The Derby Hall of Fame was created to recognize individuals and organizations, including government bodies, who have made a "significant and positive impact on the sportfishing community of Martha's Vineyard and on the operation and goals" of the Derby. Inductees must have demonstrated "good sportsmanship, honesty, integrity," and exhibited a concern for fish and the environment. We are extremely proud of these individuals and the significant contributions they have made to the success of the Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby.

2022 Inductee

Karen Kukolich

KAREN KUKOLICH, 2022 Inductee
Karen Kukolich (left) fished Vineyard waters for nearly forty years and was both an involved and valued member of our Island community. As a member of the Derby Committee, Karen served as Treasurer for three years and coordinated the filet program for nearly twenty years. Her angling prowess, particularly with the fly rod, was well known, including five In- ternational Game Fish Award world records. Her fishing knowledge and passion for the sport were evident and she welcomed opportunities to share that knowledge and love. She held her Captain's license for thirty years, and was one of the first women to run her own sportfishing boat. Karen was a member of the Martha's Vineyard Surfcasters, served on the Edgartown Finance Committee, Land Bank Advisory Committee and as a Board member of the Martha's Vineyard Rod and Gun Club.

Steve Amaral STEVE AMARAL, 2007 Inductee
Steve Amaral fished the first Derby with his Dad, Mother and brother which was a family tradition since he was a young boy. Except for 1956, when he was away serving his nation, he has participated in every Derby. Steve has unselfishly contributed to the success of many Derby winners who he shared much of his fishing knowledge. Steve has been an active member of the Oak Bluffs community for many years serving on the Fire Department and as Captain before retiring. He was an appiointed member of the MVC and has been instrumental in the success of the Rod and Gun Club's Kid's Trout Derby.
Ed Amaral ED AMARAL, 2017 Inductee
Ed Amaral has participated in the Derby since its inception in 1946. Ed personifies the role of a true sportsman and always is there for others sharing his love of fishing and the Derby. As an "Ambassador of Good Will" for the Derby, he has set a guiding example for participants to follow as they cross his path at Island fishing spots. He was an active member of the Derby Committee and his competitive spirit and passion for fishing has been contagious for all who have met him.
Bob was a long standing Derby Committee member who worked hard to support the Derby in many ways, but perhaps he was best known for his responsibility for handling the Derby's raffle of a 4x4 Jeep.

For years, the committee's raffle of a Jeep was the main fundraiser supporting the tournament and Bob was always at the center of our efforts. If he wasn't hawking tickets on Circuit Ave or at the Tisbury Street Fair he was at the NE Sportaman Shows. Bob was a tremendous ambassador for the Derby.

