By Karen Byrne, Senior Biologist
Mark your calendar for May 17, 2015 when Island Beach State Park will host the 24th annual Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament! Hundreds of anglers from New Jersey and neighboring states are expected to hit the beach that day in hopes of catching the longest fish and to enjoy a great day of fishing with family and friends at the Jersey Shore.
The tournament aims to encourage youngsters and adults to learn more about surf fishing while taking advantage of a great family activity. Since its inception in 1991, the tournament has generated more than $130,000 for various marine education and restoration efforts, construction of access ramps for disabled saltwater anglers, surf fishing instruction programs and equipment and the purchase of the first mobile automatic heart defibrillator for use at Island Beach State Park. In 2014, funds from the tournament and partnering organizations provided Island Beach State Park with more than eight new specialized wheelchairs that provide beach access for the disabled and elderly.
Last year was the first time in tournament history that the event was not held in the fall. The change to May was beneficial with a significant increase in the number of participants over recent years. More than 600 anglers participated this year. A bluefish blitz kept tournament judges on the move with nearly 200 fish being measured. However, it was Chris Follmer of Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, who took the grand prize and New Jersey Governor’s Cup with a 36-inch bluefish. Follmer received two rod-and-reel combinations plus a plaque; his name will be engraved on the Governor’s Cup on permanent display at the park. New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno was on hand to greet tournament participants and help present the awards after spending a day on the beach fishing with family and friends.
In addition to the Governor’s Cup winner, twenty anglers received rod and reel combinations for their prize-winning fish in the striped bass and bluefish categories. Overall fish length determined the grand prize winner, as well as first, second or third place in each of the species categories. There were categories for children, teen and adult anglers, including sub-categories for male and female anglers.
The Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament is a great way for anglers of all ages and experience to enjoy a great day of fishing, and help kick off the start of the summer season at the Jersey shore. For more information about the Tournament, or to receive a registration form, visit NJFishandWildlife.com/gsft.htm or call (609) 748-4347.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.