The 27th Annual Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament was held May 20 at Island Beach State Park. Participants were greeted with sunny skies after a week of rainy days. 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. Fishing was on the lighter side, but several species were caught, including three black drum this year! After the week of rain, everyone was happy to spend a sunny day fishing with family and friends at the beach.
This was the second year the Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament was open to high school teams with their own team category. Fifty high schoolers from six 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 The Fisherman magazinedonated funds to purchase first, second and third place plaques for the winning high school teams.
DEP Acting Commissioner Catherine McCabe, Assistant Commissioner Ray Bukowski and Division of Fish and Wildlife Director Larry Herrighty came early to the tournament to enjoy fishing alongside tournament participants. After fishing had ended, Acting Commissioner McCabe and Director Herrighty assisted with the awards ceremony. Keri Mauger of Mohnton, PA, took the grand prize and NJ Governor's Cup by catching a 36" bluefish.
Ms. Mauger received two rod and reel combinations, a pair of Costa Del Mar sunglasses; a plaque; and will have her 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 was presented with the high school team category cup for taking first place with a 35 1/2" bluefish. Their name will be engraved on the high school team cup and the team will receive a plaque.
Everyone who registered for the tournament was entered in the raffle drawing with prizes donated from the following organizations: American Angler, Jersey Shore Surfcasters, JT Brooks, NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife's Hooked on Fishing - Not on Drugs Program, and Legal Limits Company. 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, 15 anglers received rod and reel combinations for their prize-winning fish in the bluefish, striped bass and black drum 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 $135,000 has been raised since the inception of the tournament for conservation and education projects and improved beach access.
Winners of the 2018 Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament are:
Black Drum Category
First Place: Dylan Pelle, Little Falls, NJ - 23"
Second Place: Shane Stimon, Hamilton, NJ - 20 4/8"
First Place: Vincent Dimarco, Delran, NJ - 23 4/8"
First Place: Anthony Pedone, Toms River, NJ - 30 1/8"
Second Place: Eric Mayers, Cranbury, NJ - 29"
Third Place: Aiden "AJ" Elmore, Galloway, NJ - 28 4/8"
First Place: Dan Damato, Forked River, NJ - 35 4/8"
Second Place: Bob Shoremount, Oxford, NJ - 34 6/8"
Third Place: Al DiMartino, Clifton, NJ - 34 4/8"
First Place: Keri Mauger, Mohnton, PA - 36"
Second Place: Juanita Ormazabal, Cockeysville, MD - 31"
Third Place: Pam McGee, Newton, NJ - 25" (time caught 8:57am)
Striped Bass Category
First Place: Alyssa Dimarco, Delran, NJ - 29 6/8"
First Place: Gary Grimm, Chester, NJ - 33 2/8"
Second Place: Ralph Amato, Toms River, NJ - 31 4/8"
Third Place: Bobby Barranger, Forked River, NJ - 31"
High School Team
First Place: Toms River High School South - 35 4/8" Bluefish
Second Place: Toms River High School North - 30 1/8" Bluefish
Third Place: Delaware Valley Regional H.S. - 23 1/8" Bluefish