules

The 2023 Derby begins at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, September 10, 2023 and ends at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 14, 2023.

Eligible fish are Bluefish, Bonito and False Albacore (Little Tunny), hereinafter referred to as the species.

Eligible fish species Eligible fish species Eligible fish species

An individual may register only once in each division for which he/she is eligible. Mini-Juniors are not eligible for the Grand Prize(s).

  • ALL TACKLE DIVISION: $70.00 (Seniors $45.00)
  • The All Tackle Division is open to adults using any type of rod and reel including fly rod. Persons who have reached their 65th birthday on or before the opening day of the Derby will be registered as Seniors.

  • The Junior Division is open to persons aged 9-14 on the opening day of the Derby. Juniors may use any type of rod and reel including fly rod. The Junior Division will follow the rules of the All Tackle Division.

  • The Mini Junior Division is open to persons aged 4-8 on the opening day of the Derby. Mini Juniors may use any type of rod and reel including fly rod. The Mini Junior Division will follow the rules of the All Tackle Division. Mini-Juniors are not eligible for the Grand Prize award(s).

  • FLY ROD DIVISION: $70.00 Adults, $25.00 Juniors and $45.00 Seniors
  • The Fly Rod Division is open only to persons using fly rods. Fly Rod Division competitors will be issued a separate fly rod badge and number and will fish under the rules of this Derby. The official Derby rules specific to fly fishing consist of IGFA modified rules and are located on the Derby website at If a fly rod competitor is also entered in one of the All Tackle Divisions, he/she may enter his/her fish as All Tackle. The decision to enter a fish in either division (but not both) must be announced to the Weigh-Master PRIOR TO THE WEIGHING OF THAT FISH. That fish is then eligible for the Grand and Triple Crown Awards, regardless of the division it is entered in. Juniors fishing in the Fly Rod Division will be considered as adults.

  • Entry Fees may be paid via the on-line pre-registration process or in person at one of the Registration Points. There will be a $25.00 service charge for returned checks which, along with the Entry Fee must be paid in cash. Entry Fees are not refundable once the Derby has commenced.

    The online pre-registration process is for payment only. The Derby registration process is not complete until an angler picks up their rules brochure and button at a Registration Point. Any fish caught before an angler completes the registration process is ineligible.

  • TEAM: $10.00 per team member
  • The heaviest fish of each species for both team members will count toward the team's cumulative weight. Up to three fish per member, for a total of six fish, may be counted in a Team's total.

  • Good sportsmanship encompasses many aspects of a person's character, the most fundamental being respect. Participation in the Derby is intended to be a memorable experience. Please play fair, stay positive, keep trash talk to a minimum, set a good example and show integrity.

A Competitor must be registered in the Derby BEFORE commencing to fish. From the moment a fish strikes or takes a bait or lure, the angler must hook, fight and land or boat the fish without the aid of any other person. This includes another angler touching the rod, reel or line after the fish has been hooked. The only exception is another person may grasp the leader in order to gaff or net the fish. This rule applies to Junior anglers, as well. The use of drones for the purposes of locating or catching fish or to gain a competitive advantage is prohibited during the Derby.

  • SHORE: A shore fish is any fish hooked from the shore. All fish entered as shore fish must be caught from the shores of Martha's Vineyard or Chappaquiddick Islands.
  • BOAT: A boat fish is any fish hooked on a boat. A boat is a "boat" whether it is tied, moored, anchored, trolling or drifting. In the event that there is a question as to whether or not a fish is to be considered a boat or shore fish, the Derby Committee will determine the category and that decision will be final. All fish entered as boat fish must be caught from a boat which is within the posted bounds of the Derby. The bounds are delineated on the map in the Rules Brochure (download here). An eligible fish must not be transported outside of Derby boundaries. No fish caught from a boat may touch any land except for Martha's Vineyard.

All state and federal laws must be complied with by participants in the Derby.
The Weigh-In station for all fish entered in the Derby will be at Edgartown Jr. Yacht Club.

  • The weigh-in periods will be between 8:00 - 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. on each day of the Derby.
  • All fish must be weighed-in within 14 hours from the time of being caught.
  • Fishing method known as yo-yoing is not permitted in the Derby.
  • Any fish that is physically altered or intentionally mutilated in such a manner as to impact the ability of the Derby committee to determine eligibility of that fish shall be rejected except that normal routine bleeding of a fish, but not gutting, shall be allowed.
  • Fish may not be weighed in that were intentionally snagged.
  • Any material(s) including, but not limited to, fishing tackle, fishing line, hooks, weights, seaweed, wire, ice, rocks, sand, dirt, or rope attached to a fish, on a fish, or inside a fish's mouth shall be removed by the angler (or person(s) weighing the fish in) PRIOR to weigh-in. If any such material is not visible to the angler or person(s) weighing the fish in and is discovered after weigh-in, this material shall be examined by the Derby Committee and, if deemed to be inside the fish prior to it being caught, the weight of such material(s) may be deducted from the official weight of the fish, and the fish allowed. If, however, the Derby Committee deems that the material was intentionally introduced to the fish prior to the weighing in of that fish, additional action may be taken including, but not limited to, the disqualification of the fish, the angler, and/or the person(s) weighing in the fish.
    Minimum Lengths for Fish
    Bluefish 22”          False Albacore 25”          Bonito 21”
    Measure from tip of lower jaw to tip of tail.

