Thursday, May 15, 2014
Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament Sunday May 18 at Island Beach State Park
Island Beach State Park will host the 23rd annual Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament this Sunday, May 18, marking the first time in the competition’s storied history that it will be held in the spring, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin announced.
“We look forward to having anglers from New Jersey and neighboring states come to our beautiful beaches at Island Beach State Park, which has fully recovered from the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy,” Commissioner Martin said. “We welcome anglers of all ages and experience to enjoy a great day of fishing with family and friends, and help kick off the start of the summer season at the Jersey Shore.”
The annual Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament, which has long been an October staple, was moved to May this year to get a jumpstart on the summer tourism season and to allow for increased participation in the event.
“We’re anticipating some improved surf fishing opportunities and a bigger pool of anglers, including many families and youths, which should make for a lot of fun on Sunday,’’ said the DEP’s Director of Fish and Wildlife Dave Chanda. “Anglers will have an opportunity to land some striped bass and bluefish and be recognized for their fishing prowess.”
The individual who catches the overall largest fish wins the "Governor's Award" and will have his or her name engraved on the Governor's Cup, which is permanently displayed at Island Beach State Park. Fishing equipment is also awarded to winners in a variety of species and age group categories.
The registration fee on the day of the tournament is $20 for ages 18 and older and $5 for ages 13-17. There is no fee for children 12 and under.
All funds raised by the tournament go toward a variety of good causes, including the purchase of specialized wheelchairs that provide the disabled and elderly beach access, construction of access ramps for disabled saltwater anglers, surf fishing instruction programs and equipment, and marine education and restoration projects.
“Everything is coming together at the right time for a really enjoyable tournament on Sunday,’’ said Paul Smith, a member of the Tournament Committee representing the Jersey Coast Anglers Association. “ The weather is getting warmer and Island Beach surf anglers are now catching some good size striped bass, large bluefish, and even some weakfish. It should be a great opportunity on Sunday for some early season fishing action.
“Moving the Tournament to May is already paying off, with pre-tournament registration up over last year by almost twenty-five percent,’’ said Tim Burden, president of the New Jersey Beach Buggy Association. “Since this Sunday's weather forecast looks promising and the recent fishing reports are really good, I anticipate we'll have even more fishermen and families lined up at the registration area on Sunday morning than we've seen in a number of years.
“They are in for a treat,’’ added Burden. “Fishing in the spring at Island Beach State Park can be really exciting because the fishing can blow wide open on any given day and at any moment. During this time of year, opportunities abound throughout IBSP to catch more fish.’’
The New Jersey Beach Buggy Association is one of the tournament sponsors. Their members volunteer to be judges and drive their vehicles along designated areas of the beach to measure and score fish as outlined in the tournament rules.
The Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament is sponsored by the DEP’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.
For more information about the Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament visit www.njfishandwildlife.com/gsft.htm
Tournament anglers may be asked to verify their compliance with the NJ Saltwater Recreational Registry Program. If not already registered for 2014 please do so before hitting the beach the day of the tournament. Registration is quick, easy and free. Anglers simply need to log on to www.nj.gov/dep/saltwaterregistry/ and follow the instructions on the page.