The Ocean City Fishing Club’s three-day 100th
Anniversary Surf Fishing Tournament ended Saturday, Oct. 19, with the
awarding of nearly $20,000 in prize money to winning teams at a banquet in the Ocean City Sports and
Top prize of $5,500 went to the New Jersey Beach Buggy Association with a total score of 81.25 points for 40 fish.
In second place was the New Jersey Squid Hounds’ “B” team that collected 62.25 points. The Over The Bar team placed third with 38.25 points.
Based in Ocean City, Maryland, the Reel Women team won a $1,000 prize for placing first among three women’s teams in the tournament. Their total score was 30.25 points.
The tournament was governed by the rules of the Association of Surf Angling Clubs (ASAC), which oversees all surf fishing tournaments in New Jersey. ASAC scoring is done by measuring the length of qualified fish and counting one point per inch.
In all, 46 six-person teams were registered to compete in the first-ever three day tournament hosted by the Ocean City Fishing Club to celebrate the Centennial of its founding in 1913.
During the event, beach buggies and four-wheel drive vehicles festooned with surf rods and coolers were nestled along miles of Ocean City beaches.
Club President Paul Keuerleber thanked the tournament participants. He also had high praise for many club members who worked on the tournament a success and for cooperation from the Ocean City administration and Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce. “The City and the Chamber were 100 percent behind this effort,” he said.
Although the event was limited to teams, individual members received plaques at the banquet. Rod Melvin, of Marlton, had never fished in a tournament before recently becoming a member of the New Jersey Squid Hounds. His inexperience with the genre didn’t prevent him from reeling in a 24-inch red drum on a hook baited with bloodworm and earning him an award for Largest Overall Fish.
The largest bluefish in the men’s division, 17.75 inches, was caught by Michael Shipton, of Absecon, fishing with the Zatara team. Keith Lehman, of Hatboro, PA, and the Delaware Valley Surf Anglers, caught the largest kingfish, 12.75 inches. His counterpart was Reel Women team member Kelsey Cycyk, of Wilmington, DE, whose catch measured 12.25 inches. George Foreman, of Turnersville and the Fishlanders team, had the largest weakfish, at 13.24 inches.
The event began with an informal casting tournament and demonstration that took place Thursday morning, October 17, on the 17th Street beach, where some 20 anglers from the teams vied for bragging rights as the longest caster. With a 500-foot throw, Rod Smith, of Philadelphia, a member of Team CTS, won a fishing reel from Penn Reels.
On the following day there were morning and afternoon fishing sessions as well as an evening tackle show that drew hundreds of people. Two more fishing sessions were held on Saturday. Cash prizes of $1,000 each were also awarded to teams that had the most points in each of the four sessions. Two were won by the New Jersey Beach Buggy Association. The others were Over The Bar and Team Rip Tide.— George Ingram