October 15, 1997
For more information contact:
David Chanda at 609-984-6295

More than 1,200 participants took part in the Governor's Sixth Annual Surf Fishing Tournament on Sunday, October 5 at Island Beach State Park in Ocean County. Sunshine and unseasonably warm temperatures allowed participants to take advantage of a beautiful autumn day outdoors with family and friends.

"I would like to thank the many sponsors, prize donators and participants who have helped make the surf tournament a success for the past six years," said division Director Bob McDowell. "Their cumulative efforts have helped raise nearly $50,000 for the construction of a beach access ramp and specialized wheelchairs for the disabled and elderly."

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

Response to the tournament was excellent. Individuals from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, Massachusetts and even Texas attempted to try their luck at surf fishing.

More than 1,200 people registered; the highest participation since the tournament began in 1992. Approximately 800 pre-registered through the mail and more than 400 registered on the morning of the tournament. Many of the entrants invited guests to observe the fun, bringing the total number of spectators and participants to about 1,500.

Albacore, striped bass, blackfish, bluefish, red drum, fluke, kingfish and weakfish were eligible for entry in the tournament. Of these, fluke, albacore, blackfish, weakfish and bluefish were the species submitted.

Overall length determined the grand prize winner as well as place winners for each of the species categories. This year, there were children, teen and adult categories for many of the species submitted, including sub-categories for male and female. The inclusion of first, second and third place winners was dependent on the number of entries submitted in each species category.

Grand prize went to Ron Butkiewicz of Plainfield, New Jersey for a 34 4/16" bluefish. Butkiewicz received the Governor's Trophy along with a rod and reel combination for his outstanding catch. Additionally, his name will be engraved on the Governor's Cup, which will be permanently displayed at Island Beach State Park.

Other winners received a variety of donated fishing tackle and gear. Along with the tournament prizes offered, the registration forms of pre-registrants and same-day entrants were placed into special drawings for additional prizes.

A complete list of winners follows:

1997 Governor's Sixth Annual
Surf Fishing Tournament Winners


Children's Category - Blackfish - Boys

First Place
Joe Rosetti (12 yrs. old)
Bloomfield, NJ
16 5/8" Blackfish

Adults Category - Blackfish - Women

First Place
Arlene Parrino
Middletown, NJ
17 3/4" Blackfish (also caught a 17" blackfish)

Adults Category - Blackfish - Men

Third Place
Joseph Kennett
Jackson, NJ
15" Blackfish
Second Place
Thomas DiAlfonso
Hillsboro, NJ
15 1/2" Blackfish
First Place
Claus Faller
Beachwood, NJ
16 1/4" Blackfish

Children's Category - Fluke - Boys

Second Place
Jesse James Lockowitz (8 yrs. old)
Toms River, NJ
14 1/2" Fluke
First Place
Steven Senese, Jr. (9 yrs. old)
Rochelle Park, NJ
15 1/2" Fluke

Children's Category - Fluke - Girls

First Place
Jenny Stumpe (7 yrs. old)
East Stroudsburg, PA
17" Fluke

Teens Category - Fluke - Boys

Third Place
Rob Messina (15 yrs. old)
Howell, NJ
15 1/2" Fluke
Second Place
Tommy Stehn (15 yrs. old)
Aberdeen, NJ
16 1/4" Fluke
First Place
Ronald Butkiewicz (16 yrs. old)
Plainfield, NJ
16 3/4" Fluke
NOTE: Ronald's father is this year's winner of the Governor's Cup!

Adults Category - Fluke - Women

Third Place
Linda Cafone
Wall, NJ
14 11/16" Fluke
Second Place
Rosemarie Suellins
Hopelawn, NJ
14 12/16" Fluke
First Place
Kathy Lockowitz
Toms River, NJ
15 8/16" Fluke

Adults Category - Fluke - Men

Third Place
Tom Cocuran
Freehold, NJ
17" Fluke (caught at 7:30 a.m.)
Second Place
Michael Wilk
Bound Brook, NJ
17" Fluke (caught at 6:50 a.m.)
First Place
Eric Rocha
South River, NJ
18" Fluke
NOTE: In the event of a tie, time of catch was used to separate place winners.

Adults Category - Albacore - Men

First Place
Frank Caggiano
Beachwood, NJ
26 2/16" Albacore

Adults Category - Weakfish - Men

Second Place
Rick Batesko
Whiting, NJ
15" Weakfish
First Place
Steve Schon
Toms River, NJ
17" Weakfish

Children's Category - Bluefish - Girls

Second Place
Elizabeth Dugan (9 yrs. old)
Toms River, NJ
15 4/16" Bluefish
First Place
Gabrielle Grasso (5 yrs. old)
Nutley, NJ
15 8/16" Bluefish (also caught a 15 4/16" bluefish)

Children's Category - Bluefish - Boys

Third Place
Vincent DiMarco (6 yrs. old)
Jamesburg, NJ
17 12/16" Bluefish
Second Place
Danny Petrino (9 yrs. old)
Hamilton Square, NJ
18 8/16" Bluefish (caught at 9:20 a.m.)
First Place
Joshua Yusko (8 yrs. old)
Trenton, NJ
18 8/16" Bluefish (caught at 8:40 a.m.)
NOTE: In the event of a tie, time of catch was used to separate place winners.

Teens Category - Bluefish - Girls

First Place
Jennifer Wallach
Morrisville, PA
14" Bluefish

Teens Category - Bluefish - Boys

Second Place
Bill Kuryluk (15 yrs. old)
Bensalem, PA
17 6/16" Bluefish
First Place
Peter Meny (17 yrs. old)
Summit, NJ
19" Bluefish

Adults Category - Bluefish - Women

Third Place
Linda Cafone
Wall, NJ
15" Bluefish
Second Place
Karen Hershey
Island Heights, NJ
15 4/16" Bluefish
First Place
Francine Kaplan
Island Heights, NJ
16 4/16" Bluefish

Adults Category - Bluefish - Men

Third Place
Brian Updyke
Waretown, NJ
22 8/16" Bluefish
Second Place
Bill Trulby
Beachwood, NJ
30 5/16" Bluefish

First Place and Winner of the 1997 Governor's Cup

Ron Butkiewicz
Plainfield, NJ
34 4/16" Bluefish
NOTE: Ron's son won first place in the teen boy's category for fluke!
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