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16 Year Old Wins Governor's Cup With 34" Bluefish At 26th Annual Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament


May 22, 2017

The 26th Annual Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament was held May 21 at Island Beach State Park under blue skies and a light easterly wind. More than 600 participants enjoyed the day with family and friends, including Hooked on Fishing - Not on Drugs program participants and thirteen teams from seven different schools in the brand new High School Team Category.

DEP Commissioner Bob Martin along with Division of Fish and Wildlife Acting Director Larry Herrighty assisted with the awards ceremony. Sixteen year old Kyle Brendel of Nutley took the grand prize and NJ Governor's Cup by catching a 34" bluefish. Mr. Brendel received two rod and reel combinations, a Berkley Power Bait tackle bag, a pair of Costa Del Mar sunglasses, and a plaque He will also have his name engraved on the Governor's Cup, which is permanently on display at Island Beach State Park.

The awards ceremony didn't stop there as Lacey High School's Toad Masters team was presented with the high school team category cup for taking first place with a 22 6/8" bluefish. The Toad Masters will have their name engraved on the new high school team cup and will receive a plaque.

Everyone who registered for the tournament was entered into a raffle drawing with prizes donated from the following organizations: American Angler, Chestnut Neck Boat Yard, Friends of Island Beach State Park, Grumpy's Bait and Tackle, NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife's Hooked on Fishing - Not on Drugs Program, Legal Limits Company, Manns Bait Company, O Mustad and Son, Silver Horde, Stanley Jigs, and World Jeep. All participants who mailed in their registrations were also able to enter into an early entry raffle for a Coastline Surf System.

Tournament winner Kyle Brendel with Governor's Cup
Tournament winner Kyle Brendel with Governor's Cup
Click to enlarge

In addition to the grand prize, 9 anglers received rod and reel combinations for their prize-winning fish in the bluefish category. 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 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. Fish Hawks Fishing Club donated funds for the Tournament to purchase a new high school team cup that will be on display at Island Beach State Park, and The Fisherman magazine donated funds to purchase first, second and third place plaques for the winning high school teams. Also, the Shark River Surf Anglers Association and Reel Seat Bait and Tackle donated sandwiches and beverages for high school team anglers.

More than $135,000 has been raised since the inception of the tournament for conservation and education projects and improved beach access.

Winners of the 2017 Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament are:

Bluefish Category

Child (Male):
First Place: Jaden Stimon, Hamilton, NJ - 25 6/8"
Second Place: Shane Stimon, Hamilton, NJ - 22 6/8"

Teen (Male):
First Place and Governor's Cup Winner: Kyle Brendel, Nutley, NJ - 34"
Second Place: Kyle Brown, Old Bridge, NJ - 30 4/8"
Third Place: Thomas Heffelfinger, Toms River, NJ - 30"

Adult (Male):
First Place: James Henderson, Langhorne, PA - 31 2/8"
Second Place: Robert Shoremount, Oxford, NJ - 30 6/8"
Third Place: Gary Grimm, Chester, NJ - 30 4/8"

Adult (Female):
First Place: Jackie Scarpelli, Toms River, NJ - 26"
Second Place: Dawn Howachyn, Forked River, NJ - 23"

High School Team

First Place: Lacey Twp. High School - Toad Masters - 22 6/8" Bluefish
Second Place: Manasquan High School #1 - 22 4/8" Bluefish
Third Place: Toms River South High School - 22" Bluefish

Governor's Cup Winner: Kyle Brendel, of Nutley, for his 34" Bluefish
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Last Updated: May 22, 2017