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Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament

Get Outside and Enjoy a Day of Fishing with Family and Friends

By Karen Leskie, Wildlife Technician


Left to right: Eileen Smith, President, Jersey Coast Anglers Association; Paul Harris, President, NJ Beach Buggy Association; Bob Martin, DEP Commissioner; Michael Nightingale, 20th Annual Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament winner; and Frank Dara, President, Governor’s Surf Tournament Committee.

The 21st Annual Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament will be held Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. Once again anglers from New Jersey and neighboring states will descend upon the beaches of Island Beach State Park in hopes of catching the longest fish of the day. The tournament aims to encourage youngsters and adults to learn more about surf fishing while taking advantage of a great family activity. Funds raised by the tournament go toward marine resource conservation and education.

A beautiful fall day was enjoyed by 20th Annual Tournament anglers with
eligible fish entered in blackfish, bluefish, kingfish and striped bass categories. A total of 22 prizes were awarded in categories for children, teens and adults. However, the grand prize went to Michael Nightingale of East Windsor, with a 3338-inch striped bass. DEP Commissioner, Bob Martin, along with Division of Fish and Wildlife Director Dave Chanda, congratulated Mr. Nightingale with a plaque and two rod-and-reel combinations. Also, Mr. Nightingale’s name has been engraved on the Governor’s Cup, which is on permanent display at Island Beach State Park.

Since its inception in 1991, the tournament has generated more than $120,000 for various marine education and restoration efforts, construction of access ramps for disabled saltwater anglers, surf fishing instruction programs and equipment, specialized wheel chairs that provide beach access to the disabled and elderly, plus the purchase of the first mobile automatic heart defibrillator for use at Island Beach State Park.

For more information about the Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament or to receive a registration form, visit or call (609) 748-4347.

New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife (along with our co-sponsors: New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry, New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, Jersey Coast Anglers Association and New Jersey Beach Buggy Association) would like to thank the following organizations for contributing to the success of the 20th Annual Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament in 2011:

  • Canyon Gear
  • Eagle Claw Fishing Tackle Company
  • Grumpy’s Bait & Tackle
  • Legal Limits Company
  • Manns Bait Company
  • O Mustad & Son, Inc.
  • Sportsman’s Center
  • Stanley Jigs, Inc.
  • Surf Rocket
  • Tru-Turn, Inc.
  • TTI-Blakemore Fishing Group
  • Wright & McGill Company

Photo: Jamie Darrow

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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