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Skillful Angler Recognition (Awards) Program

2013 Skillful Angler Awards Winners

Program History:

The Skillful Angler Awards Program was introduced in 1983 to supplement the New Jersey State Record Fish Program. For more than three decades the Division has been recognizing anglers who catch fish of "not quite record" size, but large enough to have tested the angler's skill and be worthy of recognition. Over the years the program has been updated with new categories (junior and catch-and-release in 2004) and additional eligible fish species (2004 and 2012).

In 2014, the program is again undergoing changes - this time in the program title, photo requirements and application form. The program has been renamed the Skillful Angler Recognition Program. Along with the change in title, applicants will now be required to submit an additional photo. The two required photos are:

1. The fish alongside a ruler, and
2. The angler holding the fish at the catch location.

To assist applicants, the entry form can now be completed online and printed. The signed form, along with the photographs, can be mailed to the address found on the form. These changes are the first steps in the process of revising the program for 2015.

Anglers qualifying for a Skillful Angler Recognition Award receive a certificate attesting to their achievement. Only one certificate per species will be awarded annually to each applicant.

Over the years the program has gained in popularity. In 1983, the program began with 31 applicants. In 2013, 133 applications representing 24 different species were officially processed. Since the programís modest beginning, the Division has granted skillful angler status to 3,552 anglers.

Fluke entered in Skillful Angler Recognition Program
Click to enlarge

"Click" to see lists of the 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 or 2013 Skillful Angler Awards winners who caught the largest fish in each of the species categories.

Minimum Size Requirements for Skillful Angler Award:
Saltwater Species
Species Adult
Weight (lbs.)
Junior
Weight (lbs./ozs.)
Catch and Release (inches)
Black Sea Bass 4 3 20"
Striped Bass 40 36 42"
Black Drum 70 63 46"
Bluefish 18 16 33"
Cod 30 27 42"
Dolphin 30 27 n/a
Winter Flounder 2 1 lb. 8 oz 16"
Fluke 8 7 27"
Kingfish 1 8 oz 13"
Mako Shark 250 225 n/a
Blue Marlin 400 360 n/a
White Marlin 60 54 n/a
Pollock 25 22 lbs. 8 oz 41"
Tautog 8 7 22"
Albacore Tuna 50 45 n/a
Big Eye Tuna 200 180 n/a
Bluefin Tuna 500 450 n/a
Yellowfin Tuna 120 108 n/a
Tuna (other) 250 225 n/a
Weakfish 10 9 30"
Freshwater Species
Species Adult
Weight (lbs.)
Junior
Weight (lbs./ozs.)
Catch and
Release (inches)
Largemouth Bass 6 4 21"
Smallmouth Bass 4 3 19"
Striped Bass Hybrid 8 6 24"
Striped Bass 30 25 40"
Bullhead 2 1 lb. 8 oz 14"
Carp 25 20 35"
Channel Catfish 10 8 29"
Crappie 2 1 lb. 8 oz 14"
Muskellunge 20 15 40"
Yellow Perch 1 lb. 8 oz 1 13"
Chain Pickerel 4 3 24"
Northern Pike 10 8 34"
American Shad 7 5 24"
Brook Trout 3 2 19"
Brown Trout 8 5 25"
Lake Trout 12 8 31"
Rainbow Trout 5 3 lbs. 8 oz 23"
Salmon, Atlantic Landlocked 4 3 20"
Sunfish 1 12 oz 9"
Walleye 6 4 lbs. 8 oz 24"

New Skillful Angler Recognition Program Application Form (pdf, 100kb)

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P.O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: March 10, 2014