The 59th Annual Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic is set to begin on Monday, October 7th - the long-running surfcasters only event kicks off 5 days earlier this year, coinciding with a special 'sold out' benefit concert at the Sea Shell Resort the prior night featuring acclaimed rocker Mickey "Dean Ween" Melchiondo, along with the Billy Walton Band and others.
The 2013 "LBI Classic" runs all the way through Sunday, December 1, and registration in the event includes a commemorative pin, along with a 2013 LBI Surf Fishing Classic hat and decal (while supplies last) and a free slice of Panzone's pizza.
As a special memorial prize to the late Frank Panzone, a $1,000 cash prize is being offered to the registered "LBI Classic" angler who enters biggest striped bass of the day on Wednesday, October 16th -Frank's birthday! Though daily prizes will be awarded for entire 56-day tournament, the $1,000 cash prize for biggest striper caught and weighed in on October 16 is sure to create a mad rush to the beach during week two.
The eight-week tournament boasts thousands of dollars in other daily, weekly and grand prizes, with $1,000 cash to the angler who beaches the largest striped bass of the contest and $1,000 for the top bluefish. There are eight $125 weekly cash prizes for each species, along with $400 prizes for each of three tournament segments, not to mention various daily prizes. There are various juvenile prizes (14 and under), ladies' prizes, seniors' prizes, along with special daily door prizes just for entering the tournament.
RFA managing director Jim Hutchinson, Jr. is on the LBI Surf Fishing Classic organizing committee and said what was started in 1954 as 'The Derby' to build camaraderie amongst local surfcasters has also helped to extend the Jersey Shore tourism season. "Superstorm Sandy did some heavy damage in LBI in 2012, but this tournament provides a great opportunity for anglers to respond, getting back to the beach for the fall run and supporting the local community."
"The classic has been our family's passion for the fall run since the early 1960's when my grandfather first tossed his hat in the ring and signed up," said fellow LBI Surf Fishing Classic committee member Greg O'Connell, a representative of both RFA-NJ chapter and the Merchantville Fishing Club. "In 2013 I'm sure he's looking down proud that three generations of O'Connell's are looking forward to hitting the sand and carrying on the tradition he started, a tradition that many other families, both local and non-local, share in as well."
The adult tournament entry remains just $30, but as a special incentive to getting more of the local youth involved in fishing, the Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic committee voted to reduce the price for kids 17 and under to just $15. "RFA members and their families have good chances to win during the eight-week tournament, and if you combine it with a $20 Beach N Boat entry too you could really qualify for a big payday with the right fish," Hutchinson said.
The season-long Jersey Shore Beach N Boat Fishing Tournament runs through November 30, and tournament entries in both contests is allowed. Currently, the top five stripers on the Jersey Shore Beach N Boat Fishing Tournament are in the 40- to 46-pound range for stripers, and from 15 to 19 pounds for bluefish.
Tournament registration and weigh-in for both the LBI Surf Fishing Classic and the Jersey Shore Beach N Boat Fishing Tournament can be done at Surf City Bait & Tackle in Surf City, Fisherman's Headquarters in Ship Bottom, Captain's Quarters Bait and Tackle in Brighton Beach, and Jingle's Bait and Tackle in Beach Haven.
Title sponsors of the 59th Annual Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic also include AFW/Hi-Seas fishing line and The Fisherman Magazine.
For more information, go to www.lbift.com or www.beachnboat.com.