The Beachcomber Fall Festival Guide

65th Annual LBI Surf Fishing Classic Begins Oct. 5

Thousands of Dollars in Prizes Available
By Juliet Kaszas-Hoch | Sep 27, 2019

Long Beach Island — Join the ranks of anglers targeting striped bass and bluefish from the shores of Long Beach Island as the 65th annual Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic kicks off Oct. 5. Registration is still open for the nine-week derby – one of the nation’s oldest and most storied surfcasting tournaments – which runs through Dec. 8, and offers thousands of dollars in prizes.

Adult entry is $30, and just $15 for kids 17 and younger. Registration includes a commemorative tournament hat and decal, as well as a coupon for a free slice of Panzone’s cheese pizza. Early registrants also get a tourney T-shirt, while supplies last. Free shirt cutoff is Oct. 5 or when the shirts run out – whichever comes first.

Proceeds from the tournament, organized by the LBI Surf Fishing Classic Committee in partnership with the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, go toward event prize distribution, with a portion benefiting local high school scholarships.

This year there are 65 $100 cash daily prizes for each species; nine weekly $150 cash prizes, also for each species; and $500 cash for each of the three-week segments, both for bass and bluefish. The grand prize winner in the striped bass division will receive $2,000 in cash and a Penn reel. The top bluefish of the tournament earns $1,000 cash and a Penn reel.

A number of junior, ladies, senior citizen and bonus prizes are also up for grabs, as well as many special prizes, including awards for the biggest striper caught on particular days throughout the competition. These “Bonus Days” are big-money days. All Bonus Days, and other additional information on prizes and rules, are noted on the website.

Beyond the many prizes, the Classic has been, since its inception in 1954, a showcase for the spirit and fellowship of the local surf fishing community.

Prior to the 2016 tournament, Pat Hoagland, a co-owner with her husband of Bruce and Pat’s Bait & Tackle in Surf City for 25 years, noted, “We always looked forward to the fall for the great striped bass and bluefish fishing. Rain or shine, nor’easter or whatever Mother Nature gave us, it was a great time of year. It was great for the shops, income, camaraderie of the fishermen/women/children, and good ol’ competition.”

Registration details are available at participating weigh stations – Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom, Surf City Bait and Tackle in Surf City and Jingles Bait and Tackle in North Beach Haven – or online at lbisfc.com.

Title sponsor for this year’s event is Ship Bottom Brewery. Gold level sponsors, in addition to the above tackle shops, are: Mancini Reality Co.; Bonanni Realtors; DiFeo’s Manahawkin Jeep, Chrysler, Ram, Dodge; Barlow Buick, GMC; Nexus Properties; Penn; Ben and Jerry’s; and Tsunami Awesome Tackle. Silver level sponsors are: G. Anderson Agency, The Engleside Inn, Bay Village, The Fisherman, Long Beach Island Fishing Club, Merchantville Fishing Club, Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, The SandPaper, Panzone’s, Woodie’s Drive-In and American Fishing Wire Hi-Seas.

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With the arrival of fall and the start of the Classic, it’s time to fine-tune fish-catching skills. Register now for the free Surf Fishing Seminar on Saturday, Oct. 5, in Ship Bottom.

Meet at 10 a.m. for coffee, doughnuts and door prizes at the Ship Bottom Firehouse, at 2006 Central Ave., and listen in as angling experts from Team Mullet share their knowledge of equipment, bait and tackle, driving a 4-by-4 vehicle on the beach and more.

Weather conditions permitting, the clinic continues on the 17th Street beach in Ship Bottom for hands-on instruction.

The seminar is supported by How You Brewin’? Coffee Co. Pre-registration is suggested but not required. Register online at lbisfc.com/lbi-surf-fishing-seminar.

— Juliet Kaszas-Hoch

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