August Blues
Nantucket Events Nantucket History & People

Countdown Is On Til August Blues

by Steve “Tuna” Tornovish

Blues music is about the realities of life. It expresses the ebb and flow of our human emotions, focusing mostly on the melancholy. When we’re sad, we have the blues. When we want to move away from that sadness, we can chase the blues away with music. Musically, it’s the famous 1-3-5 chord progression and a call and response lyric. But here on Nantucket, we’re often chasing the blues and trying our best to catch them. Never more so than this August, as the inaugural August Blues fishing tournament is ready to hit the Nantucket inshore fishing community.

August Blues
August Chotkowski’s spirit is inspiring.

August Chotkowski, known to so many of us as Augie, turns 27 years old on the third of August, 2023. Augie has a condition known as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). Not one to be bound down by his situation, Augie is always on the move in his motorized chair. His sister Honor puts it best: “DMD is a disorder characterized by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness. Despite the challenges presented by this condition, August continues to exhibit a spirit that is nothing short of inspiring. Look for him blazing a trail on the island’s bike paths, hanging with his pals at the local car wash, volunteering at Nantucket High School, or advocating for all people with disabilities as a member of the Commission on Disability. If you see him, don’t forget to honk and say hi!”

Dr. Greg Chotkowski, Augie’s father, is an avid Nantucket fisherman. He left New York City and opened his oral surgery practice on the island in 2019. In the spring of 2020, Greg participated in his first Spring Sea Run Opener tournament. He was, as they say, hooked. Fishing soon became therapy for Greg. He learned the various locations and methods necessary to catch striped bass and bluefish. In three short years, Greg has made himself one of the top Nantucket beach fishermen by putting in a lot of early morning hours on the island shores.

It’s emotionally difficult for Greg to not be able to share most of his fishing experiences with his son. “Augie always wants to know how I did,” Greg told me. “It was so great when the water was low at the North Head of the Hummock pond this spring. Augie was able to go all around the pond with me in his chair. It was a special day for us.”

The August Blues tournament is a way to help to honor Augie’s spirit and courage. This will be a month-long bluefish tournament that is designed to get both locals and island visitors involved. Expert anglers or those just getting started can particate. As the website states, this is a tournament that gives fishermen a chance to win great prizes regardless if they catch 100 bluefish or only one. The funds raised will go to Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, an organization dedicated to ending Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Greg had a lot of work to do to get a tournament like this going. A lot of his fishing friends stepped up to help shoulder the oars. Bill Fisher Tackle is playing a lead role as a major sponsor of the tournament, as is Island X fishing lures. Rafael Osona, the originator and one-man-gang responsible for the Spring Sea Run Opener tournament, has helped as well, along with so many others in our tight-knit Nantucket fishing community (Corey Gammill, Nick Whitbeck, Sam Brandt, John Colton, Tammy King, Matt Roberts, Rick Ramos and Pat Mcevoy…I’m looking at you guys!). Greg’s Nantucket Oral Surgery is sponsoring the junior division so that kids under the age of 17 can participate in the tournament for free.

One of the things I’m most excited about with this tournament is that it is all about the fun of fishing. The competition is incidental. There will be a Gator prize for the biggest bluefish caught, a Snapper prize for the smallest bluefish caught, and a Strike Three prize for the fisherman with the greatest total length of three bluefish. Please note that all fish are to be measured and the length captured with a picture so that the fish may be released to be caught again one day.

But the fun doesn’t end there, kids—the tournament folks will track Instagram submissions that tag them at august_blues_nantucket, and a prize will go to the person with the most submissions (yeah, I’m feeling lucky on this one!). There will be a prize for the first bonito and false albacore caught as well. And finally, there will be Unicorn Fish prizes for the first to catch some of the unusual species that occasionally stray into the Nantucket fishery, such as Spanish Mackerel or Sea Trout.

I urge you all to sign up for this tournament and support a great cause, as well as helping to make Augie be a member of our fishing community. “Augie has taught me so much,” Greg told me. “He’s taught me patience. To slow down. He has helped me to develop a much greater understanding and to have empathy. These things are what this tournament is all about.”

Greg’s daughter Honor echoes those sentiments: “In the spirit of unity and resilience, the August Blues tournament is more than a fishing competition—it’s a collective effort in the fight against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Every entry fee, every sponsorship, and every fish caught supports this mission.”

Let’s catch those August Blues! Please go to and sign up for the tournament today. There are three levels of entry: the basic level is $25 (entry only), the silver level is $50 (includes entry + an August Blues t-shirt) and the blue level is $100 (includes entry, an August Blues t-shirt, + an Island X lure package).

Fishing is always about more than fishing. Be sure to take a kid fishing with you. Have fun. And be grateful every day for your good health.

Steve “Tuna” Tornovish is a Nantucket native who has spent his life fishing
from the beaches of his beloved island. He loves to introduce clients to the
joy of fishing with his Nantucket Island Fishing Adventures:

Articles by Date from 2012