A Friendly Competition: 2021 Interclub Tournament Recap - The Fisherman

A Friendly Competition: 2021 Interclub Tournament Recap

conditions
The competitors fish through an array of conditions to gather points for the interclub contest.

A summary of The Fisherman Magazine’s interclub tournament held on Long Island.

Every year The Fisherman Magazine hosts their season-long interclub competition that consists of the island’s fishing clubs with hundreds of anglers submitting fish. While there isn’t a prize of any monetary value awarded to the winners, the event does bring out some fierce competition among the clubs and individual anglers. In the end, the top anglers have well-deserved bragging rights and full acknowledgment as some of the hardest-working casters on the island.

Let’s start by digging into the stats of the contest. Overall standings are composed of the heaviest 10 fish for each eligible fish category the clubs put up each month. Eleven clubs participated in the 2021 contest, which is the same as the year before. Surprisingly in 2021, the total number of that clubs weighed in for final standings was significantly up from 2020, considering the same number of clubs. All clubs tallied a total of 14,842 points, while 2020 saw a total of 11,844 points from all clubs. On the other side of things, 110 anglers weighed in fish compared to 86 during 2020. I still think the 2,998 point gap between the two years is impressive. If we subtract the numbers from anglers 87 through 110, you’re still looking at a 2,661 point difference between the years. I broke it down even more by tallying up the individual species points for all three weighable species for all clubs in the contest. Keep in mind 1 point is equivalent to 1 pound. They are the following.

2021
Striped Bass – 9,451
Bluefish – 5,222
Weakfish –169

2020
Striped Bass – 8,796
Bluefish – 3,005
Weakfish – 43

All three categories are up a bit as you can see, which relates to the overall increase in points this year. An interesting observation is an increase in weakfish points. It almost quadrupled itself in 2021. This increase was a direct relation to the better weakfishing during the season. Will we see another overall rise in 2022?

Let’s move over to the largest fish in the striped bass and bluefish categories. Out of the top 10 fish in the striper category. Three of the fish were over 40 pounds, with the top spot going to Paul LaMonte, who chunked up a 44-pounder in October. The rest of the top 10 were 30-pound class fish. The average weight for the top 10 stripers was 36.80 pounds, while in 2020, the average for the top 10 was 33.9.

As for the clubs themselves, High Hill Striper Club took first with a total of 2,432 points, All-Island Surfcasters came in second with 2,210, and the North Fork Anglers came in a close third with 2,054 points. Both High Hill and All-Island were in the top 3 in 2020, while North Fork Anglers made an impressive leap from 9th in 2020 to 3rd in 2021. The “NY Release” category is made up of overall points, including those that did not make the top 10 for the month. The first, second, and third were in the same order as the previous three clubs mentioned.

Out-of-state points do not count towards the other totals. They stand in their own category and are made up of fish caught in other states, exactly how it reads (New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, etc.). The Striper Surf Club took first in that category with an impressive 566 points, North Fork anglers came in second with 228, and All-Island Surfcasters third with 154.

Of course, you’d expect the top three clubs to have some heavy-hitting casters, and once again, the stats don’t lie. The top three casters in this year’s contest each belonged to one of the top three placing clubs. Let’s get in the mindset of these casters to see how you can make your 2022 surfcasting season more successful. Here is a quick Q&A I conducted with the top three individuals…

dylan
Dylan Jewel from All-Island Surfcasters took the top spot in the 2021 contest with 1,339 total points—not an easy feat to achieve.

Dylan Jewel (1st Place)

Q: What was a key to your success?

A: “A few keys to success was fishing certain areas at certain times of the season when winds, moon, and tide were aligned. These patterns produced in years past and produced again for me. Also fishing with a small group of dedicated, great fishermen helped as well.”

Q: What was your most productive plug for the season?

A: “For me it’s split between a darter and a needlefish.”

Q: Which portion of the season was your most productive?

A: The late spring was a very productive time of the year for me.”

Q: What would you do differently going into the 2022 season?

A: “I wouldn’t change anything I did last season or the seasons before that. I’ve been coming away with great results.”

andrea
Runner-up, Andrea Caruana from North Fork Anglers ended the contest with 817 points and a 40-pounder that took second biggest striper spot.

Andrea Caruana (2nd Place)

Q: What was a key to your success?

A: “Waking up and hitting the right tide windows. Also being consistent, especially when not catching. Another key was thinking of new spots to try through the season and fishing them.”

Q: What was your most productive plug for the season?

A: “The number one plug I used for the season had to be a Super Strike Bottle Plug. It seemed to help in fishing heavy current areas and caught me a number of large fish.”

Q: Which portion of the season was your most productive?

A: The spring and beginning of the summer yielded the best results for me when targeting both stripers and bluefish.”

Q: What would you do differently going into the 2022 season?

A: “I wouldn’t do much different but I would keep my options open to the opportunities that may present themselves based on prior year’s patterns.”

llyod
Lloyd Kee from High Hill took the third slot in 2021 with 801 points. Lloyd has been a top placing angler for several seasons now.

Lloyd Kee (3rd Place)

Q: What was a key to your success?

A: “The key to my success was pretty much what I do every year. Target prime tides and fish hard around the new moon.”

Q: What was your most productive plug for the season?

A:  “I had 2 go to plugs this season. The 7-inch Joe Baggs Swarter and the Super Strike Needlefish accounted for the majority of my fish in 2021.”

Q: Which portion of the season was your most productive?

A: “The Fall was my most productive part of this season.”

Q: What would you do differently going into the 2022 season?

A: “Absolutely nothing.”

 

Was the surf fishing technically better in 2021 compared to 2020? According to the numbers, it sure seemed to be. Every fish category was up, with bluefish seeing the most significant increase. Maybe for some anglers, a particular portion of the season was down from the last, but the numbers did see a spike throughout the whole season. Those not seeing the results during a time of the year where they used to excel should try focusing on a different one. It’s no myth that patterns do change.

If you’re reading this and have not participated in the interclub competition before, please feel free to reach out to me at mbroderick@thefisherman.com for help. One of the requirements to competing is being a part of a fishing club on the island. Aside from competing, being in a club brings you closer to the surf fishing community and puts you alongside individuals who enjoy the sport as much as you do, where you can share similar ideas. It’s one of the ways I got my start some years ago.

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