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2007 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 2007, 169 applications representing 25 different species were officially processed. Since the program's modest beginning, the Division has granted Skillful Angler status to 2,583 anglers.

INTERESTING FACTS:

The most frequently entered species by skillful anglers in 2007 (adult, junior, and catch and release categories combined) were striped chain pickerel with 27 entries and largemouth bass with 20 entries.

The following is a breakdown of applications received per species (all categories combined): largemouth bass (20), smallmouth bass (7), striped bass hybrid (12), bullhead (5), carp (3), channel catfish (8), crappie (8), muskellunge (2), yellow perch (7), chain pickerel (27), american shad (1), crappie (10), brook trout (1), brown trout (3), rainbow trout (2), sunfish (7), walleye (19), black sea bass (2), striped bass caught in saltwater (6), black drum (1), fluke (9), kingfish (6), tautog (3), bluefish (4), winter flounder (1) and weakfish (4).

In 2007, no entries were received for the striped bass freshwater, northern pike, lake trout, mako shark, blue marlin, white marlin, pollock, albacore tuna, big eye tuna, bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, or tuna (other) categories.

Jim Welsh is the dual winner of both the adult channel catfish and walleye categories.

Monica Oswald is the dual winner of both the adult fluke and tautog categories.

Joseph Olexa is the dual winner of both the yellow perch and sunfish categories for the catch and release division.

Tara Deleon is the dual winner of both the Striped Bass in Saltwater and the Bluefish categories. She landed both her winning fish in the same trip and only 45 minutes apart.

Frank Ruczynski is the winner of the catch and release weakfish category for the second year in a row. His winning fish for this year was inch bigger than his weakfish last year.

Overall more freshwater entries (134) than saltwater (36) were received.

The 2007 Skillful Angler Winners are as follows:

ADULT CATEGORY FRESHWATER SPECIES:

Largemouth Bass - 6 lbs, 10 oz. caught by Horace Dixon of Morrisville, PA on October 6. Horace was fishing from the shore in Hopewell when he reeled the fish in at 10:00 a.m. Twelve-pound test was used with a Synergy rod and a Shakespeare reel. Gold meal worms were the bait used. The fish measured 22.5 inches in length with a 16-inch girth.

Smallmouth Bass - 4 lbs, .25 oz. caught by Ronald VanCleef of Raritan on June 17. Ronald was fishing in the South Branch of the Raritan River when he landed the fish at 10 a.m. Ten-pound test was used with spinning rod and reel. A jig and tube served for the lure. The fish measured 20 inches in length and had a 13-inch girth.

Striped Bass Hybrid - 9 lbs, 14 oz. caught by Dominick Sarinelli of Hopatcong on May 12. Dominick was fishing from the shore on Lake Hopatcong when he landed the fish at 9:00 a.m. Eight-pound test was used with a spinning rod and reel. A Rapala served for a lure. The fish measured 26 inches in length and had a 21-inch girth.

Channel Catfish - 14 lbs, 10 oz. caught by Jim Welsh of Newton on December 13. Jim was fishing from a boat on Lake Hopatcong when he landed the fish. Eight-pound test was used with a spinning rod and reel. Herring served for bait. The fish measured 29 inches in length and had a 19-inch girth.

Muskellunge - 21 lbs, 0 oz. caught by Jonathan Smigelsky of Phillipsburg on May 14. Jonathan was fishing from the shore along the Delaware River when he landed the fish at 7:00 p.m. Twenty-pound test was used with an Ugly Stix rod and Penn reel. A shiner served as bait. The fish measured 44 inches with a 21-inch girth.

Chain Pickerel - 7 lbs, 8 oz. caught by Ken Johansson of West Milford on March 1. Ken was fishing through the ice at Lake Ames in Rockaway when he landed the fish. Four-pound test was used with an Okuma rod and reel. A cast master served as the lure. The fish measured 28 inches in length with a 14-inch girth.

Brown Trout - 8 lbs, 4 oz. caught by George Olah of Alpha on April 7. George was fishing from the banks of the Musconetcong River when he hooked the fish at 9:00 a.m. Six-pound test was used with an Ugly Stik rod and a Penn spinning reel. A gold phoebe served as the lure. The fish measured 26 inches in length with an 14-inch girth.

Rainbow Trout - 5 lbs, 4 oz. caught by Adrian Leeman of Newton on October 7. Adrian was fishing from the shore on the Flat Brook when he landed the fish at 11:00 a.m. 6x tippet was used with a 3-weight fly rod and a single action reel. A wooly bugger was used to attract the fish. The fish measured 24 inches in length with an 12-inch girth.

