The 2022 Montauk Classic results are now in the book, or should I say the first annual Fred Golofaro Memorial Montauk Classic results are. This tournament has now been renamed in honor of the late senior editor of The Fisherman Magazine, Fred Golofaro. And rightfully so since the surf was a place that Fred tirelessly worked to help gain and hold access for surf anglers. Besides that, the classic was an event that Fred helped put together every year.
For the 2022 event, the date of the actual tournament was pushed back in hopes that we would see some better fishing. The trend in recent years has been summerlike conditions during the event and a lack of fish because the migration hadn’t even begun. Well, aside from the fact that the fishing conditions were subpar to say the least, the fishing itself was actually better in comparison to the 2021 results. During last year’s competition, the only category filled in at all was bluefish. Striper slot and striper release divisions remained empty due to a lack of stripers around during the event. This year I’m happy to say eight out of the possible nine slots were filled in. Only one bluefish spot was left vacant.
The conditions themselves were another big factor for the 2022 contest. By the time competition weekend came around, the remnants of hurricane Ian were approaching the shores of the island. Friday was the fairest day of them all but by the end of the day you could feel the effects of the storm in the air. By Saturday morning it was blowing a steady 25 mph from the northeast. On Sunday morning the fans turned on full blast and it was a steady 35 with gusts over 45.
Fish were picked away at through the entire duration of the event. Some of the larger fish were taken Friday night in the catch and release division. But it was the winning slot striper that was caught early Sunday morning before the final weigh in. That top slot went to a regular on the tournament surfcasting circuit, Brandon Sausele. His 13.90 pound slot striper took honors and a $750 check from the state. A close runner up caught that Sunday morning also was a 13.48-pounder caught by Gilbert Rulon. John Bruno, another regular on the board took third with a 10.58-pound striper. Honorable mention goes out to Mike Morgan with a 10.16-pound fish he weight in late on Saturday night to Paulie’s. In the bluefish division, All-Island Surfcaster’s club member Larry Pacifico chunked up an 8.14-pounder for first place and his check. Doug Polvent came in second with a 5.58-pound blue. In the catch and release witness striper division Ryan Rawleigh took first with his 41.5-incher. Montauk guide Bill Wetzel placed second with a 39-incher and Richard Fithian took third with a 36-inch striper.
Normally the ceremony has been held on the lawn in front of the concession stand but this year, due to the windy conditions, it was moved inside of the concession stand which is quite the comfortable place to grab a drink and some chowder while watching the wave action on the north side of the lighthouse.
I’d like to extend special thanks to the entire staff from State Parks and Paul and Nick from Paulie’s for coordination of the event, Lamiglas, Tsunami, Seaguar, Spro, Nomad, Savage, Fishbites and Gray FishTag for prize and raffle donations and all those who participated in the event. Also a big thanks goes out to members of the Golofaro family for coming down to the ceremony to show their support.