Pascack Hills High Wins NJ Governor’s Cup Tournament On May 19 - The Fisherman

Pascack Hills High Wins NJ Governor’s Cup Tournament On May 19

The 33rd Annual Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament was held May 19th at Island Beach State Park, and for the seventh year the event was open to high school teams with their own category. Eight schools registered to compete with Pascack Hills High School taking first place with a 33-1/2-inch bluefish. Pascack Hills High School will receive a first-place plaque and have their school’s name engraved on the High School Team Trophy, which is on display at Island Beach State Park.

Second, third, and fourth place plaques will also be given to those schools with the next biggest entries; Toms River High School South nabbed second with a 31-inch bluefish, Manasquan High School took third with a 22-6/8-inch summer flounder, while the Pingry School finished in fourth with a 16-4/8-inch summer flounder.

According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Celebrity Ford provided transportation for disabled veteran anglers to fish the Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament. New this year was a Military Veteran’s Category with a rod and reel combination for the veteran who landed the overall largest tournament-eligible and legal-sized fish. Brad Rodgers of Perkesy, PA won with a 32-3/4-inch bluefish.

While New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy continued bucking tradition by not attending the Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament, Assistant Commissioner of NJDEP Division of Fish & Wildlife, Dave Golden, was there to congratulate tournament winners while assisting with the awards ceremony. Jonathan Dziekan of Bayonne was the Governor’s Cup winner with a 36-3/4-inch black drum which was good for a SaltX Reel donated by Tsunami and a 10-1/2-foot Sandstorm rod donated by Grumpys Tackle. Dziekan will also receive a plaque and have his name engraved on the Governor’s Cup, which is permanently on display at Island Beach State Park. In addition to the grand prize, 15 anglers received rod and reel combinations for their prize-winning fish in the summer flounder, bluefish, black drum and striped bass categories.

In the summer flounder category, first place in the teen male division went to Avery Kerber of Manasquan High School (22-6/8 inches) followed by Ian Nortillo of Pingry High School (16-4/8 inches).  Top fluke for adult males was caught by Jim Bielski of Forked River with (20 inches) followed by Drew Mastrorilli of Wappingers Falls, NY (18-3/8 inches).

In the bluefish category the first place finisher in the teen male division was William Izzo of Montvale (33-4/8 inches), followed by Christian Stich of Toms River (31 inches) in second and Austin Reed of Toms River (30-4/8 inches) in third.  Leading the way in the adult female division was Toms River’s Heather Goldner (33 inches), followed by Southampton’s Sharon Otto (24) who broke a tie for second with Newton’s Pam McGee (24 inches) based on time of catch.  For adult males it was David Koenigstein of Toms River (34-3/8 inches) in first, followed by Howard Hatzmann of Wappingers Falls, NY (34 inches) in second, and Christopher Keefer of Montague (33-4/8 inches) finishing third.

The top adult male striped bass was hooked by Lanoka Harbor’s John Perrine (30 inches), while the black drum adult male winner was Westfield’s Jonathan Bonanno (23-4/8 inches).

The event was sponsored by the NJDEP’s Division Fish & Wildlife and State Park Service, the New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, the Jersey Coast Anglers Association, and the NJ Beach Buggy Association, with early entry raffle prizes donated by Charlies Bait & Tackle, Gabriel Tackle, The Reel Seat, Creekside Outfitters, Tak Waterman, Fisherman’s Source, and Fisherman’s Flea Market Bait & Tackle.



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