The 23rd Annual Delaware Seashore Fall Surf Fishing Classic was held in late September with headquarters at Old Inlet Bait and Tackle in Delaware. There were 314 anglers in this year’s contest, including 44 ladies and 17 kids.
After two days of fishing, local angler Darren Purcell, whose family owns Lloyd’s Market in Lewes, was in first place scoring 110 points. He won $800 and a beautiful bronze statue. Scott Aiken, Jr. came in second with 109 points. Scott is the grandson of legendary long-distance surfcaster and Georgetown resident Harry Aiken. Scott won $600 and another beautiful bronze statue. Coming in third was Gary Born. Gary is from New Jersey, but fishes surf tournaments in Delaware and other locations, usually with great success. He scored 108 points and won $400 and a bronze statue.
To the best of my knowledge, this is the closest surf fishing tournament in history. Only three points separated the top three places after two days of fishing.
Harry Newman was in fourth with 102 points winning $200 and an Okuma Surf rod and reel. In fifth place was Michael Born with 99 points. He won a Reynolds Surf Fishing Rack for the front of his surf fishing vehicle.
First place in the Ladies Division went to Gretchen Loose, who scored 28 points. She won $200 and the Nicole Born Memorial Trophy and a custom surf rod presented by Gary Born in honor of his daughter. Second place was won by Deb Weichardt with 25 points. She won $100 plus a trophy and a rod and reel. Third place was a three-way tie between Jamey Murray, Monica Bayless and Lynn Downs. They each won $15.
In the Kid’s Division, first place was a tie between Austin Matthews and Logan Wierzbicki. Each scored 15 points and they won a trophy and a surf rod and reel. Jaden Rivera came in second with 12 points and won a rod and reel and a trophy while Jake Blevins was third with 12 points and also won and trophy and a surf rod and reel. Tie was broken by largest fish.
The big money was in the largest bluefish and largest fish Calcuttas. Harvey Atkins took the $1,000 prize for the largest fish of the tournament with a 17-inch trout. Mike Hollinger had the largest bluefish, a 16-incher and walked away with $2,800. James Swatski won $250 for the Great Anglers Picture Posting Contest.
Most of the scoring fish were kings and blues plus a couple of trout and a croaker. Lots of short striped bass, summer flounder, black drum and pompano were also caught. – Eric Burnley