Good Golly, Miss Molly

The youngest winner in derby history takes the striped bass title at Martha's Vineyard.

nl_news_440x308.jpg

Molly Fischer, 12, won the Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby with a 49-plus-pound striper.
Photo: Andrew Fischer

Meet Molly Fischer. Hometown: Aquinnah, Massachusetts. Age: 12. Grade: seven. Interests: soccer and striped bass.

On a cloudy October 9, Molly, her father Albert and her friend Jack Schlossberg boarded the Slapshot II with Captain Scott McDowell to try to fool a few stripers during the 2005 Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby. Trolling a tube lure on wire line in ten-foot swells, one of the rods doubled over and Molly took charge. The sky opened, and, after a 20-minute fight, a drenched Molly had her prize onboard.

"When I first brought the fish to the boat I fell backwards," Molly said. "I was scared it was so big. After that, I gave it a kiss on the head and said, 'Thank you!'"

At the weigh-in later that evening, all eyes watched Molly as she lugged her fish to center stage. Then all eyes turned to the scale: 10...20...30...40...49...49.22 pounds.

All of a sudden the derby - one of the most sought-after fishing titles on the East Coast and one that attracts thousands of anglers - had its youngest leader in 60 years.

"The women went crazy," Molly said. "They loved that a girl was in first place."

In the six days between Molly's catch and the final weigh-in, no angler came close to besting her bass. And on October 15, Molly was named the Grand Winner in the boat division for striped bass.

Meet Molly now. Talk of the town at 12. The old salt of the seventh grade. She made headlines in the papers and appearances on local television. Even the school bus driver painted "#1 Derby Leader" on the side of the bus.

"I never thought the news would go past the derby," Molly said. "But then everyone kept talking about it for weeks. I was like, 'Wow, this really is a big fish.'"