For 22 years the annual Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament had been held on the first Sunday in October at Island Beach State Park. However, in 2014 the tournament was moved to the third Sunday in May. In 2018 the tournament will be held on Sunday, May 20.
A variety of species are eligible for entry in the tournament each year. Overall length determines the winner. All fish must meet minimum length tournament requirements. Tournament fishing hours are 6:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
The individual who catches the overall largest fish wins the "Governor's Award," and has his/her name engraved on the Governor's Cup, which is permanently displayed at the park. Fishing equipment is awarded to winners who catch the largest fish in each species category. Winners from the early entry drawing and the tournament must be present during the afternoon awards ceremony to claim their prizes or they will be forfeited.
Anglers planning to participate in the tournament should always register early: doing so entitles you to save on the adult registration fee, be eligible for special prizes and avoid delays when entering the park. The 2018 early entry incentive ends April 22, 2018. After this date, anglers are required to register at the tournament beginning at 5:00 a.m. at Pavilion #1.
Brochure and Registration Form (pdf, 350kb)
HIGH SCHOOL TEAM CATEGORY
The High School Team Category is for high school aged students, who are part of a formal fishing club, members of a Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs group, or a non-formal group.
The tournament entry fee is waived for student teams, and admission to the park is free for registrants. For more information see the flyer linked below.
The school team category is supported by the following organizations:
The Reel Seat
Fish Hawks Saltwater Anglers Club
Shark River Surf Anglers
Hooked on Fishing - Not on Drugs New Jersey
All tournament anglers need to complete the NJ Saltwater Recreational Registry prior to the event.
Questions can be directed to 609-748-4347.
PAST TOURNAMENT INFORMATION
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 New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, Jersey Coast Anglers Association, and the New Jersey Beach Buggy Association.