Perseverance and good karma lead to this year’s Derby wins

Trish Lyman reacts to the winning "click."

Trish Lyman reacts to the winning “click.” — Stacey Rupolo

When Trish Lyman of Edgartown bought a guided trip with Danny Gilkes at an auction to support an Edgartown school field trip this spring, the odds were miniscule that her largesse would lead to a Derby winning 12.2 pound false albacore, and put her in the driver’s seat of a brand new 2017 Subaru Crosstrek, compliments of the Clay Subaru.

But it did.

When seasonal resident John Stasiuk caught a 29.6 pound striper on the first day of the 72nd annual Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, the odds were almost as slim that it would stay atop the leaderboard for the next 34 days, and make him the new owner of a Cape Codder 19 foot center console boat with Tohatsu Outboard and trailer, from of Cape Codder Boats.

But it did.

Every Derby fisherman has visions of that one cast that leads to the fish of a lifetime, and to Derby glory. But precious few know the suspense that comes with being on stage with seven other finalists at the closing ceremony. Even fewer know the jubilation of having the key that leads to the click of a padlock in the hands of Derby committee president Ed Jerome, and the roar of the crowd that can be heard in Woods Hole.

Now Lyman and Stasiuk are members of that most exclusive club.

“This is Danny’s win as well,” Lyman said about guide Danny Gilkes after the awards ceremony at Farm Neck Golf Club. Lyman is a Derby devotee. On her phone she has a picture of her Derby pins from the past 14 years, and the two daily pins, two weekly pins and grand slam pin she’s won.

She’s also volunteered at the Derby for the past 10 years.

A week ago Saturday, she took fellow volunteers Kristy Rose, Becca LaMarche and Midge Jacobs on the trip she bought last spring to help fund the Edgartown School 8th grade field trip to Washington D.C.

The ceremony, held at Farm Neck, was a lighthearted and well-attended event.

“Midge said it looked like a good rip, and she was right,” Lyman said, amid a rush of well-wishers, most of whom she knew by first name.

A stunned Stasiuk struggled to find the words to describe his emotions.  “This is unreal,” the Northfield Connecticut resident said, as he sat down with his son.

Stasiuk said he had fished all night with plugs at Philbin Beach, in Aquinnah, with dismal results. “I was going to give up but I gave it a shot with a hunk of bunker,” he said. “I caught it at 5 a.m. It was the only hit I had all night.”

Stasiuk said he fished about 15 days of the Derby, day and night.

Asked to write down his contact information by The Times, Stasiuk handed the pad and pen to his son.

“I’m shaking too much,” he said. “This is unbelievable.”

A record 3,382 anglers participated in this year’s Derby. You can see a detailed list of this year’s winners on the Derby website.

This article written by Barry Stringfellow originally appeared on