A member of the Derby committee for many years, Kib Bramhall is a conserva- tionist, skilled fisherman and distinguished artist. Kib Bramhall has held both Derby and world fly rod records. Most importantly, he brings a sense of integrity and fair play to the sport of fishing and the Derby. Respected both for his demeanor and fishing accomplishments, he is honored for the example he has set for others over more than four decades of Derby fishing.
No single individual on Martha's Vineyard had more connections than did Al Brickman in the mid 1940's. This "Father" of the Derby took these ties in the fishing community, the business and tourism community, the worlds of journalism, public relations, real estate and transportation, combined them with his deep concern for the welfare of the Vineyard, its people and natural resources, and with a singularity of purpose, yet skillfully and patiently, forged the Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby into existence. This month long event has, dramatically improved the qualiity of life on Martha's Vineyard.
Mike CassidyMIKE CASSIDY, 2019 Inductee
Mike has faithfully served on the Derby Committee for over 30 years. As Chairman, he oversaw the celebration of the Derby's 50th anniversary. Mike exemplifies the spirit of the Derby in his humor, generosity, and dedication to making the Derby a success. He continues to put in countless hours, including numerous shifts as weighmaster. Mike Cassidy is always there for the Derby – and he consistently puts its needs and the needs of others ahead of himself. He is humble in his behind the scenes work to ensure that things run smoothly. For years, he has been the Derby's unsung hero.
Bob and Fran Clay BOB AND FRAN CLAY, 2013 Inductee
For more than a decade, Bob and Fran Clay have been linked to the Derby's success as much as Striped Bass and Bluefish. Their sponsorship of the Derby's grand award is just one aspects of their generosity and community involvement. Bob played an important role in the transition of the management of Norton Point from the County Commissioners to the The Trustees of Reservations and the increased access to that stretch of the beach. Bob is a member of the Edgartown Affordable Housing Committee and was active in the development of the Morgan Woods Affordable Housing Property. He is a member of the Edgartown Finance Advisory Com- mittee and Fran continues to keep the fishing public apprised of the latest developments of beach closures due to piping plover protection. Bob and Fran never ask for or want the spotlight or credit for their efforts. Their satisfaction is contributing to a better Island community.
John dedicated himself to filleting fish during the derby for over 2 decades. He served as the "Official Fillet Master" long before the committee assigned a filet master. "Big John", as he was known, worked both weigh-ins each day with a broad smile and tireless dedication until he was 87 years old.
John Custer JOHN CUSTER, 2017 Inductee
John Custer has been an outstanding member of the Derby Committee for nineteen years of which eleven were as Chairman. During John's tenure as chairman, the Committee has benefitted significantly from his sharpness to detail as he created an equitable distribution of prizes, ensuring that all winners receive consistent awards in each category. He has been a true sportsman and has always focused on conservation and scholarships for the young people of our Island community. He has always been thoughtful and has put the best interest of the Derby first in his entire decision making. He has been an exceptional leader and a community role model as the Principal of the Tisbury School.
Serge de Somov SERGE de SOMOV
Distinguished by his fishing skills, respected as a gentleman, both on and off the beach, Serge de Somov's four derby victories, three consecutively, were unmatched during the first half century of the Derby competition. Known as the "Mad Russian" and "The Count", due to his aristocratic European background, Serge de Somov caught the heaviest shore striped bass to claim victory in 1964, 1965, 1966 and again in 1969. Surrounded by an aura of mystery, Serge de Somov earned his place among the legends of Derby history.
Ray Ellis RAY ELLIS, 2003 Inductee
Ray Ellis, one of the most renown American artists of our time, has graciously donated his artistic talent to the Derby since 1988.The paintings that he has annually created for the Derby have generated the money to make our scholarship program possible. In addition, he has donated a portion of the proceeds from his book "Fishing the Vineyard". Through Ray's efforts, nearly $400,000 has been awarded in scholarships to worthy graduates of the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School.
Everett 'Porky' FrancisEVERETT "PORKY" FRANCIS, 2013 Inductee
Everett "Porky" Francis is the longest serving active member of the Derby Committee. For the past thirty-five years he has been giving back to the community through his continued work on the committee to help plan and organize our annual Fall event. Among Porky's many contributions to the Derby, he was instrumental in securing sponsors throughout the years and especially Boston Whaler as a major sponsor for more than a decade. Porky was one of the anchors at the sportsman shows manning the booth for the entire show while other mem- bers came and went during the often 5 day event. Porky has been an asset to the Derby as well as the Island's fishing community.
Cooper Gilkes COOPER GILKES, 2003 Inductee
Cooper Gilkes has been an active member of the Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby Committee for many years. He was instrumental in the rejuvenation of the Derby in the early 1980's. He assisted in the successful presentation to purchase the Derby from the Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce in the mid 1980's. His thoughtful opinions were very helpful in the restructuring of the Derby.

Cooper has been synonymous with the Kid's Derby. His ideas led to the creation of the event that today draws hundreds of kids annually. He religiously catches bait prior to the early morning event and, with the help of his wife Lela, has successfully managed this event since its inception.