Walleye - 10 lbs, 8 oz. caught by Jim Welsh of Newton on December 11. Jim was fishing from a boat on Lake Hopatcong when he landed the fish at 11:00 a.m. Ten-pound test was used. A jigging rapala was used as a lure. The fish measured 28 inches in length and had a 17-inch girth.

ADULT CATEGORY SALTWATER SPECIES:

Black Sea Bass - 4 lbs, 2 oz. caught by Halina Mrowinski of Hamilton on July 31. Halina was fishing off a boat around Long Branch when she landed the fish at 11:00 a.m. Twenty-pound test was used with an Ugly Stik rod and Penn reel. A squid strip served for bait. The fish measured 20 inches in length. Girth was unknown.

Striped Bass - 54 lbs, 0 oz. caught by Edward C. Davis of Waterford on November 18. Edward was in a boat in Delaware Bay when he hooked the fish at 11:00 a.m. Twenty-five pound test line was used with a custom rod and a Shimano 6500 reel. Bait was used to catch the fish. The fish measured 51 1/8 inches in length and had a 29-inch girth.

Black Drum - 97 lbs, 8 oz. caught by Donald Haught of Millville on May 21. Donald was fishing from a boat in Tussy Slough when he reeled the fish in. Thirty-pound test line was used with a Penn rod and reel. Clams were used for bait. The fish was 54 inches in length and had a 40-inch girth.

Winter Flounder - 3 lbs, 5 oz. caught by Michael James Paras of Jackson on March 24. Michael was fishing from a boat, The Sea Flea, in Bayhead when he caught the fish at 12:30 p.m. Six-pound Trilene line was used with a Berkley "Power Pole" and Abu Garcia spinning reel. A mai tai flounder rig served for a lure. The fish was 18 inches with an 18-inch girth.

Fluke - 24 lbs, 3 oz. caught by Monica Oswald of Neptune on August 17. Monica was fishing from a boat near Shrewsbury Rocks when she landed the fish at 2:40 p.m. Sixty-five pound Power Pro was used with a rod and a conventional Abu Garcia reel. A lure was used to catch the fish. The fish measured 38 inches in length.

Kingfish - 1 lbs, 14 oz. caught by Sam Iannuzzi of Lewisville, TX on October 6. Sam was fishing the surf in Holgate when he reeled the fish in at 10:30 a.m. Ten-pound test was used with a spinning rod and reel. Mullet served for bait. The fish measured 17 inches in length and had a 8-inch girth.

Tautog - 13 lbs, 3 oz. caught by Monica Oswald of Beach Haven on April 20. Cedric was fishing from a boat when he reeled the fish in at 12:15 p.m. Forrty-pound test was used with a custom rod and a Shimano reel. Green crabs served for bait. The fish measured 27 inches in length and had a 20-inch girth.

Weakfish - 17 lbs, 0 oz. caught by Sherry Brkal of Dayton on May 31. Sherry was fishing from a boat in Raritan Bay when she landed the fish. Fifteen-pound test was used with a St. Croix rod. A strip of bunker back served for bait. The fish measured 37 inches in length. Girth was unavailable.

JUNIOR CATEGORY FRESHWATER SPECIES:

Largemouth Bass - 4 lbs, 0 oz. caught by 12-year-old Nick Cornine of Kinnelon on September 7. Nick was fishing from the shore of Rainbow Lakes in Parsippany when he reeled the fish in. Twelve-pound test was used with a Shimano rod and reel. A kroc-spoon served as the lure. The fish measured 21 inches in length. Girth was unavailable.

Smallmouth Bass - 4 lbs, 8 oz. caught by 6-year-old Otto Kornas of Neshanic Station on October 9. Otto was fishing from the shore of the Raritan River in Raritan when he reeled the fish in at 4:30 p.m. Six-pound test was used with a spinning rod and reel. A shiner served for bait. The fish measured 21 inches in length and had a 13-inch girth.

Striped Bass Hybrid - 8 lbs, 4 oz. caught by 15-year-old Christopher Mackin of Lake Hopatcong on May 2. Christopher was fishing the shoreline of Lake Hopatcong when he caught the fish. Eight-pound test was used with a spinning rod and reel. A herring served for bait. The fish measured 25 inches in length with a 17-inch girth.

