In honor of the seventieth Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, we sent fishing legend Janet Messineo out trolling for fish tales. Then, in honor of the fortieth anniversary of Jaws, we chummed the waters ourselves for a couple of good shark stories. The result? Well, you should have been here that time when, holy crap...you wouldn’t have believed it....

You can spend more than $1,000 on a fly reel. But who needs it? Charlie Blair and I each caught derby fly-rod-record fish on reels that cost $25.

Kib Bramhall

Seventy years ago this August, V-J Day set up a string of events that led me to the Vineyard and altered my life forever. When victory was announced, my mother made plans to visit her parents, who were vacationing at the Harborside Inn in Edgartown, and we set out the next day, taking the Cape Codder train from Grand Central Station in New York to Woods Hole, where we would board the Vineyard ferry. The streets of New York were littered with confetti and other leftovers from the uproarious victory celebration, and the train crew was still celebrating.

Kib Bramhall

Forty years ago Jaws put the Vineyard (masquerading as an island called Amity) and white sharks on the same Hollywood map. The celluloid great white shark that terrorized beachgoers gave sharks a bad rap, and swimmers reason for pause, for years. But interest in real sharks, especially the whites – the official name for the species does not include the “great” – has been on the rise in recent years, and today would-be Quints and Brodys would need more than a bigger boat before chumming the water for a shark. They’d need a permit.

Sara Brown

It’s not uncommon these days to hear of rare or threatened plants on the Vineyard – think of the broad tinker’s weed (aka wild coffee) that recently worried the Gay Head Light movers, or the orchids that occasionally halt would-be homebuilders. But one of the most important and endangered local plants grows not so much on the Island as beside it.

Sara Brown

I have an educated thumb. Do you? You have one, too? Then there’s a pair of us – don’t tell! They’d think we were obsolete – you know!

Kib Bramhall

It’s springtime, and for right whales, the plankton feeding is easy. A large group of the endangered mammals were spotted via aerial surveys in the waters between Gay Head and Block Island in the late winter and spring. “That’s a really interesting area that’s had relatively little survey effort until recently,” said Philip Hamilton, a research scientist with the New England Aquarium. The surveys began because of the Cape Wind project, he said, as part of an effort to determine the impact the Nantucket Sound project would have on endangered species.

Sara Brown

Spring is an iffy season on the Vineyard. The ocean’s chill delays the reawakening of color and blossom for a seeming eternity while blustery winds keep summer at bay. But something is going on beneath the sea that keeps pulses racing: the spring run of striped bass, which brings these magnificent fish back to our shores from wintering grounds in the Chesapeake and elsewhere. What could be a greater affirmation that we have survived another winter and that all is right in the world