A staple in Long Island surfcasting for many years, the South Shore Classic will once again be taking place from October 29 to 31 covering the water between Moriches Inlet and Jones Inlet. This year we will return to an in-person ceremony, instead of the drive-through setup from last year.
Sponsors for the tournament are the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, The Natural Heritage Trust, The Fisherman Magazine, and Captree Bait, Tackle & Fuel. Other prize contributors include Lamiglas, St. Croix, Spro, Savage Gear, and Tsunami.
Fishing begins at noon on Friday, and the last fish must be weighed in at noon on Sunday. Keep in mind that mail-in registration has ended, but you can still register in person before 9 a.m. on October 26 at Captree Bait, Tackle & Fuel. All participants must be registered prior to fishing in the tournament. Participants will receive an overnight parking/4WD vehicle access pass for the weekend of the tournament. Remember, those who enter the beachfront by vehicle must have a 4-wheel drive vehicle and obey all driving regulations.
There are some rules to keep in mind if you wish to participate: all fish must be hooked and landed from the beach, surf, jetty, bank, or pier within the legal boundaries of Jones Inlet to Moriches Inlet. All areas must also be accessible by foot or wading, so swimming to a spot is prohibited. Hold onto those official entry forms/parking permits too, because no replacements will be issued. For those who do end up weighing in fish, let it be known that you may only weigh in two fish per species for the tournament. Also, employees of the Long Island State Park Region, all sponsors, and corporate contributors are not eligible for competition. Consider yourselves lucky, because I was planning on winning this year! (Kidding).
The categories will be the same as last year’s tournament and the recent Montauk Classic. The weighable striped bass category will consist of the top three heaviest striped bass in the slot range (28 to 35 inches) weighed in at Captree Bait and Tackle, while bluefish will consist of the heaviest three weighed at the same location. For the catch and release striped bass category, another witness in the tournament must sign off on the verified length of the caught and released bass.
For prizes, first place weighable bass and bluefish will be checks from the state for $750. You will see a mix of tackle and rods donated by The Fisherman Magazine and Captree Bait and Tackle for second and third places. The catch and release category for stripers will also see a mix of tackle for the prizes.
Anyone can win this tournament. It’s not all about the heaviest overall bass anymore due to the slot. This makes winning more strategic than anything. Fishing should be red hot during the event, and the winners may employ tactics such as chunking, plugging, or eeling for their shot at victory. Don’t forget to focus on the spots you choose to fish thoroughly. Those can mean sand beaches, inlets, and back bays. All these locations have great potential to surrender the fish you need. Remember, this is a multi-day tournament, so if one spot isn’t producing, don’t be afraid to make a change. Keep an eye on tides, winds, and bait movements. You’re observations and research will pay off in the end.