  • At time of weigh-in the angler must present his/her badge or card and provide the Weigh-Master with full and certified information as to when and where the fish was caught, the type of tackle, lure or bait used, and any other requested information relating to the catch.
  • The angler must declare the division into which the fish is to be entered prior to the weighing of each fish. By signing the weigh-in slip, the angler attests to all information given.
  • An angler may enter only his/her largest fish of each species into each category (boat or shore) on any one day.
  • Any angler will be awarded only the highest prize for which they are eligible.
  • At time of weigh-in the Weigh-Master and/or the Derby Committee reserve the right to inspect, test, open, photograph (for publicity reasons and otherwise), hold or reject any fish entered.

First, second, third and fourth prizes will be awarded on a daily basis for each species, division and category, except False Albacore (Little Tunny).During the run of the Derby an angler may win only one first, one second, one third and one fourth daily prize for each species, category and division. If an angler qualifies for a prize he has already won, he/she will be awarded the highest prize for which he/she is eligible. Other winners that day, in order of their eligibility, will be adjusted to receive prizes left vacant.

  • A Hat Trick will be awarded to an angler who wins first, second, third, and fourth Daily Prizes in a category. A special pin will be awarded for this achievement. 1 per person, per species.

Weekly awards will be given to the largest fish in each category of each division and species, including False Albacore (Little Tunny), for each week of the Derby. The weeks end after the last weigh-in on each of the following days: (Saturday, September 16; Saturday, September 23; Saturday, September 30; Saturday, October 7; Saturday, October 14).

At the end of the Derby, overall prizes will be awarded for the three largest fish in each category of each division and species, including False Albacore (Little Tunny). The largest fish of each species from boat and shore, regardless of division, will also be awarded the Grand Leader Prize for the category and species. The Mini-Junior Division is not eligible for the Grand Prize(s). Winners of the species grand prizes will also receive their divisional grand prizes.

This category is open to all divisions. There will be separate awards for All Tackle and Fly rod Divisions. At the end of the Derby, first, second and third awards, both boat and shore, in both divisions, will be made to the angler who weighs-in the heaviest aggregate (total weight) of the three species of fish in the tournament – Bluefish, Bonito and False Albacore. Anglers who achieve a Triple Crown will be awarded a special pin.

False Albacore (Little Tunny) are eligible for weekly, overall, grand and triple crown awards. They are not eligible for daily awards. False Albacore length limit is 25”.

  • Only three False Albacore are allowed per registration during the Derby. This includes any False Albacore presented to the Weigh- Master, even fish under 25”.

The first registered fish wins.

In the event that the Derby is cancelled at any point after it has begun the current standings in all divisions will be considered final and leaders will receive the applicable award and any associated prize.


Grand prize winner is responsible for all applicable taxes and fees.

Prizes not claimed from the Derby Chairperson, including grand prizes, by the conclusion of the Derby, will be forfeited.


  • Each contestant expressly agrees that he/she shall have no right or standing to contest any action of the Derby Committee, or otherwise make any claim against the Committee in any court of law or other forum. Each contestant entering the Derby does so at their own risk. The Committee’s decisions are definitive and final.
  • Grievances must be presented, in writing and signed, to The Weigh-Master and/or to the Committee within 48 hours. The Committee will investigate all grievances and reserves the right to call witnesses, to question them and all parties involved, and if considered necessary, to have any or all involved parties submit a polygraph test.
  • The Committee may disqualify from the Derby (or any portion thereof) and/or from any or all future Derbies, any person or persons who falsify information, violate the Derby Rules, act in an unsportsmanlike manner, or falsely testify for or against any person.

The fillet program is offered by the Derby to provide free fish for the Island elderly. Fishermen may donate any or all of their catch to this program. Previously filleted fish will not be accepted. Fishermen are asked to keep their catch as fresh as possible whether they intend to donate it to this program or not.

In return for the generosity of property owners, it is expected that Derby participants will leave all land and beach in the same conditions, or better than those found.

  • No gates be left open.
  • No fences be damaged.
  • No shrubbery be damaged.
  • No rubbish or refuse be left on land or beaches.
  • No camping be done nor any fires lighted without proper authority.
  • No damage to dunes or dune vegetation.
  • Drive your vehicles only on designated paths throughout the dunes.


All Tackle
1-100Derby Committee
101-500Larry's Tackle Shop - Edgartown
501-1100Dick's Bait & Tackle - Oak Bluffs
1101-1800Coop's Bait & Tackle - Edgartown
1801-1900Menemsha Texaco - Chilmark
1901-2300Larry's Tackle Shop - Edgartown
2301-2500Menemsha Texaco - Chilmark
2501-3200Dick's Bait & Tackle - Oak Bluffs
3201-3500Derby Headquarters - Edgartown
3501-3600Kismet Outfitters - Edgartown
3601-3800Derby Headquarters - Edgartown
Fly Rod
4001-4125Larry's Tackle Shop - Edgartown
4126-4200Dick's Bait & Tackle - Oak Bluffs
4201-4400Coop's Bait & Tackle - Edgartown
4401-4425Menemsha Texaco - Chilmark
4426-4500Derby Headquarters - Edgartown
4501-4550Kismet Outfitters - Edgartown

Download a pdf of the 2023 Derby Rule Book.