Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament is Sunday at Island Beach State Park

An angler in Island Beach State Park. (Jennifer Husar)

An angler in Island Beach State Park. (Jennifer Husar)

The Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament, a longstanding Jersey Shore tradition, is slated for Sunday at Island Beach State Park.

The tournament had long been an October staple but made a successful move to the spring in 2014. Now in its 27th year, the family-friendly tournament for all ages offers participants an excellent opportunity to engage in or learn more about the sport of surf fishing, according to a state Department of Environmental Protection release.

“The Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament is a wonderful family event that highlights the excellent saltwater fishing New Jersey has to offer,” Department of Environmental Protection Acting Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe said. “We look forward to a great day of fishing, fun and friendly competition that helps kick off the summer season at the Jersey Shore.”

The individual who catches the overall largest — or longest — fish wins the “Governor’s Award” and has his or her name engraved on the Governor’s Cup, which is permanently displayed at Island Beach State Park, according to the release.

In 2017, 16-year-old Kyle Brendel of Nutley won the award for catching a 34-inch bluefish.

A “High School Team” category was added last year to encourage youth who are part of a formal fishing club, members of a Hooked on Fishing-Not On Drugs group, or an informal group to try surf fishing.

The team that catches the longest fish will have its school name engraved on the High School Team Cup and receives a first-place plaque. Plaques will also be awarded to the second- and third-place winners.

Winners in a variety of species and age group categories will receive fishing equipment.

The tournament is sponsored by the state 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.

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, plus marine education and restoration projects.

For more information or to download a registration form, visit here.

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