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A Long Beach Island tradition since 1954, the LBI Surf Fishing Classic (known locally as the "Derby") kicks off October 7 and runs nine weeks in 2017 to take advantage of a longer sustained run of coastal stripers and blues.
By Jim Hutchinson, Jr.  |  October 2, 2017
Brian Schmidt shows off his 37.1-pound tournament winning striper caught in the Ship Bottom surf on October 27, 2016 while plugging before dawn. The 45-inch fish was weighed at Fisherman's Headquarters and held up as top striper in the 2016 LBI Surf Fishing Classic.

The 63rd Annual Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic will kick off on Saturday, October 7. Traditionally an eight-week contest, the four-segment format has been changed to nine weeks and three-segments, with the grand prize for the largest striped bass doubled to $2,000 (and a PENN reel), with $500 going to each segment winner. The grand prize for bluefish remains $1,000 and a PENN reel, but each segment winner gets $500, which is an increase over last season.

The LBI Surf Fishing Classic will get underway at 5 a.m. on Saturday, with a free “Super Surf Casting Seminar” to be held from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Ship Bottom Volunteer Fire Company at 21st Street and Central Avenue with members of Team Mullet Fishing Club sharing their knowledge of equipment, casting, bait, driving a 4x4 vehicle on the beach, and much more. Weather permitting, a hands-on instruction will follow on the beach nearby, and various prizes will be awarded at the firehouse including complementary copies of the October edition of The Fisherman and line items from AFW/HI-SEAS. Call the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce this week to register for the seminar (609-494-7211.)

On the tournament schedule, a variety of special daily cash awards will be awarded to top striper of the day; that kicks off on October 8 with a $500 award for the largest striped bass. If no fish is weighed in before the day is out, the cash prize will roll over to subsequent days. Other special cash prizes will be given to the top bass of October 12 ($250), October 19 ($250), October 31 ($500), November 5 ($500) November 16 ($500), and November 23 ($250).

“The tournament committee has revamped the format and the prizes with an eye toward more weigh-ins, more winners and more time spent on the beach,” said committee member Steve Warren who said daily prizes have also been changed to provide bigger incentives to score. “In the past, an angler could only win a daily first or second once for each category, and the prizes were $35 for first and $25 for second. This year, the tournament has increased the daily first to $100 for striped bass and $50 for bluefish, and participants are eligible to win once every week. The second place prizes have been eliminated,” Warren noted. There are also senior, junior and ladies prizes, weekly prizes, weekend prizes, and a number of bonus-prize days.

Tournament registration is already underway at participating weigh stations including Surf City Bait & Tackle in Surf City, Fisherman’s Headquarters in Ship Bottom, Captain’s Quarters Bait and Tackle in Brighton Beach, and Jingle’s Bait and Tackle in Beach Haven. Early signups will get a commemorative “Derby” hat with numbered badge, along with a free slice of Panzone’s pizza.

Sponsors of the 63rd Annual Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic include AFW/Hi-Seas fishing line, Penn Reels, Surf City Bait & Tackle, Fisherman’s Headquarters, Jingle’s Bait and Tackle, Captain’s Quarters Bait and Tackle, Merchantville Fishing Club, Barlow Buick/GMC, Anderson Agency, Bonanni Realtors, the Engleside Inn, Panzone’s Pizza, Bay Village, the Southern Ocean Chamber of Commerce, Long Beach Island Fishing Club and The Fisherman Magazine.

Follow along with the action this fall as daily weigh-ins are tallied at

For more information, visit a participating tackle shops:
Captain’s Quarters Bait & Tackle, 8201 Long Beach Blvd. Brighton Beach - 856-313-0562
Fisherman's Headquarters, 280 W. 9th St., Ship Bottom – 609-494-5739
Jingles’ Bait & Tackle, 1214 Long Beach Blvd., Beach Haven – 609-492-2795
Surf City Bait &Tackle, 317 Long Beach Blvd., Surf City – 609-494-2333

Visit the Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic Facebook Page.

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