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2000 Skillful Angler Awards Winners


The Skillful Angler Awards Program honors the many anglers who catch both freshwater and marine fish which aren't of record size but are impressive and worthy of recognition. At the end of each year, special recognition is given to the anglers who caught the largest fish in each of the freshwater and marine species categories.

In 2000 there were 82 applications submitted for fish of 19 different species. Of those, 21 adults and one child were honored with skillful angler winner status.

Interesting Facts for 2000:

The most popular species caught by skillful anglers in 2000 was walleye with 17 entries received.

The following is a breakdown of applications received per category: largemouth bass (11), smallmouth bass (6), striped bass hybrid (6), carp (2), channel catfish (13), black crappie (8), muskellunge (3), chain pickerel (16), Northern pike (1), brook trout (13), brown trout (1), lake trout (1), rainbow trout (1), walleye (17), black sea bass (3), striped bass (2), black drum (1), winter flounder (6), fluke (12), kingfish (2), pollock (1), and tautog (5).

This year there were no entries received for the American shad, bluefish, cod, blue marlin, white marlin, mako shark, albacore tuna, bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, tuna (other) and weakfish categories.

Several of this year's winners were honored in the past:

Kathy Deleeuw's winning brook trout (5 lbs, 4 ozs) was caught on the opening day of trout season, April 8!

Similar to this year, Richard Torgun's 1999 winning carp was also taken from the Delaware River in May and was caught using corn meal!

There were no entries that were state records in 2000.

The 2000 Skillful Angler Awards Winners are as follows:

Freshwater Species:

Largemouth Bass - 7 lbs, 12 ozs caught by 30-year-old John Holda of Boonton on October 23. John was shore fishing at Cooks Pond in Denville when he reeled this one in at 1:15 p.m. Six-pound test was used with a St.Croix rod and a Shimano reel. Spinner bait served as the lure. The fish measured 24 inches in length. Girth size was unavailable.

Smallmouth Bass - 5 lbs, 6 ozs caught by 40-year-old David Au of Phillipsburg on March 31. David was fishing along the shore of Merrill Creek Reservoir when he reeled this one in at 5 p.m. Fifteen-pound test was used with a Shakespeare rod and a Penn reel. Spinner bait served as the lure. The fish measured 21 inches in length with a 16-inch girth.

Striped Bass Hybrid - 10 lbs, 5 ozs caught by 57-year-old Dominic Sarinelli of Hopatcong on July 23. Dominic was fishing from a boat on Lake Hopatcong when he landed this one at 9 a.m. Eight-pound test was used with a spinning rod. Reel type was unavailable. Herring served for bait. The fish measured 26 inches in length. Girth size was unavailable.

Carp - 35 lbs, 9 ozs caught by 54-year-old Richard Torgun of Gloucester City on May 17. Richard was fishing from the shore of the Delaware River when he got the fish at 11:45 a.m. Ten-pound test was used with a Daiwa reel and a custom rod. Corn meal served as bait. The fish measured 40 inches in length. Girth size was unavailable.

Channel Catfish - 18 lbs, 8 ozs caught by 48-year-old Michael Biel, Jr. of West Keansburg on April 21. Michael was fishing from the shore of Holmdel Park Pond when he got the fish at 10 a.m. Four-pound test was used with an Abu Garcia rod and a Shimano reel. Power bait served as a lure. The fish measured 35 inches in length. Girth size was unavailable.

Black Crappie - 2 lbs, 15 ozs caught by 67-year-old Mike Wydra of Millville on April 4. Mike was fishing from the shore of Menantico Pond in Millville when he landed the fish at 7:30 a.m. Four-pound test was used with a Shakespeare rod and reel. A mini jig served as the lure. The fish measured 17 inches in length with a 14 -inch girth.

Muskellunge - 26 lbs, 8 ozs caught by 54-year-old Frank Gawenus of Wantage on August 26. Frank was fishing the Delaware River in his boat when he reeled the fish in at 8 a.m. Ten-pound test was used with a Shimano rod and an Abu Garcia reel. Spinner bait served as a lure. The fish measured 47 inches in length with a girth of 22 inches.

Chain Pickerel - 7 lbs caught by 65-year-old Michael E. Golabek of East Rutherford on March 15. Michael was fishing from his boat at Round Valley Reservoir when he landed this one at 2 p.m. Four-pound test was used with an Abu Garcia rod and a Shimano reel. A Panther Martin lure was used for bait. The fish measured 27 inches in length. Girth size was 16 inches.

Northern Pike - 14 lbs, 12 ozs caught by 58-year-old Brent Hann of Washington on February 22. Brent was ice fishing at Budd Lake when he hooked into the fish at 10:45 a.m. Twenty-five pound test was used with a shiner. The fish was 38 inches in length with a 17-inch girth.

Brook Trout - 5 lbs, 4 ozs caught by 44-year-old Kathy Deleeuw of Brick on the opening day of trout season, April 8. Kathy was fishing from the dock at Shenandoah Lake in Lakewood when she landed the fish at 9:45 a.m. Eight-pound test was used with a Sportfisher rod and a Shakespeare reel. A Blue Fox spinner served as the lure. The fish measured 21 inches in length and had a girth of 11 inches.

