Governor’s Surf Fishing tournament today at Island Beach State Park

     (Photo: NJDEP)

    (Photo: NJDEP)

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

    Now in its 24th year, the family-friendly tournament for all ages, which had long been an October staple but made a successful move to the spring last year, 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.

    “We saw a renewed enthusiasm for the Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament last spring and registration numbers for this year’s competition are up,” DEP Commissioner Martin said. “We look forward to a great day for anglers and families from New Jersey and neighboring states as we kick off the summer tourism season on our beautiful beaches.”

    The individual who catches the overall largest – or longest – fish will win 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, according to the release.

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

    Recent fishing has been hot at the state park, said Tim Burden, president of the New Jersey Beach Buggy Association.

    “If the bluefish bonanza we have seen recently continues this weekend, we’re going to have an extraordinary tournament,” Burden said. “We have seen a few monster sized blues that are bigger than last year’s winning fish, which means we could have a new Governor’s Cup Tournament bluefish being recorded.”

    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.

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

    IF YOU GO:

    The registration fee is $20 for ages 18 and up. The registration fee for ages 13-17 is $5 and free for ages 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, plus marine education and restoration projects.
    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 nj.gov/dep/saltwaterregistry and follow the instructions on the page.

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