Held from October 22nd through the 24th, the Montauk Classic was handicapped by the passage of Hurricane Jose well offshore. The high surf resulted in limited beach access as Napeague and Hither Hills remained closed to 4x4s throughout the tournament. The drive-down at Montauk State Park was also closed to 4x4s but was reopened late Saturday morning, however space on the beach was extremely limited. That resulted in many anglers running their forays from the lighthouse parking lot. At times, finding a parking space in the lower lot was nearly impossible. Surprisingly, Gin Beach and Shagwong, despite Thursday and Friday’s howling winds out of northerly quarters managed to remain drivable.
Fishing was tough for most of the nearly 300 participants in this year’s contest. Stripers were hard to come by, and while blues did put in one or two decent showings along Shagwong on Friday and Saturday, the action was relatively short lived and did not repeat on consecutive tides. Still, a handful of decent fish helped settle the standings, with most of them caught Friday or early Saturday morning. German Ceceres took the top striper, a 28.12-pounder. Mike Coppola’s 22.14 pounder nailed down second place and Frank Mercurio’s 18.26 pounder held up for third place. The top blue was a 14.36 pounder beached by Tony Cristostomo. James Schneider followed with a 12.96 pounder and John Rieweris was right behind him with a 12.38 pound blue. Damian Toeman’s 38-inch striper (36-inch minimum) took the top spot in the Striped Bass Release category. Thanks to Paul, Ray and Sue for keeping the doors open throughout the weekend, which allowed participants to weigh fish at any point during the contest.
SOUTH SHORE CLASSIC
More than 300 casters worked the surf between Jones and Moriches inlets from October 13 through 15 during this year’s South Shore Classic, based out of Captree. Hosted by Long Island State Parks and The Fisherman, and sponsored by Captree Bait & Tackle, most participants found the fishing tough, while a small percentage managed to pick away at stripers and a handful of blues. Kudos to Brenden and his staff at Captree Bait & tackle who manned the scales and remained open 24/7 during the tournament.
Once again, striped bass release entries outnumbered the striped bass open category. Gerard Doyle took the release category with a 44-inch, 32-pound striper. Brett Ranier had a 42.5 incher and Joe Gallichio filled out the category with a 39 incher. In the open category, Richie V. took the top spot with a 28.5 pounder. Prachak Leelauva took second with a 27.60 pounder, and J.J. took third with a 22.80 pound bass. Bluefish were tough to come by. Ziggy Sokolowski took first with a 10.84-pound chopper. Phil Tubiolo placed second with a 10.5 pounder and Jorge Estrada took third with 7.56 pound blue.
Those who attended the awards ceremony at each of these events received assorted goodies from Spro, Fat Cow, Kastking, Otter Tail, Tsuanmi, VMC and Sea Striker. First through third place prizes and raffle prizes were provided by sponsors St. Croix, Lamiglas, AquaSkinz, Gear Up, Star Rods, Paulie’s Tackle and Captree Bait & Tackle. First place winners in the Striped Bass and Bluefish categories received a check for $750.
Long Island state Parks staff did a super job coordinating and providing staff for both events. Thanks to Tom Dess and his Montauk staff, and Tim Byrne and his Captree/Robert Moses staff for a super job. Also playing a big role was the recreational staff at regional headquarters. Thanks to AnnMarie Agostinello, Jessica Anderson, Jonathan Cruz and Kim Huhn, as well as Regional Director Wayne Horsley and Deputy Director George Gorman.