Clayton Hoyle was a skilled rod maker and was instrumental in the creation of the Martha's Vineyard Rod and Gun Club. Affectionately known as "The Instigator" he always offered his opinions and ideas whether asked or not. Several members of the Rod & Gun Club along with Clayton helped foster the idea of an island fishing tournament that later became the Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby.
In 1947, Ruth Hughes began her daily reporting of the Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby for the column she wrote as a reporter for the then New Bedford Standard Times. She chronicled the operations of the day, wrote the names of the daily winners on the derby blackboard, kept a running account of the day's largest fish and recorded for history special occurrences of the day. Ruth was a Derby fixture at the weigh station for 11 years doing just about everything that was needed until 1958 when she assumed the role of Oak Bluffs Town Treasurer until her retirement in 1976.
Jerry first started fishing the Derby during the second year of its existence. Jerry has been an avid surf fisherman and is well known to many. His great sense of humor and wealth of fishing stories about the Derby are legendary. Jerry's book "Successful Surf Fishing" has helped many a beginner with helpful tips.
Ed Jerome ED JEROME, 2001 Inductee
At the helm of the Derby, Ed Jerome guided the faltering tournament out of perilous waters and helped build it into a successful and respected institution. As the longtime President of the Derby corporation, Ed Jerome has been a thoughtful and patient leader. Whether through the Derby scholarship program or charitable contributions, he has never waivered in his belief that the Derby exists to contribute to the Vineyard community. A fisherman, educator and community leader, he is honored for his extraordinary efforts in making the Derby a truly unique Island institution.
You'll never hear a negative word about Eddie. He was a great fisherman and willingly shared his knowledge and techniques with the people who fished with him. Who fished with Ed? Every neighborhood kid that he could fit into his buggy. They all have hilarious stories of their adventures with Ed, they say, from watching him chase skunks down the beach to carrying his catch back to the car at Squibby. He was a great teacher and respected the rules of life and sportsmanship.
Roy Langley ROY LANGLEY, 2006 Inductee
Roy is the longest running weigh master in the history of the Derby. For the last 15 years, he has been the morning weigh master exemplifying the spirit and image of the Derby. He is recognized for his role as the ambassador at the weigh station and the organization and distribution of the Derby's filet program to senior citizens of Martha's Vineyard.
A founder of the Derby and committee secretary for many years, Howard Leonard was an enthusiastic Derby fisherman and tireless volunteer distinguished by his good humor and kindness. Howard Leonard personified the ideals of the Derby and was unstinting with his time, particularly when it involved the young people of the Island. He is honored for his service to the Derby and the community of Martha's Vineyard.
Janet Messineo JANET MESSINEO, 2005 Inductee
Janet Messineo epitomizes the spirit, excitement, and camaraderie of the long history of the Derby.

She has been an intricate part of the success of the Derby as a committee member, a participant and as an advocate for children and women participants. For many years, she has created the coveted Derby fish mount trophies with her expertise and skill as a taxidermist.

Janet makes friends with all she comes in contact with. She fishes hard and is constantly on the leader board. Her spirit, sportsmanship and commitment to fishing are unmatched among participants.

