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August 29, 2003


Anglers are invited to participate in the Governor’s 12th Annual Surf Fishing Tournament on Sunday, Oct. 5. The competition is open to anglers of all ages and will be held from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Island Beach State Park in Ocean County.

“Surf fishing is a great family activity and the Governor’s annual tournament offers the perfect opportunity for youngsters and adults to learn more about this relaxing and enjoyable sport,” said Division of Fish and Wildlife Director Martin J. McHugh. “Also by registering, participants will be contributing toward marine education and restoration efforts, and the construction of access ramps for disabled saltwater anglers. Funds also help provide surf fishing access, surf fishing instruction programs and equipment, and the purchase of specialized wheelchairs that provide beach access to the disabled and elderly. To date, more than $90,000 has been raised at this annual event.”

The tournament is sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife and Division of Parks and Forestry, the the New Jersey Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, Jersey Coast Anglers Association and the New Jersey Beach Buggy Association.

Registration is $10 for adults aged 18 and older, if postmarked by the Sept. 8 deadline, or $15 on the day of the tournament. Registration for teens aged 13-17 is $5. Children 12 and under are free, but they must register and be accompanied by an adult. Participants may register at the park on the day of the tournament beginning at 5 a.m. Entry into the park is free to individuals who register for the Surf Fishing Tournament. A $25 beach buggy weekend permit is required to drive on the beach and is available at the park entrance.

The storm/hurricane date is Sunday, Oct. 12. Please note that it will take extreme weather conditions to force cancellation.

Eight species are eligible for entry in the tournament: albacore tuna, striped bass, blackfish, bluefish, fluke, kingfish, red drum and weakfish. Overall length will determine the winner. All fish must meet minimum length requirements.

The individual who catches the overall largest fish will be honored with the “Governor’s Award,” and have his or her name engraved on the Governor’s Cup, which will be permanently displayed at Island Beach State Park. Fishing tackle and other equipment will be awarded to winners who catch the largest fish in each species category. Also featured is a special raffle for pre-registrants and an exhibit area at Pavilion #1 featuring sportsmen’s clubs, conservation organizations and tackle manufacturers.

The Governor’s tournament is an excellent opportunity for anglers of all experience levels and ages to try out the sport of surf fishing.

Each year, a variety of impressively sized fish are caught. In 2002, a total of 176 fish were measured. The largest of each species included a 21 ½” weakfish; 16 ½” kingfish; 18 ½” blackfish; 18 7/8” red drum; 32 ½” bluefish; and a 44” striped bass that was the Governor’s Cup winning entry. The most common catch that day was bluefish with 102 entries.

Tournament participation is not dominated by adults. Nearly 50 anglers last year were aged 17 and younger. Some of the first place winning entries in various youth categories included a 15 ½” kingfish, a 30 ½” bluefish and a 29” striped bass.

A brochure containing rules, registration form and other important information can be obtained from the Division by calling 609-748-4347 or downloading the brochure from this Web site.

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