One of the state’s most anticipated fishing events of the year is set for this weekend at Island Beach State Park.
The Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament is scheduled for this Sunday, May 15, state officials said. Formerly an early autumn tradition, this will mark the third consecutive year the family-friendly tournament is held in the spring, bringing a renewed enthusiasm for fishing aficionados.
“The Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament is becoming a favorite springtime event at the Jersey Shore,” said state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin.
Registration on the day of the tournament begins at 5 a.m. with fishing from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The individual who catches the overall largest – or longest – fish wins the “Governor’s Award” and will have his or her name engraved on the Governor’s Cup, which is permanently displayed at Island Beach State Park. Fishing equipment is also awarded to winners in a variety of species and age group categories.
“The Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament is an incredible event, and I am privileged to have been involved with it since its inception,” said Paul Smith, past President of the Jersey Coast Anglers Association, in a statement. “The tournament has always been geared for people to enjoy a day at the beach fishing with family and friends while raising funds for very worthy causes, and I look forward to seeing it continue and thrive for another 25 years.”
The registration fee on the day of the tournament is $20 for ages 18 and older and $5 for ages 13-17. There is no fee for children 12 and under.
All funds raised by the tournament go toward a variety of good causes, including the purchase of specialized wheelchairs that provide the disabled and elderly beach access, construction of access ramps for disabled saltwater anglers, surf fishing instruction programs and equipment, and marine education and restoration projects.
For more information about the Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament visit the Fish and Wildlife website.
As for the current bite – double-digit-sized bluefish and being taken in the park, and all over the island down to Barnegat Inlet, said John from The Dock Outfitters in Seaside Heights.
“There are a few Bass around too but the Blues are overpowering,” a report from Grumpy’s Tackle in Seaside Park said.
Cut baits are the best bet, both shops said in their reports.