Brown Trout - 8 lbs, 4 oz caught by 52-year-old Joseph Krainatz, Jr. of South Bound Brook on May 6. Joseph was fishing from the shore of the Pequest River when he landed the fish at 12:30 p.m. Six-pound test was used with a Microlight rod and a Shimano reel. A butter worm served for bait. The fish measured 27 inches in length. The girth size was 16 inches.

Lake Trout - 16 lbs, 11 ozs caught by 63-year-old Ken Esser of Clark on October 12. Ken was fishing Round Valley Reservoir from his boat when he landed this one at 9:30 a.m. Ten-pound test was used with a St. Croix rod and a Shimano reel. A White Marabou Jig was the lure. The fish measured 36 inches in length with a 21-inch girth.

Rainbow Trout - 5 lbs, 8 ozs caught by 50-year-old Judy Neff of Fanwood on April 22. Judy was fly fishing from the shore of the Pequest River when she landed this one at 11 a.m. 5X/4.75-pound test was used with an Orvis fly rod and reel. She used a Beadhead Woolly Bugger fly. The fish measured 25 inches in length. Girth size was unavailable.

Walleye - 12 lbs caught by 35-year-old Chris Rossi of Phillipsburg on July 11. Chris was fishing from a boat on the Delaware River when he landed the fish at 7 p.m. Fifteen-pound test was used with a Shakespeare rod and a Shimano reel. A plug served as the lure. The fish measured 31 inches in length with a 19 -inch girth.

Saltwater Species:

Black Sea Bass - 7 lbs, 4 ozs caught by 52-year-old Joseph Esterly of Philadelphia, PA on March 25. Joseph was fishing from a party boat off Cape May when he reeled the fish in at 1 p.m. Thirty-pound test was used with a boat rod and a Penn reel. Type of bait is unknown. The fish measured 25 inches in length with a girth of 18 inches.

Striped Bass - 55 lbs, 3 ozs caught by 59-year-old Jim Haines of Ship Bottom on October 22. Jim was surf fishing in Beach Haven when he hooked the fish at 5:45 p.m. Twenty-pound test line was used with a custom rod and an Abu Garcia reel. Bunker chunk served for bait. The fish measured 55 inches in length with a girth of 28 inches.

Black Drum - 77 lbs caught by 12-year-old Ryan Niedoba of Berlin on June 15. Ryan was fishing Slaughter Beach by boat when he reeled the fish in at 8 p.m. Thirty-pound test line was used with a Penn rod and reel. Clams were used for bait. Length and girth sizes were unavailable.

Winter Flounder - 3 lbs, 15 ozs caught by 52-year-old Randy Gant of Brick on April 13. Randy was fishing the Barnegat Bay by boat when he caught the fish at 5:30 p.m. Fourteen-pound test was used with a Shimano rod and a spinning reel. Randy did not divulge the type of bait used. The fish measured 19-inches in length.

Fluke - 14 lbs, 7 ozs caught by 37-year-old Ronald W. Russo of Ewing Township on July 1. Ronald was fishing the Barnegat Bay from his boat when he landed the fish at 9:30 a.m. Twelve-pound test was used with a Shimano rod and a Quantum reel. A bucktail/squid combination served for bait. The fish was 32 inches in length.

Kingfish - 1 lb, 10 ozs caught by 44-year-old Stanley Klimek of Sayreville on May 1. Stanley was fishing the Barnegat Bay by boat when he landed the fish at 1 p.m. Twenty-pound test was used with a custom rod and a Penn reel. Worms were used for bait. Length and girth were unavailable.

Pollock - 28 lbs caught by 70-year-old David DiGiuseppe of Sea Isle City on May 14. David was fishing over the India Arrow Wreck when he landed the fish at 2 p.m. Thirty-pound test was used with a Shimano rod and reel. A Diamond Jig served was the lure. The fish was 44 inches in length. Girth size was unavailable.

Tautog - 15 lbs, 3 ozs caught by 62-year-old John Hoffman of Manahawkin on March 25. John was fishing from a party boat off of Barnegat Light when he reeled the fish in at 12:30 p.m. Eight-pound test was used with a Loomis rod and an Abu Garcia reel. Clams served for bait. The fish measured 27 inches in length with a 22-inch girth.

Congratulations to all of our winners!

Interesting Facts for 2000:

The most popular species caught by skillful anglers in 2000 was walleye with 17 entries received.

The following is a breakdown of applications received per category: largemouth bass (11), smallmouth bass (6), striped bass hybrid (6), carp (2), channel catfish (13), black crappie (8), muskellunge (3), chain pickerel (16), Northern pike (1), brook trout (13), brown trout (1), lake trout (1), rainbow trout (1), walleye (17), black sea bass (3), striped bass (2), black drum (1), winter flounder (6), fluke (12), kingfish (2), pollock (1), and tautog (5).

This year there were no entries received for the American shad, bluefish, cod, blue marlin, white marlin, mako shark, albacore tuna, bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, tuna (other) and weakfish categories.

Several of this year's winners were honored in the past:

Kathy Deleeuw's winning brook trout (5 lbs, 4 ozs) was caught on the opening day of trout season, April 8!

Similar to this year, Richard Torgun's 1999 winning carp was also taken from the Delaware River in May and was caught using corn meal!

There were no entries that were state records in 2000.


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