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Beautiful Weather Ushered In the 28th Annual Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament


May 21, 2019

The 28th Annual Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament was held May 19 at Island Beach State Park. Participants were greeted with a beautiful day for fishing the beach. The Division of Fish and Wildlife's Hooked on Fishing - Not on Drugs program had participants fill the beach at Area 21. World Jeep transported disabled anglers to and from the beach at Bathing Beach Area 1. As is the case with surf fishing some parts of the beach were hot and others didn't get a bite, but despite the lack of fishing action participants stayed on the beach until the tournament ended at 1:00 p.m.

This was the third year the Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament was open to high school teams with their own team category. Sixty high schoolers from eight school fishing teams fished the tournament. The high school teams then gathered together after the tournament for a light lunch. Each school contributed an item. Also, the Shark River Surf Anglers Association and Reel Seat Bait and Tackle generously donated sandwiches and beverages for the team luncheon. Once again, The Fisherman magazine donated funds to purchase first, second and third place plaques for the winning high school teams.

DEP Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources Ray Bukowski and Division of Fish and Wildlife Acting Director Dave Golden came early to the tournament and spent time on the beach visiting with tournament participants. After fishing had ended, Assistant Commissioner Bukowski and Acting Director Golden assisted with the awards ceremony. John Kolacy of Flanders, NJ, took the grand prize and NJ Governor's Cup by catching a 37 1/2" striped bass.

Mr. Kolacy received two rod and reel combinations, a plaque and will 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. Toms River High School South took first place in the high school team category the second year in a row with a 26 " bluefish. The team was presented with the high school team category cup for taking first place. Their name will be engraved on the high school team cup and the team will receive a plaque.

John Kolacy with his winning fish
Tournament winner John Kolacy with his winning fish
Click to enlarge

Everyone who registered for the tournament was entered in the raffle drawing with prizes donated from the following organizations: Betty and Nick's Bait and Tackle, Chestnut Neck Boat Yard, Grumpy's Bait and Tackle, Jersey Shore Surfcasters, and Legal Limits Company. Also all participants who mailed in their registrations were able to enter into an early entry raffle for additional rod and reel combos that had been donated by American Angler.

In addition to the grand prize, 14 anglers received rod and reel combinations for their prize-winning fish in the bluefish and striped bass 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 $145,000 has been raised since the inception of the tournament for conservation and education projects and improved beach access.

Winners of the 2019 Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament are:

Bluefish Category

Child (Male):
First Place: Logan Apello, Cliffside Park, NJ - 20 5/8"
Second Place: John Ryanfalk, Ossining, NY - 20 4/8"

Teen (Female):
First Place: Morgan Vicidomini, Forked River, NJ - 19 4/8"

Teen (Male):
First Place: Nick Donato, Toms River, NJ - 28 4/8"
Second Place: Colin Graham, Toms River, NJ - 26 2/8"
Third Place: Benjamin Brenner, Toms River, NJ - 25"

Adult (Female):
First Place: Dawn Wesemann, Churchville, PA - 27 6/8"
Second Place: Norma Kasper, Downington, PA - 26"
Third Place: Margaret Crossley, Mount Laurel, NJ - 19"

Adult (Male):
First Place: Gary Galbraith, Carlisle, PA - 32 1/8"
Second Place: Damon Lofton, Morris Plains, NJ - 29 3/8"
Third Place: James Bielski, Forked River, NJ - 29" (6:45am)

Striped Bass Category
Adult (Male):
First Place: John Kolacy, Flanders, NJ - 37 4/8"
Second Place: Michael Mastrian, Toms River, NJ - 31 2/8"

High School Team

First Place: Toms River High School South - 26 2/8" Bluefish
Second Place: Manasquan High School - 25 6/8" Bluefish
Third Place: Columbia High School - 18 3/8" Bluefish
Winning high school team Toms River HS South
Fish and Wildlife Director Dave Golden and DEP Asst. Commissioner Ray Bukowski flank the winning Toms River South HS team.
Click to enlarge

Governor's Cup Winner: John Kolacy of Flanders, NJ, for his 37" Striped Bass
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Last Updated: May 21, 2019