Ruth Meyer RUTH MEYER, 2009 Inductee
Ruth Meyer was Chairman of the Derby in the late 70's until 1981. She was the organization's first female chairman, which should have come as no surprise, as she grew up in a fishing family. Her father owned and operated Larry's Tackle Shop. Ruth ran Larry's for many years after her father and continued the tradition of it being the center of Derby information. Ruth was instrumental in securing big name fishing tackle companies as Derby sponsors. Companies such as Penn and Boston Whaler became a major part of the Derby because of her efforts.
Don Mohr DON MOHR, 2003 Inductee
This "Beach Ambassador" could be found fishing the beaches of Chappy from April until November. Don epitomized what the Derby is all about. This sportsman always had a smile and helping hand for his fellow anglers. He had a deep respect for the resources and environment and without hesitation gently pointed out a rule, infraction or abuse of these resources. Don served on the Committee from 1984 to 1991. He was Treasurer from 1985 to 1989 and Chairman from 1989 to 1991. During his tenure as Chairman, the Derby began its transition from the Chamber of Commerce to an independently run event.
Richard Morris founded Dick's Bait and Tackle in 1969. He loved to fish, but most of all he loved to tell stories about fishing. He never won a prize in the Derby, but many a Derby yarn was spun in his tackle shop about the one that got away by those who congregated there on a regular basis. He enjoyed meeting new people every year and looked forward to each fall knowing the Derby would be starting. The Derby was a major part of his life and he would be very proud to know he was in its Hall of Fame.
Stephen Morris STEPHEN MORRIS, 2004 Inductee
Stephen Morris has been a member of the Derby Committee for more than 15 years. During the mid 90's, Stephen was the chairman of the Derby and helped take the Derby to new highs in participation, prizes and activities. Stephen was one of the best Chairmen the Derby has had. His organizational skills, commitment and knowledge of the fishing industry have been his hallmarks. Many of the improved practices used today in the Derby and Awards Ceremonies were suggested by Stephen.

Stephen is a well respected local tackle shop owner and registers the largest number of participants in the Derby. His opinion is well respected and his contributions have been many.

A derby founding member, and Massachusetts Steamship Lines executive, Ben Morton worked tirelessly in both a professional and volunteer capacity to create a Derby that would be enjoyed by Islanders and visitors alike. A member of the Derby committee for more than 20 years, Ben Morton guided the Derby from its creation and joint sponsorship under the boat line and the Martha's Vineyard Rod and Gun Club to its later management by the Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce. He is honored for his wisdom, foresight and efforts on behalf of the Derby and the entire Vineyard community.
Jesse J. Oliver III (aka) BuddyJESSE J. OLIVER III (aka) BUDDY, 2015 Inductee
In the early years of the Derby, Buddy often went to Boston to help Al Brickman solicit prizes from sponsors for the Derby. Although he never won the Derby, his catches of large bass before and after the Derby were well known and made him the most renowned Vineyard angler of his time and arguably the most famed surfcaster of the post-WorldWar II era. His fame was recognized by Life Magazine in an article with his photo and SaltWater Sportsman Editor Frank Woolner wrote a featured story on him in their September, 1956 issue titled "Bud Oliver - Vineyard Surfman". This article was a great publicity boost to the Derby. Buddy was known for his character and astonishing fishing talent and often it was said "where Buddy was, the fish were". He fished with the likes of Al Doyle, Frank Drake, Wallace Pinkham, Oscar Flanders and the legendary Serge de Somov.
Robert J. Post ROBERT J. POST
Bob Post, self described as a "fisherman trapped in the body of a dentist", was also a gifted journalist, author, Public Health official, Derby member and father. Most importantly, Bob was a connector and chronicler of the living history of the Derby. He was happiest when sitting astride a boulder on a Gay Head beach, after fishing and conversing with fishermen passing by. Bob turned these conversations into the critically acclaimed book "Reading the Waters", which, more than any other source, illuminates and brings to life the wonders and mystery of surf fishing the Vineyard and the Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby.
DAVID POTHIER, 2012 Inductee
David has been an active member of the Derby Committee for more than two decades and has assumed many roles. During his tenure as Chairman, he led the way in the improvements made to our software programs that manage the weigh station operations and the reporting of fish.

David has been an active community member of Oak Bluffs in their Fire Department, on the Harbor Committee and on the Island's Search and Recovery Squad.

Currently, David is actively involved in the revitalization of the USCG Auxiliary and is helping to improve the boating safety throughout the Island.

