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Bluefish Blitzes Liven 25th Annual Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament


May 16, 2016

The 25th Annual Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament was held Sunday, May 15 at Island Beach State Park(IBSP). A west wind kept it chilly but bluefish blitzes made for a great day of fishing for approximately 600 registered participants. On the beach anglers were busy catching a lot of fish with 245 fish entered into the bluefish category and 3 fish entered into the striped bass category. At tournament headquarters radio station NJ 101.5 had music and games for participants visiting partnering organization tables or grabbing a bite to eat. Overall the 25th Annual Tournament was an all-around great day of family fishing!

New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno was not able to participate in the tournament as in previous years, but did stop by in the morning to wish participants good luck. Once fishing had ended DEP Commissioner Bob Martin along with DEP Natural and Historic Resources Assistant Commissioner Rich Boornazian assisted with the awards ceremony.

Dakota Hahn of Toms River took the grand prize and NJ Governor's Cup by catching a 43.5" striped bass. Mr. Hahn received two rod-and-reel combinations, one of which was a 2016 TICA rod; a pair of Costa Del Mar sunglasses; a plaque; and will have his name engraved on the Governor's Cup, which is permanently on display at the park.

Tournament winner Dakota Hahn with Governor's Cup
Tournament winner Dakota Hahn with Governor's Cup
Click to enlarge

Two additional plaques were awarded this year to two men who have been great supporters of IBSP and the tournament. Paul Smith, former Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament Treasurer, was presented with a plaque by the Tournament Committee in recognition of his dedicated service to the tournament and to the sport of surf fishing. Paul had been involved with the tournament since its inception, and only this past year stepped down. The NJ Beach Buggy Association (NJBBA) took the time to recognize DEP Compliance and Enforcement Assistant Commissioner Ray Bukowski, who had previously been the manager at Island Beach State Park. NJBBA recognized his support and hard work in restoring IBSP after Superstorm Sandy. Ray was awarded with a plaque and Honorary NJBBA Lifetime Member.

Everyone who registered for the tournament was entered into a raffle drawing with prizes donated from the following organizations: Costa Del Mar Inc., Chestnut Neck Boat Yard, Fish and Wildlife's Hooked on Fishing - Not on Drugs Program, Jenkinson's Aquarium, Legal Limits, Manns Bait Company, Silver Horde, and Stanley Jigs. Bass Pro Shops donated gift cards this year for the early entry prizes, which is for participants who were the first to mail in their registrations. Also all participants who mailed in their registrations were able to enter into an early entry raffle for a Coastline Surf System.

In addition to the grand prize, 19 anglers received rod and reel combinations for their prize-winning fish in the striped bass and bluefish categories. There were categories for children, teen and adult anglers, including sub-categories for male and female anglers. The event was sponsored by the NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife and Division of Parks and Forestry, the New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, the Jersey Coast Anglers Association, and the NJ Beach Buggy Association.

More than $130,000 has been raised since the inception of the tournament for conservation and education projects and improved beach access.

Winners of the 2016 Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament are:

Bluefish Category

Child (Male):
First Place - Caden Michalski, Edison, 36"
Second Place - Nathan Schwarz, Westchester, PA, 34 4/8"
Third Place - Allen Magie, Haskell, 34 2/8"

Child (Female):
First Place: Jacklyn Janiec, Bloomingdale, 32 4/8"
Second Place - Mackenzie Gordon, Toms River, 32" at 8:55 a.m.
Third Place - Olivia Boris, McDonald, PA, 32" at 10:45 a.m.

Teen (Male):
First Place - Aiden (AJ) Elmore, Little Egg Harbor, 38"
Second Place - Eric Mayers, Cranbury, 36"
Third Place - Thomas Heffelfinger, Toms River, 34"

Teen (Female):
First Place - Savanna Rodriguez, Reading, PA, 36"
Second Place - Shanna Hudler, Toms River, 30 4/8"

Adult (Male):
First Place - Justin Barbier, Woodland Park, 39 4/8"
Second Place - Keith Scharago, Beachwood, 38" at 7:15 a.m.
Third Place - Brandon Hewitt, Little Egg Harbor, 38" at 8:05 a.m.

Adult (Female):
First Place - Kaitlyn Bach, Toms River, 37" at 7:35 a.m.
Second Place - Donna McConnell, Somerset, 37" at 11:10 a.m.
Third Place - Alyssa DiMarco, Delran, 36 5/8"

Striped Bass Category

Adult (Male)
First Place - Dakota Hahn, Toms River, 43 4/8"
Third Place - Zoltan Eayed, Trenton, 31 4/8"
Second Place - Rich Bergman, Atco, 38 6/8"

Governor's Cup Winner: Dakota Hahn, of Toms River, for his 43 4/8" Striped Bsss
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Last Updated: May 16, 2016