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Director’s Message

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Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament Moved to Springtime

This year New Jersey’s Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament will receive a date change, with the 2014 tournament now scheduled for Sunday, May 18. For more than two decades, thousands of anglers have participated in the Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament held annually at Island Beach State Park. This popular family event routinely draws anglers from throughout New Jersey and surrounding states and, since its inception, has raised more than $130,000 for marine conservation efforts and fishing education programs.

The fall format of this family event conflicted with a host of autumn outdoor festivals and weekend school sporting events. As a result, all of the tournament sponsors, which include the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, the Division of Parks and Forestry, the New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, the Jersey Coast Anglers Association, and the New Jersey Beach Buggy Association, proposed a change to the springtime. The proposal was supported by the Governor’s Office as they felt it would be a perfect jumpstart for the summer tourism season.

Increased surf fishing opportunities—a generous variety of eligible fish species, larger fish, and greater abundance—should make this event even more successful. We are confident that this new spring tournament will lure in even more enthusiastic anglers, including many families and youths who will now be able to participate in this exciting event.

The individual who catches the overall largest fish wins the Governor’s Award and will have his/her name engraved on the Governor’s Cup, which is permanently displayed at Island Beach State Park. Prizes of fishing equipment are awarded to winners who catch the largest fish in a variety of species and age group categories.

As a reminder, all funds raised by the tournament have gone towards a variety of good causes, including the purchase of specialized wheelchairs that provide the disabled and elderly with beach access, construction of access ramps for disabled saltwater anglers, surf fishing instruction programs and equipment plus marine education and restoration projects. (See Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament for more details).

Information about the Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament, including registration forms, are available on New Jersey Fish and Wildlife’s website ( I would like to remind everyone interested in participating that they may be asked to verify compliance with the free New Jersey Saltwater Recreational Registry Program. If you’re not already registered for 2014, please do so before hitting the beach the day of the tournament.

Whether you casually cast your line in the ocean, battle it out for the biggest fish seeking to win the Governor’s Cup, or come to the Park supporting family members or friends competing in the tournament, there’s really no better way to kick off the summer season at the Jersey shore.

We look forward to seeing you on May 18!

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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