Anglers of all levels seek the beauty and relaxed shores of Long Beach Island's ocean beaches, inlets, bay and jetties, which have been the proving grounds for hooking the biggest bluefish over the 32-inch minimum length and for the largest striped bass over 34 inches. This well respected and beloved eight-week tournament ushers in the fall season , as striped bass and bluefish are snapping up the bait fish that pop the surface. Fishermen and women from school age to octogenarians get caught up in the excitement of the tournament, with the possibility of earning daily prizes adding to the lure. The coveted Grand prize for the largest striped bass and largest bluefish entered in the tournament is $1,000 cash each. Many other segment, weekend, weekly and daily prizes are presented by tourney sponsors. Businesses, fishing clubs, tackle shops, and even tournament participants contribute cash and prizes. There are special categories for ladies, senior citizens and there are eight juvenile prizes--each a weekly $100 cash award for the largest striped bass. The 2011 tournament tallied 177 bluefish weigh-ins and 381 striped bass. Randy Matlack of Beach Haven, NJ took the top prize in the bluefish category with a 16.19 pound blue. Gary Nalor of Mt. Holly NJ weighed in the top striper, at 41.19 pounds.
The Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Tournament has generous sponsorship from AFW (American Fishing Wire), Hi-Seas line and The Fisherman magazine. Visit www.lbift.com for more information. Registrations are on sale at the four weigh-in stations: Fisherman’s Headquarters, 280 W. 9th St., Ship Bottom; Jingles’ Bait & Tackle Shop, 1214 Long Beach Blvd., Beach Haven; Surf City Bait and Tackle, 317 Long Beach Blvd., Surf City; Oceanside Bait & Tackle, 8201 Long Beach Blvd., Brighton Beach. Registration is $30 per entrant. The earliest registrants receive a 2012 Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic hat and decal, a coupon for a free exterior car wash presented by Manahawkin Magic Wash, and a coupon for a free slice of Panzone’s cheese pizza presented by Panzone’s Pizza, Surf City.
Are you new to Surf Fishing or just looking for some tips? Take part in the Free Surf Casting Seminar on Saturday, October 6: Meet at 9:00 a.m. at the Chamber of Commerce on 9th Street in Ship Bottom for door prizes, coffee, and bagels, then join us at the Ship Bottom Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1 Station on 21st Street and Central Avenue in Ship Bottom where members of Team Mullet, a local fishing club, will generously share their knowledge of surf fishing equipment, surf casting, bait, driving a 4x4 vehicle on the beach, and much more. Weather permitting; we will then proceed to the 9th Street Ship Bottom ocean beach for hands-on instruction. You may want to bring a folding chair for your comfort on the beach. There’s a special prize drawing at the conclusion of the seminar (you must be present to win).
Pre-registration is required for this free seminar. To register call the Chamber of Commerce at (609) 494-7211 or (800) 292-6372 or send an email to tournamentlbi@