65th Annual LBI Surf Fishing Classic Begins This Saturday, Oct. 5

Free Surf Fishing Seminar Also on Saturday in Ship Bottom
By Juliet Kaszas-Hoch | Sep 30, 2019
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

Long Beach Island — Join the ranks of anglers targeting striped bass and bluefish from the shores of Long Beach Island as the 65th annual LBI Surf Fishing Classic commences this Saturday, 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 $15 for kids 17 and under. 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.

And, as tourney committee member Ted Kamish pointed out, “New for this year, on sale while supplies last at all three official sign-up and weigh-in stations – Fisherman’s Headquarters, Jingles Bait & Tackle and Surf City Bait & Tackle – are some super sweet commemorative long sleeved T-shirts and hoodies.”

Kamish encourages Islanders to look for the Classic banners – teal this year – “being proudly displayed by our sponsors, and patronize the establishments that support this tradition.

“Sign up, dress up and catch ‘em up!”

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. 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, 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 the participating weigh stations – Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom, Surf City Bait & Tackle and Jingle’s Bait & Tackle in 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 & 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 and listen in as angling experts from Team Mullet share their knowledge of equipment, bait and tackle, driving a 4x4 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’?.

Preregistration is suggested but not required. Register online at lbisfc.com/lbi-surf-fishing-seminar.  —J.K.-H.

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