Following is the press release with results from last Friday’s Manhattan Cup:
After a forced cancelation in 2020, the Manhattan Cup came roaring back for its 20th Anniversary at Liberty Landing Marina on the Hudson River opposite the New York City skyline. This unique charitable event is held to honor American heroes, the men and women who have put their lives on the line to fight our nation’s enemies. Many of them suffer from the physical and psychological effects of combat and are prone to depression and even suicide months or years after returning from service. Twenty-two transitioning warriors take their own lives each day, a frightening statistic, and our desire is to open new channels of hope through fishing.
“The goal of the tournament is to use fishing as a force for good,” says Captain Frank Crescitelli, one of the founders of the event and tournament co-chairman along with angler and journalist Gary Caputi. This year 30 warriors, most back from recent deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq were joined by a handful of Viet Nam era service members to fish and compete as our guests and to spend time with captains and fellow anglers, many of whom donated their boats and services for the day.
The tournament, with presenting sponsor Yamaha Outboards, kicked off with a breakfast where captains, anglers and warriors met and organized into teams over a buffet breakfast. A brief captain’s meeting was held before the teams boarded their boats for the shotgun start in front of the Statue of Liberty. The fishing throughout the day was nothing short of spectacular with the waters of Raritan Bay and the New York Bight offering up remarkable fishing with over 160 bass and bluefish caught and released. With conservation the watchword of this all-release tournament, many of the teams were inserting Gray FishTag Research tags in their fish before returning them to the water. Each fish was carefully measured, and all winning fish were determined by the accepted calculations using length and girth measurements to accompanied by photo verification to determine weight.
If the numbers of fish caught was not amazing enough, two enormous stripers of over 50 pounds were caught and released in addition to several in the 30 and 40-pound class. When all was said and done, Jersey Devil with Captain Brian Rice at the helm repeated their win of the Manhattan Cup in 2019 with a 52.80-pound striped bass taken on a live eel by warrior angler Richard Torres. The fish also captured the Msgt. Christopher J. Raguso Memorial Trophy presented for the largest striped bass caught by a warrior. Also aboard the Jersey Devil was the NFL’s Clark Harris, center for the Cincinnati Bengals, who won the celebrity striped bass award with a 49.24-pound fish.
Jim O’Sullivan fishing aboard Captain Cole Svenson’s Cheap Shot boated the second largest striped bass of the tournament, a 50.11-pound monster that also ate a live eel. A complete list of the trophy and cup winners is located below.
The awards dinner saw upwards of 200 people filling the room at the Liberty House Restaurant where they shared a wonderful meal, fish tales and plenty of opportunities to win raffle and auction items ranging from charter trips on the Tuna.com and Fishin’Frenzy to a full electronics package courtesy of Raymarine.
Matthew Braiotta, the Assistant Director of the Veterans Benefits Administration NY regional office not only attended the dinner but competed in the tournament alongside his brothers in arms, addressed the audience about his first experience at the Manhattan Cup. In a subsequent email to the tournament organizers, he wrote:
“Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of this amazing event as it was life changing for me. I have not felt this connected with my fellow veterans in a long, long time. I want to personally thank you all for the work and dedication you have for our nation’s veterans and for me as well. Your extraordinary efforts in putting this event together personally impacted my life and renewed my spirit to go above and beyond for our veterans. Thank you again for the community that you all built and let me know how I can support and serve this noble cause in the future.”
The emotions ran high as Frank Crescitelli announced a special presentation, a beautiful rod and reel outfit valued at over $300 given to each of the warriors in attendance so they can carry on their fishing experiences well after the tournament. The rods and reels were donated through the generosity of Bob Feldsott, president of Tsunami Awesome Tackle. Then Manhattan Cup Warrior Liaison, Sgt. Robert Gil addressed the crowd with an emotional salute to his fellow veterans and his sincere wishes that their introduction to fishing would help carry them through their trials in returning to civilian life as it did for him when he first fished in the tournament in 2013. The applause and the level of appreciation from everyone in the room for these brave American heroes was an emotional, heartfelt tribute.
Everyone involved in putting on the Manhattan Cup felt honored to be able to do our small part to recognize and assist the bravest and most deserving among us, the warriors who sacrificed for our nation and its citizens. From our small team of dedicated individuals who organize and run the event, we want to thank all of the captains who donated their boats and services for the day, the anglers who fished with us in the Sportsman Division, our sponsors without whom we could not put on the tournament and our hosts at Liberty Landing Marina and the Liberty House Restaurant, we would like to say thank you and we hope to see you again next year.
For more information go to www.manhattancup.com. If you would like to be involved in the 21st Manhattan Cup please contact John DePersenaire at 609-294-3810 or Gary Caputi at 732-740-9982.
Manhattan Cup Sponsors: Yamaha Outboards, Bimini Bay, Tsunami Awesome Tackle, Staten Island Yacht Sales, Black Rifle Coffee Company, Raymarine, Bluewave Boats, D&R Boat Sales, Finchasers TV, Steiger Craft Boats, Liberty Landing Marina, Manhattan2Montauk, AFW Fishing Brands, Princeton Tec, Gray Taxidermy, Interlux, Costa del Mar, Guides Secret Lures, Colorfast, Starbrite, Mustad, St. Croix Rods, Tony Maja Products and TackleDirect.com.
The Manhattan Cup is underwritten by the Fisheries Conservation Trust, a 501c3 non-profit wing of the Recreational Fishing Alliance.
20th MANHATTAN CUP TROPHY WINNERS
Manhattan Cup (largest striped bass overall) 52.8 lbs. Richard Torres/Jersey Devil/Capt. Brian Rice
Warrior Division (Christopher J. Raguso Memorial Trophy)
Largest Striped Bass 52.8 lbs. Richard Torres/Jersey Devil/Capt. Brian Rice
Largest Bluefish 3.96 lbs. Roger Totten/Pelagic Magic/ Capt. Paul Hameleers
Celebrity Angler Division
Largest Striped Bass 49.24 lbs. Clark Harris/Jersey Devil/Capt. Brian Rice
Largest Bluefish 9.28 lbs. Darlene Jensen/Tricky Fish/Capt. Chris Carlino
Sportfishing (Private Boat Division)
Largest Striped Bass 10.72 lbs. Pete Boodaghian/Nemmas II/Capt. Michel Grassi
Largest Bluefish 2.40 lbs. Nate Peller/Outrage/Capt. Matthew Braiotta
Artificial Bait Division
Largest Striped Bass 37.24 lbs. Paul Bourcq/Fin Chasers TV/Capt. Frank Crescitelli
Largest Bluefish 12.41 lbs. Oliver Ngy/Fin Chasers TV/Capt. Frank Crescitelli
Largest Striped Bass 50.11 lbs. Jim O’Sullivan/Cheap Shot/Capt. Cole Svenson
Largest Bluefish 21.18 lbs. Timothy Beckett/Dina Maria/Capt. Vincent Vetere
Largest Striped Bass 14.44 lbs. Rob/Timothy O’Rourke/Capt. Timothy O’Rourke
Largest Bluefish 2.40 lbs. Nate Peller/Outrage/Capt. Matthew Braiotta
High Hook Most Stripers Ira Krell/Timothy O’Rourke/Capt. Timothy O’Rourke
The marine weather forecast for tomorrow is similar to what we’ve had — but changes during the day. It starts with north at 5-10 knots before going northeast 10-15 with gusts to 20 by late morning. There’s also a chance of showers.
Nick Honachefsky was catching ling on the weekend night trip of the Gambler from Point Pleasant. Other species are also included in his Saltwater Underground episode 4 for free on Waypoint TV.