David Salvagno of South Amboy topped hundreds of other surfcasters competing in the Governor's Surf Fishing Tournament Sunday at Island Beach State Park to win the Governor's Cup with a striped bass measuring 33 3/4 inches. Gov. Jon Corzine was on hand to present that award, along with many others.

Salvagno won by only a half-inch over Mark Newhart of Browns Mills in the adult male category. Debbie Burlingame of Neptune City took the adult female striper award with a 28 1/2-incher -- one of just eight bass measured during the tournament.







Bluefish were the most abundant species with 62 measured. The largest was a 21 1/2-incher beached by Brian Koenig of Mt. Laurel to nip Gregory Rasar of Burlington for the adult male title by a half-inch. Beverly Dwyer of Whiting had a 21 1/4-inch blue to win the ladies award over Michelle Pullen of Bordentown at 18` inches.

Only 10 fluke were measured, topped by two 17-inch entries. Ron Shock Jr. of Dumont won the adult male category by just an eighth of an inch over Kevin Martin of Bayonne -- and Brian Coopersmith of Washington won the teen male award.

The blackfish category got a surprising 14 entries. John Salato of Toms River landed an impressive 22-incher for the adult male award over a 20-incher by Zoltan Egyed from Trenton. Additional results from the tournament will be included in future columns.

The Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series title at Jersey City was captured Saturday by Team Catch and Release, captained by Max Dallorso Jr. of Jamaica, N.Y. They won $35,000 at the fifth stop of the Series. Catching striped bass in the 28-to-34-inch class to be kept alive for weighing and release while using only single hook artificial lures proved difficult. The winners had two bass weighing 33 pounds, 5 ounces caught trolling parachute jigs just as they did while winning the first FLW contest at Oceanside, N.Y. in June. Yet, they caught only five fish all day and just those two made the 28-inch minimum.

Team High and Tight, captained by Steve Cherry of Summit, finished second with two bass weighing 28 pounds, 5 ounces and worth $1,750. Team Thumbiniks, skippered by Joseph Mustari of Hazlet, was fourth with two bass totaling 25 pounds, 2 ounces for $613. Boats finishing in the top 25 became eligible for the season-ending, no entry fee tournament at Virginia Beach that offers a $50,000 first prize. There'll be more about this contest in future columns.


TOP CATCHES


Yesterday morning's northwest wind made for tougher weakfishing in Raritan Reach. It was difficult to hold bottom, but those who could had a fair pick of weaks. John and Dan McGrath, of Newfoundland, caught weaks in the 14-to-18-inch class with only two shorts when they joined me and Capt. Hans Kaspersetz on Ray Flagiello's Edgewater 25 from Sea Bright.

At Atlantic Highlands, Capt. George Bachert of the Angler was unsuccessful in seeking big fluke around the Rattlesnake on Saturday, but came up with some sea bass and stopped off Sandy Hook on the way back to add 20 keeper fluke in an hour off Sandy Hook. Larry Langford of Wyckoff won the pool with a 5-pound fluke. Bachert will continue to seek fluke during the last few days of the season.Capt. Al Hilliard had a fine weakfish bite Sunday on his Prowler 5 as most of the 25 anglers aboard caught limits.

Brian Houser of Mahwah boated a 27-inch, 10-pound weakfish Thursday on the Capt. Dave, but the pool went to Mark Hatall of Jackson with a 12-pound bluefish. Those weakfish preferred sandworms rather than peanut bunkers.






Capt. Art Hilliard had Bayshore Flyrodders Club out Wednesday evening on his Eagle as they caught lots of blues at the Mud Buoy before little tunny arrived in the slick. Middletown anglers took the pools -- Bob Gargamo with a 10-pound tunny, and Joe Hagen with a 12-pound blue. That spot paid off again Thursday for Cattria's Pub, and they were releasing big blues after an hour. Chris Balser of East Hanover won the pool with an 11-pound blue. The N.J. Veternarians Association battled Friday's northwester for weakfish for a pick of mostly 14-to-15-inch weaks plus a few large blues up to an 8-pounder by Barry Adler of Woodbridge.

Joe Valvano, Tony Tambe and John DeBlasio of Nutley hit it right in Barnegat Bay recently as they combined for 184 blowfish, plus 16 large kingfish.

Tom Paglioroli of Ocean City fished recently with Capt. Al Crudele on his Bayhound in Townsend's Inlet and Ludlam's Bay where he and Toni Stefano chummed with grass shrimp to catch 17 kingfish from 13 inches up to 2 pounds on FishBites bloodworm strips. They also released smaller kings plus sea bass, blues, and a couple of fluke.

Allen Riley of South Plainfield continues to see a lot of bait in the Sandy Hook surf, but few fish chasing them. That changed Thursday when small blues charged in at 9 a.m. Riley got a much bigger thrill before that while blind casting with metal when a 31-pound cow-nose ray was hooked and a 20-minute battle ensued.

Capt. Greg Markert of the Golden Eagle from Belmar didn't run his Sunday canyon trip due to rough conditions offshore, but was enthused about last week's bluefishing with lots of 8-to-12-pounders both day and night. Little tunny appeared in the slicks some days.







Greg Bogan reports from Brielle Tackle that John Peterson of Mantoloking chunked recently in Hudson Canyon with his Jacal as Bob O'Neal, Matt Reilly and Curtis Cypka helped boat nine yellowfins up to 80 pounds while releasing 24. Andrew, Andy and Matt Fanelli also fished the Hudson that night on Intepid as Liam Boland and Dan Burns joined in catching 12 yellowfins up to 100 pounds plus a 160-pound swordfish. Over half the tuna hit Shimano Butterfly jigs and ProFishCo Power jigs. Jack Newitts of Point Pleasant ran his One Hit to Hudson Canyon where he joined Keith Kirn, Bob and Tony Brandt, and Bruce Tipling in boating 13 yellowfin tuna plus two albacore and six dolphin on butterfish and sardines. Joel Reda of Bogota recently found a 6`-pound fluke outside the inlet an a spearing/squid combo.

Phillip Sciortino reports from Tackle Box Sportfishing in Hazlet that a lot of stripers are being caught on clams in the Sandy Hook surf, though most are only in the 25-to-28-inch class. Capt. Derek Bielitz had over 50 weakfish and 20 stripers, including four keepers, last Tuesday morning on worms in Sandy Hook Channel and at the TC Buoy for Manny Vidal of Newark on Tackle Box Sportfishing. The Gerald Walker party from Middletown also fished with Bielitz recently for 15 stripers to 32 inches on worms and eels plus 27 keeper weaks up to 5 pounds.

Tuna-Tic from Waretown has been doing well with tuna and swordfish in Hudson Canyon. There may be room Thursday plus Oct. 3-4, 11-12 and 18-19. Call (609) 290-8900.