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Nearly 300 casters descended on Montauk last weekend in search of a winning striper or bluefish.

By Fred Golofaro  |  September 24, 2018
Terry Marburger, Frank Mercurio, George Lang and Jordon Roberto in the winners’ circle. Missing are Gerard Doyle and Nick Antonelli.

This year’s installment of the Montauk Surf Fishing Classic hosted by Long Island State Parks and The Fisherman drew nearly 300 casters to the point this past weekend. While there was no shortage of small stripers for some of the participants, finding qualifying stripers and blues between noon Friday and noon Sunday was a chore for everyone involved. The weather was a non-factor and the rips produced good numbers of bass in the 20 to 40-pound range, along with some big blues, but those fish never made it into the surf despite a heavy presence of baitfish. Still, there were enough qualifying fish (bass had to be 36 inches and bluefish 5 pounds) to settle the top three places in each category. There were no qualifying entries in the striped bass release division for the first time since its inception.

One exceptional striper did make it to the scale. Terry Marburger beached a 39.96-pound cow Friday night at Shagwong on a Super Strike Darter to take the top spot. It was followed by a 22.54-pound bass beached on the sand beach near town by George Lang. George took his fish on his favorite plug, a Yo-Zuri Hydro Minnow. In third place was Nick Antonelli with a 17.28 pounder. Despite the outer rips at the point being well populated with big blues, the best contest participants could do was 7.24 pounder beached by Frank Mercurio. Second place went to Gerard Doyle for a 6.82 pound blue, while Jordon Ruberto closed out the scoring with a 6.02 pounder. Kudos to Paul and Ray at Paulie’s Tackle shop for keeping the doors open throughout the 48 hours of the tournament and serving as the tournament entry and weigh station.

Everyone attending Sunday’s awards ceremony at the point received a goody bag containing product from Tsunami, Al Gags Lures, Fat Cow and Braid Aid. Winners were awarded top of the line rods from St. Croix and Century, and reels from Okuma. First place bass and bluefish winners earned $750 each for their efforts. Many of those in attendance at the awards ceremony went home with additional goodies courtesy of a free raffle consisting of prizes donated by Paulie’s Tackle shop and West Marine in West Islip. Long Island State Parks recreation department did a great job handling pre-registration, while Tom Dess’ Montauk staff did an excellent job setting up for the awards ceremony, checking in attendees and distributing goody bags.

Next on tap is the South Shore Classic running from October 12 to 14, followed by the Babylon Autumn Surf Fishing Cup, sponsored by Town of Babylon and hosted by Paumonak Surfcasters and the Long Island Beach Buggy Association (LIBBA) from October 26 to 28.