Sunday July 9th was the 2017 Southern Maine Striper Derby. In the third year running, it attracted teams from all over including New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and almost every corner of Maine. Divided into teams of two, anglers had the entire coast of southern Maine as their playground. WhyKnot fishing has been the driving force behind this event since it's inception and along with Ben Whitehead (yup, the guy that ties our saltwater flies here at All Points Fly Shop + Outfitter) and gracious support from Cheeky, Costa, Yeti, Beulah, Mud Dog Flies, XTRATUF, Cortland, East Coast Flies, Brackish Flies, Coastbusters, Kismet Outfitters, and Early Rise Outfitters, it is now a thriving event.
The rules are simple: it's a catch-and-release format (like all WhyKnot tournaments) and the winning team will have the best 4 fish (measured in inches accumulatively). Each team received a unique tag and measuring tape at the beginning of the event and pictures of the fish needed to include these tags with accurate measurements shown in the photograph.
Check-in for the derby was at 3:30am at Pine Point in Scarborough. Teams gathered, drank coffee and Redbull, received their unique team tag, and finalized their strategies for the day. At 4:00am over 30 teams were released and quickly got into their vehicles to head out along the rocky coast.
The derby ran from 4am-2pm so a total of about 10 hrs for fishermen to work the diverse coastline. This included about 2 hours of an outgoing tide and a full incoming tide. So, this presented the opportunity to fish different areas and also utilize the tide range to try numerous game plans. Some headed to the beaches, some to the rivers, some to the ledges and rocks, with all theories producing fish.
The afternoon progressed and the sunny warm weather didn't seem to slow the action down much. Anglers were catching fish in almost every spot they went to and teams were on average catching fish in the 24-27" range! The biggest fish of the day was a nice 31" landed by Gary Kearns of the winning team "Into The Backing."
The day wrapped up with a 2:00pm check in at Oxbow Brewing in Portland. Teams raced into town to make the cutoff and submit their fish/total lengths. People ate, drank, dried off, and exchanged fish tales. It was a perfect way to end a great day of fishing! The sponsors involved all had top notch awards and raffle prizes. The winning team received a rod from Beulah, line from Cortland, and a Cheeky Reel. The 2nd place team won Redington Predator fly rods from us at All Points, and the 3rd place group were given $100 toward XTRATUF and many coupons and accessories for their accomplishment!
Thanks to everyone who participated and was involved in this years derby! It was the biggest to date and not only shows how good the fishing can be here in Maine, but also is true reflection of how great of a community we have here. Teams ranged from a father and (young) son team, to a husband and wife combo. The derby is open to anyone and we can only hope to continue with what's been established well into the future!
1st Place: "Into The Backing" (113")
2nd Place: "Double Haul" (102")
3rd Place: "D.D. Tooth Fairies" (100.5")
Here are some additional photos from throughout the day...
Words + Photos: Josh Thelin