Story by Tom P.

“The invasion of big bluefish and the increasing numbers of striped bass bode well for two upcoming premier surf fishing tournaments.”

The timing could not have been better as the massive influx of slammer-to-gator blues, some close to and exceeding 20 pounds, continues from Ocean City to Raritan Bay. Coupled with the eagerly anticipated arrival of increasing numbers of keeper stripers, the seasonal migration of both coincides beautifully with this Saturday’s Nicole Born Memorial Surf Fishing Tournament on Long Beach Island and the 25th Annual Governor’s Surf Tournament to be held Saturday, May 21 at Island Beach State Park.

In its first year, the Nicole Born Memorial Surf Tournament has drawn a line-popping number of premium local, regional and national sponsors such as Van Staal Reels, RH Custom Rods, Tsunami Tackle, The Fisherman Magazine, Eagle Claw, S&S Bucktails, Costa Del Mar, and Flambeau among dozens and dozens of others. This is strictly a merchandise prize-driven tournament, i.e. no cash payouts.

Both teams and individual anglers can compete. Fees are $80 for the former and $25 for the latter, and last minute registration is available Saturday morning between 5:30 a.m.-7 a.m. at the Surf City Volunteer Fire Company, located at 713 North Long Beach Boulevard in Surf City.

Fishing times and locations are split. The first is 7:30 a.m.-10 a.m. and then there is the position change with fishing time from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Prize awards, based on the largest and most fish, will be presented at the Fire Company beginning at 2 p.m. and lunch (included with the entry fee) will be served. Prizes are awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams; the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place individuals; and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place youth contestants.

A great bonus is that all participants 17 and younger will receive a free Tsunami surf fishing combo.

All proceeds will be donated to the family of local surf angler and long distance caster Nicole Born who tragically passed, leaving a husband and two children.

The Bite: Blues in the surf are ripping into fresh bunker chunks and are also putting the teeth to fresh clams. Plugs, poppers, and metals are now producing blues in the suds and in the inlets and bays.

Surf and inlet stripers are inhaling fresh and salted clams and bunker chunks and heads and are also whacking poppers and plugs. In the boats, live lining bunker and trolling mojos, Stretch plugs and bunker spoons are putting bass to 50 pounds in the boxes.

Weakfish are being caught bayside, mostly after dark, on pink and pearl plastics. Weakies to 22 inches have been reported.

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