Channel Catfish - 12 lbs, 9 oz. caught by 11-year-old Henry Sudia of Oak Ridge on August 12. Hnery was fishing Lake Hopatcong in a boat when he landed the fish at 11:00 p.m.. Fifteen-pound test was used with a spinning rod and reel. Chicken liver served for bait. The fish measured 30 inches in length and had a 17-inch girth.

Crappie - 2 lbs, 0 oz. caught by 13-year-old Brandon Giannotto of Somerset on June 29. Brandon was fishing from a boat on Spruce Run when he landed the fish at 7:00 p.m. Six-pound test was used with a spinning rod and reel. The bait was a herring. The fish measured 14 inches in length. Girth was unavailable.

Chain Pickerel - 6 lbs, 4 oz. caught by 13-year-old Tyler Wackermann of Stewartsville on May 12. Tyler was fishing from a boat on Merrill Creek Reservoir when he landed the fish at 7:00 a.m. Ten-pound test was used with a St. Croix rod and an Abu Garcia reel. A rapala served for the lure. The fish measured 28 inches in length with an 11-inch girth.

Brook Trout - 2 lbs, 8 oz.caught by 11-year-old Christopher Robertson of Carneys Point on March 3. Christopher was fishing from the shore of Shadlers Sand Wah when he hooked the fish at 7:30 a.m. Six-pound test was used with an Abu Garcia rod and a Daiwa reel. The fish measured 16 inches in length and had a 9-inch girth.

Brown Trout - 5 lbs, 14 oz. caught by 13-year-old David Buckle, Jr. of Brielle on April 7. David was fishing from the banks of the Manasquan River when he landed the fish at 10:30 a.m. Four-pound test was used. A home-made rod and Penn reel were used. A spinner served for a lure. The fish measured 23 inches in length with a 13-inch girth.

Rainbow Trout - 4 lbs, 9 oz. caught by 8-year-old Alex Guidi of Mine Hill on October 7. Alex was fishing from the shore when he landed the fish at 2:00 p.m. Six-pound test was used. A spinning rod and reel were used to land the fish. A worm was the bait. The fish measured 20 inches in length and had a 13-inch girth.

Walleye - 8 lbs, 10 oz. caught by 9-year-old Chase Schaffer of Totowa on May 5. Chase was fishing from a boat on Lake Hopatcong when he landed the fish. Six-pound test was used with a spinning rod and reel. A herring served for bait. The fish measured 28 inches in length and had a 15-inch girth.

JUNIOR CATEGORY SALTWATER SPECIES:

Black Sea Bass - 63 lbs caught by 11-year-old Joseph Finck of Plantation, FL on July 3. Joseph was fishing from a boat off Little Egg Reef when he landed the fish. Twenty-pound test was used with a bait casting rod and Penn 310 reel. Bait was used. The fish measured 21 inches in length and had a 12-inch girth.

Fluke - 8 lbs, 7 oz.caught by 8-year-old Tyler Kapusky of Keport on July 7. Tyler was fishing from a boat in the Sandy Hook Channel when he landed the fish. Twenty pound braided line was used with a St. Croix rod and a Penn 965 reel. A killie-squid combo served as bait. The fish measured 27 inches in length. Girth was unavailable.

Kingfish - 1 lb, 8 oz. caught by 12-year-old Michael Stanislawczyk of Highlands on October 6. Michael was fishing from the marina dock when he hooked the fish at 2:00 p.m. Four-pound test was used with a custom rod and a Shimano reel. A clam was the bait. The fish measured 15 inches in length. Girth was unavailable.

Tautog - 16 lbs, 5.5 oz. caught by 11-year-old James Shopp of Port Monmouth on June 20. James was fishing from the shore in Belford when he landed the fish at 10:30 a.m. Twenty/twenty-five-pound test was used with a Shakespeare rod and an Alpha reel. Clam served as the bait. The fish measured 29 inches in length with a 22-inch girth.

CATCH AND RELEASE CATEGORY FRESHWATER SPECIES:

Largemouth Bass - 27 inches caught by Ryan Tucker of Phillipsburg on June 27. Ryan was fishing from the shore of a farm pond in Tewksbury when he reeled the fish in at 6:30 p.m. Six-pound test was used with an Ugly Stik rod and a Libra reel. Live herring served as bait. Girth was unavailable.

Smallmouth Bass - 23 inches caught by Otto Gsell of Raritan on August 5. Otto was fishing along the banks of the Raritan River when he reeled the fish in at 10:00 a.m. Six-pound test was used with an Ugly Stik rod and an Okuma reel. A shiner served for bait. Girth was unavailable.

