Labor Day is in our wake, nights are becoming cooler and the first of fall’s surf fishing tournaments is set to kickoff this weekend, which incidentally, also marks the first day of fall on Saturday. The Montauk Classic, hosted by The Fisherman and Long Island State Parks, runs from Friday, September 21 through Sunday, September 23rd. Fishing kicks off at noon Friday, and continues through Sunday at noon. An awards ceremony will take place at the Point at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday. The first 100 attendees at Sunday’s awards ceremony will receive a goody bag of tackle, including Fat Cow Jig Strips, Al Gags Soft Baits, Braid Aid and Tsunami Sand Eel. All attendees will receive a free ticket for the awards ceremony raffled.

Weigh-in for the contest is at Paulie’s Tackle Shop where the doors will remain open 24 hours a day throughout the weekend. The in-person entry deadline is 9 a.m. on Saturday morning at Paulie’s for those who can’t get to Montauk before the weekend. The entry fee remains just $15 per angler. Entry fees from the contest go toward improving fishing access in Long Island State Parks.

Boundary lines for this contest are all shore areas east of the westernmost boundary of Napeague State Park. All areas must be accessible by foot or wading. Swimming, using a boat, kayak or any flotation device to access an area is prohibited. The minimum size for striped bass entries is set at 36 inches, while the bluefish minimum is set at 5 pounds. A Striped Bass Release Division was created five years ago in an effort to reduce the number of bass brought to the scales. Winners of the release division are determined by overall length measured to the nearest half inch to expedite the release. Another registered participant in the Classic must witness the measuring and release, and sign off on the angler’s entry card. It is up to the angler to check their entry in at Paulie’s, just as if they were weighing a fish in. There are three places in the Striped Bass Release Division, and the Striped Bass and Bluefish divisions. Winners of the striped bass (weighed) and bluefish categories will receive $750. Second and third place winners, and first through third place in the striped bass release category will receive quality tackle prizes, including high end rods from St. Croix and Century. In the case of a tie, the earliest fish checked in will take priority.