A Message from the Derby President

Ed Jerome

Welcome to the 71st Annual Marthas Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, a tournament that grows more successful each year. We are often compared to other tournaments and folks have wondered why we have been so successful for all these years. First, our overall commitment to education and conservation has been at the fore front of our efforts. Secondly, we spend considerable time at our monthly meetings engaged in healthy debate on a variety of topics. We look at catch and participant data, analyze our rules and potential changes, and take stock of the direction the tournament is going. Thirdly, we are constantly creating new ideas for a better event, such as our scholarship program than began nearly 3 decades ago to support the education of our island youth. To date an astounding amount of money has been raised and donated to that cause.

As we grew, we realized, if we wanted to continue to attract quality sponsors we were going to have to be a not-for-profit fishing tournament. Thirty years ago, a nonprofit fishing tournament was unheard of, especially by the IRS. We submitted our proposal and twice it was rejected. Finally, after a personal meeting in DC, the IRS granted us our 501c3 status. I am sure it was one of the first, if not the first, such status granted a fishing tournament.

Over the years, the need for different fish to be included in our prize structure was evident. No longer was the largest bass the grand winner alone. We created a grand prize structure that honored the eight first place division winners and an exciting way to end the Awards Ceremony with all eight first place winners given a lucky key chance at one of the grand overall prizes emerged. We were no longer a bass take all tournament and developed an equal and fair distribution for all eight winners in this way. It has been very well received to this day.

The Committee takes participant survey results, suggestions, and feedback seriously and is constantly striving to improve the Derby experience. It is easy to see that The Derby is much different than weekend, high purchase tournaments. Our month long event creates friendships that last a life time and participants realize their involvement supports many rewarding and meaningful programs.

The Committee and I truly appreciate participant recognition of our efforts to make the Derby the successful event that it is and we are excited, that as of this writing, we are experiencing an exceptional fishing season. Our hope is that it will continue throughout the tournament for everyone.

Our very best to all for a successful and safe event.

Sincerely,

Ed Jerome
President, Derby Committee