Helen was a fixture at the weigh-in for many years. She was the weigh master and keeper of records many years before the scale became digital and computers replaced the pen and paper. She was known as "mother hen" as she kept the busy weigh-in running efficiently and exciting for Derby participants young and old.
Chris ScottCHRIS SCOTT, 2019 Inductee
Chris has served and continues to serve on many non-profit boards as well as Town of Edgartown committees. For all his volunteering commitments, one has the sense that the Derby offers him the greatest degree of satisfaction and pride. Chris first came to the Derby organization over 25 years ago. He has served for most of that time on the Executive Committee, ultimately settling into his current role as Treasurer. With his watchful eye, the Derby has thrived and steadily built financial capacity to ensure the strength of the organization and its scholarship program. For many years, Chris has shared his passion for boating and fishing with his daughter Victoria. For her and others, he has been a true example of good sportsmanship, honesty, and integrity.
Daniel D. Shea DANIEL D SHEA, 2005 Inductee
For more than 25 years, Dan Shea has been an extremely important part of the success, growth and popularity of the Derby, While working as a Manufacturers Representative for the J. D. Keith Agency, Dan was instrumental in obtaining many new sponsors including Zebco which became the Kid's Day Sponsor for many years. In 1985, Dan and his business partner became a rep for Penn Reel Company as their flagship line. Although Penn had been a sponsor prior to this time, their contributions grew exponentially with Dan's help and dedication to the Derby. Dan is an accomplished fisherman and a role model in the fishing tackle industry.
Nelson SigelmanNELSON SIGELMAN, 2012 Inductee
Nelson was a long-time Derby committee member and instrumental in the improvement of the souvenir booklet through his writing, the collection of advertisements and the book's visual presentation. This booklet and his efforts to keep the community informed of fishing issues through his weekly news column have both become treasured Island keepsakes. Nelson's contributions to the Derby are many and have truly had an impact on the success of the Derby and the Derby is better today because of his participation on the Committee.
Greg Skomal GREG SKOMAL, 2004 Inductee
Greg has been on the Derby Committee for more than a decade and a half. As an official state marine Biologist, Greg was able to guide the Derby with valuable research and insight on various conservation issues and political impact. His research helped us established minimum fish lengths for all fish in the Derby. His research helped us to reduce the mortality rate of false albacore by establishing a size that reduced the number of False Albacore coming to our scales by more than 50%.

Greg is a nationally known speaker for his work on sharks and other species, Greg somehow found time from his very busy work schedule to be treasurer of the organization for many years which included paying the bills, preparing the income tax statements, dealing with our accountant and preparing monthly financial statements for the Board of Directors.

Martha Smith MARTHA SMITH, 2006 Inductee
Martha was the glue at Derby Headquarters, morning and night, for over 15 years. As Weigh Station Manager, she understood fully the intricacies of operating the Derby, and kept it running smoothly. Her dedication to the Derby was demonstrated by her commitment to the event and all it benefited. Martha endeared herself to countless Derby participants over the many years she stood behind the desk at Derby HQ.
Arnold Spofford was a member of the Derby Committee for nearly 15 years beginning in the the early 1980's. He was well known for his famous Ballastic Missile and Needle Fish Lures. But "Spof" was known best to us for his vision and forward thinking for the Derby's direction. It was Spof who created and wrote the first Souvenir Booklets. His stories captured the essence of this tournament and were matched by his photography. Spof was instrumental in the creation of the Ray Ellis prints we sell each year and the Scholarships we now offer to Island graduates. Arnold Spofford truly had an impact on the Derby as we know it today.
Arthur Winters ARTHUR WINTERS, 2004 Inductee
Arthur was a member of the Derby Committee from 1981-1992. He was part of the new group of Derby Committee members who traveled about New England trying to create a new image for the Derby. At that time, participation was at a very low point

Arthur traveled to sportsman shows hawking Jeep raffle tickets and many Island activities. Arthur helped catch bait for the Kids Day event every year and was well respected for his ability to catch Bonito and Albies, often getting on the leader board. His 11 pound Bonito was an Island record for many years.

Arthur Winters brought humor to all that he did and there are countless stories of his wit.