The annual Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament will be contested Sunday at Island Beach State Park from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a wide variety of species and many valuable prizes in several categories. Adults pay $15, while those from 13 to 17 can enter for $5 — and younger kids compete at no charge. A N.J. registration is necessary for those required to have one. Sign in at Pavillion #1.

The largest eligible fish wins the Governor’s Trophy, and is usually a striped bass caught on bait. A 37 1/2-incher took first last year. Some years there are lots of bluefish, but the choppers haven’t been abundant so far. It’s a treat to have fluke open for this contest, and they may be the best bet. On the other hand, blackfish which are usually a target at the inlet are out of season at this time. Don’t count on them, but weakfish, kingfish, red drum and black drum are also eligible.

The N.J. sea bass season opened today, and reports are just starting to come in. Capt. Ralph Leyrer said it was a bit bumpy this morning on his Last Lady from Belmar but there was a good mix of sea bass, ling and cod while many blackfish were released. He has a few openings for tomorrow.

Capt. Ron Santee reported the ride out on his Fisherman from Atlantic Highlands was good with the sea behind them. but it was uncomfortable at anchor for awhile before the sea settled and fishing improved. Mr. Kim had a 15-inch sea bass for the pool.

Striper reports continue to be good, but Capt. John Contello had a real bragging fish with a 49 1/2-incheron his Just Sayin from Highlands that was carrying a Grey’s Fish Tag. Catching a tagged fish is always a rare event, and I’m looking forward to hearing where it was tagged.

A small craft advisory is up for northeast winds to 25 knots tonight, but that drops to east at just 5-10 knots in the morning before going southeast 10-15 in the afternoon.

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