27th Annual Governorís Surf Fishing Tournament
Sunday May 20, 2018

by Tom Fote
(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association May 2018 Newsletter)

The 27th Annual Governorís Surf Fishing Tournament (GSFT) will take place in Island Beach State Park (IBSP), NJ on May 20, 2018. This event is one of the most popular surf fishing contests for the individual angler on the east coast. It is sponsored by Jersey Coast Anglers Association, New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmenís Clubs, NJ Beach Buggy Association, NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife, NJ Division of Parks and NJDEP.

This yearís GSFT will be the fifth to be held in the spring. The 2017 event in May proved to be a success with more fish caught by the contestants. The most important part in planning this tournament is always to provide the most enjoyable day of surf fishing possible for the participating anglers.

Anglers on the beach catch a variety of species which are eligible for entry in the tournament each year. Overall length determines the winner. All fish must meet minimum length tournament requirements.

The individual who catches the overall largest fish wins the "Governor's Award," and has his/her name engraved on the Governor's Cup, which is permanently displayed at the park. Fishing equipment is awarded to winners who catch the largest fish in each species category. Winners from the early entry drawing and the tournament must be present during the afternoon awards ceremony to claim their prizes or they will be forfeited.

27th Annual Governorís Surf Fishing Tournament

Brochure and Registration Form and past tournament winners are available at this link and the direct link for the Brochure is at this link. Anglers planning to participate in the tournament should always register early: doing so entitles you to save $5 on the adult registration fee, be eligible for special prizes and avoid delays when entering the park. The early entry incentive ends April 22, 2018. After this date, anglers will be required to register at the tournament.

Note: Tournament anglers need to complete the NJ Saltwater Recreational Registry prior to the event.

Early Registration
Early registration must be postmarked by April 22, 2018. Here are entry fees for early registrants:

Day of Tournament Registration
Registration opens at 5 am on Sunday at Pavilion #1.

Note: Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult and are still required to register.

Schedule 6:30 am - 1 pm Fishing 1:30 pm - 2 pm Raffle Drawing 2:00 pm Awards Ceremony

Special arrangements are available for handicapped anglers. Balloon tire equipped beach wheelchairs are available for anglers with disabilities. Volunteers will be needed to assist anglers with special needs who fish on tournament day. To volunteer, or to make arrangements for a handicapped angler, please contact Greg Kucharewski at gkucharews@aol.com.

We need your help, so please sign up to be a judge in the tournament. Each judge will receive a special issue Governorís Cup Surf Fishing Tournament judgeís hat. In addition, a stipend is available to help offset the cost of fuel burned while judging on the beach. Also, the IBSP beach pass is not required for judgeís 4x4 vehicles during the hours of the tournament.

Tournament t-shirts and hats will be available for sale inside the pavilion area after 10:00 am on tournament day.

There will be a raffle drawing for registered anglers in the tournament. Participants in the drawing must be present at the award ceremonies to qualify to win.

The GSFT Committee and several other organizations have donated funds to provide IBSP with 15 new beach accessible wheel chairs to replace the well-worn units that have been in use at IBSP. These chairs will be on display at the Pavilion at OBA#1 during the day of the tournament. More information on this program will appear in the tournament follow-up article in an upcoming JCAA Newsletter.

If you are interested in details of wheelchair use at the park, please contact the Island Beach State Park office at (732) 793-0506.

We hope you are planning to fish in the GSFT this year. If not, why not volunteer to help on the day of the tournament. Help is always needed at the registration desk, with sales of tournament hats and t-shirts, assisting anglers with special needs, and judging.

Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Early Entry incentive: If postmarked by April 22, 2018 you will save on adult registration fee and be eligible for a drawing for the Coastline Surf System. For more information on the drawing visit their website. Avoid delays! Pre-registration allows you to go directly to the beach.

The Governor has been invited to present the prizes during the awards ceremony. The individual catching the largest fish will receive the ďGovernorís Trophy,Ē high end rod and reel combo, and have their name engraved on the Governorís Cup which is permanently displayed at Island Beach State Park. There will be prizes broken down by fish categories for adults and children.

Disabled anglers at GSFT
Disabled anglers enjoyed a day on the beach during the Governorís Surf Fishing Tournament.

For more information about the tournament rules and eligible fish prize categories visit the NJ Fish and Wildlife website or call (609) 748-4347.

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