Striped Bass Hybrid - 24 inches caught by Connor Zack of Bridgewater on October 21. Connor was fishing in a boat on Spruce Run Reservoir when he reeled in the fish at 6:40. Eight-pound test was used. A live herring served for bait. Girth was unavailable.

Bullhead - 15 inches caught by Jack O'Dwyer of Coltsneck on May 5. Jack was fishing at a private farm pond when he reeled in the fish at 8:00 p.m. Four-pound test was used with a Diawa 6 foot rod and a spinning reel. A shiner served as the bait. Girth was unavailable.

Carp - 38 inches caught by Eric M. Mika of Jackson on May 26. Eric was fishing on the banks of the South Barnch of the Raritan River when he reeled in the fish at 9:30 a.m. Eight-pound Stren line was used with Southbend rod and an Ahab ES-200 reel. Corn served as the bait. The girth was 27 inches.

Channel Catfish - 38 inches caught by Joseph Tucker of Phillipsburg on June 16. Joseph was fishing along the shores of a fram pond in Tewksbury when he reeled in the fish at 10:00 p.m. Six-pound test was used with an Ugly Stik rod and a Shakespeare reel. A live shiner served as the bait. The girth was unavailable.

Crappie - 16 inches caught by John B. Muldune of Haskell on May 18. John was fishing from concrete dam on Rainbow Valley Lake when he reeled in the fish at 4:00 p.m. Eight-pound test was used with a Master Angler rod and reel. A baby nightcrawler served as bait. Girth was unavailable.

Muskellunge - 48 inches caught by Enrico Casatelli, Sr. of Paramus on November 4. Enrico was fishing from a boat on Monksville Reservoir when he reeled in the fish at 1:20 p.m. Forty-pound test was used with a Kunnan rod and a Daiwa reel. A reef runner plug served as the lure. Girth was unavailable.

Yellow Perch - 15 inches caught by Joseph Olexa of Bloomsburg, PA on August 12. Joseph was fishing along the shore of Grovers Mill Pond when he reeled in the fish at 9:30 a.m. Eight-pound test was used with a spinning rod and an open-faced reel. A Mr. Twister served as the lure. The girth was unavailable.

Chain Pickerel - 35 inches caught by Sean Flynn of Woodsbury Heights on July 24. Sean was fishing from a boat at the floodgates of the Repaupo when he reeled in the fish at 10:15 a.m. Six-pound test was used with a Shimano rod and reel. A beaver bug was the lure. The girth was unavailable.

American Shad - 26 inches caught by John Punola of Madison on May 2. John was fishing from the shore of the Delaware River in Worthington State Forest when he reeled in the fish at 4:00 p.m. Six-pound test was used with a St. Croix rod and a Daiwa reel. A shad spoon served as the lure. Girth was unavailable.

Sunfish - 11 inches caught by Joseph Olexa of Bloomsburg, PA on April 8. Joseph was fishing from the shore of Trenton State Teacher's College Lake when he reeled in the fish at 2:30 p.m. Six-pound test was used with a spinning rod and an open-faced reel. A twister tail served as the lure. Girth was unavailable.

Walleye - 31 inches caught by Mike Krier of East Windsor on November 10. Mike was fishing from the shore of the Delaware River at Walpack Bend when he landed the fish at 5:30 p.m. Six-pound test was used with a 5' ultralight rod and a spinning reel. A Rapala Jerk Bait served as the lure. Girth was unavailable.

CATCH AND RELEASE CATEGORY SALTWATER SPECIES:

Striped Bass - 45 inches caught by Tara DeLeon of Bloomfield on June 15. Tara was fishing off Shrewsbury Rocks when she landed the fish at 8:00 a.m. Twenty-five pound test was used with a custom rod and a Penn Jigmaster reel. A live bunker as the bait. Girth was unavailable.

Bluefish - 37 inches caught by Tara DeLeon of Bloomfield on June 15. Tara was fishing from off Shrewsbury Rocks when she landed the fish at 8:45 a.m. Twenty-five-pound test was used with a custom rod and a Penn Jigmaster reel. A live bunker as the bait. Girth was unavailable.

Weakfish - 36 inches caught by Frank Ruczynski of Monroeville on May 18. Frank was fishing from wading in a back bay in Avalon when he landed the fish at 3:00 a.m. Fifteen-pound test was used with a G. Loomis spinning rod and a Shimano spinning reel. Zoom super fluke served as the bait. Girth was unavailable.

Congratulations to all of our winners!

Skillful Angler Program
Record Fish Program

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