I’m happy to say that the 2021 South Shore Classic was a success! While no bluefish were weighed in, all the slot bass spots were filled, and all the catch and release bass slots were filled as well. This brings me to the point that if you happen to catch a bluefish of at least 5 pounds during the competition, please don’t hesitate to weigh it in, I received word that someone with a smaller-sized qualifying blue didn’t weigh the fish in. It could have been an easy $750 payday.
I want to give special thanks to all the participating sponsors and help for the event. The Classic wouldn’t be possible without State Parks, Jessica with her extraordinary email correspondences, the parks crew, Brenden and his crew along with Captree Bait & Tackle, Lamiglas, St. Croix, and Spro for generous prize donations and all the other individuals who helped at the ceremony.
The fishing itself started off tough due to the conditions. I went down to Captree early on Friday to drop off books for the tournament, and I have to say the word ‘windy’ was an understatement. The anglers who participated were committed to winning, and in the short time I spent chatting with the crew, the first weigh-in came through the door during that brutal wind.
While that first Friday was fishable, it was Saturday where most of the damage to the leaderboard was done. The day had just the right amount of wind and cloud cover to make for some very fishy conditions. I found a couple of hours during the day to head to the backside of Demo and take some casts with a few good friends. In no time, I landed a couple of fish up to slot size on bucktails. This was an excellent sign for the night fishing to come between that and recent reports of the party, charter, and private boats doing exceptionally well in the bay and Ocean around the Fire Island Inlet.
The leaderboard the next day proved this thought to be true. As I mentioned already, all striper slots were filled in by Sunday morning with some impressive fish. The winners are the following for the striped bass slot category (28 to 35 inches); Henry Monteagudo took first with a 15.44-pound striper, Andrew Biscardi took second with a 15.38-pounder, and Ruben Fournier placed third with a 12.70-pound fish. In the catch and release witnessed division Frank Umbrino took first with an impressive 49-inch striped bass, Darwin Lopez placed second with a 46-inch fish, and Bob Danielson took the third slot with a fish taped out at 41 inches.
This year has not been an easy one, between COVID and the tremendous loss of Fred Golofaro in the fishing community. For those of you who don’t know, Fred is the one who started these fun surf fishing tournaments that happen every year here on Long Island. I see it as a tradition in a way. Passionate anglers look forward to these events every year—between the friendly competition and seeing familiar faces. These were events that Fred loved and looked forward to himself. And while slowly learning the tremendous amount of time Fred put into running these events the right way from doing them myself, it makes me appreciate even more what he did for the fishing community for his many years involved in it.
These are things I plan to keep around for many years to come. I personally feel the same way Fred did about them. It brings us together as a community through tradition and passion. With that being said, I look forward to seeing you all at the 2022 Fred Golofaro South Shore Classic.