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2008 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 2008, 168 applications representing 25 different species were officially processed. Since the program's modest beginning, the Division has granted Skillful Angler status to 2,750 anglers.

INTERESTING FACTS:

The most frequently entered species by skillful anglers in 2008 (adult, junior, and catch and release categories combined) were largemouth bass with 15 entries, followed by channel catfish, walleye and chain pickerel.

The following is a breakdown of applications received per species (all categories combined): largemouth bass (15), smallmouth bass (8), striped bass hybrid (9), bullhead (5), carp (4), channel catfish (13), crappie (7), muskellunge (3), yellow perch (7), chain pickerel (13), northern pike (1), American shad (1), brook trout (5), brown trout (5), lake trout (1), rainbow trout (8), sunfish (8), walleye (13), black sea bass (2), striped bass caught in saltwater (12), black drum (3), winter flounder (2), fluke (11), kingfish (4), and weakfish (6).

In 2008, no entries were received for the striped bass freshwater, cod, dolphin, blue marlin, white marlin, pollock, mako shark, tautog, albacore tuna, big eye tuna, bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna and tuna (other) categories.

The catch and release category for weakfish was tied this year.

Homer Tye won for his grass carp entry, which also qualified as the new freshwater record fish entry for that species.

Overall, more freshwater catches (126) were entered than saltwater (42).

The 2008 Skillful Angler Winners are as follows:

ADULT CATEGORY FRESHWATER SPECIES:

Largemouth Bass - 8 lbs, 0 oz. caught by Steven Lytwyn of Chatham on November 16. Steven was fishing from the shore on Lake Surprise in Morris County when he reeled the fish in at 2:00 p.m. Six-pound test was used with an ultralight rod and reel. A Rapala crank bait was used. The fish measured 25 inches in length with a 26-inch girth.

Smallmouth Bass 5 lbs, 5 oz. caught by Douglas Zielaznicki of Bridgewater on July 22. Douglas was fishing from the shore of the Raritan River in Bridgewater when he reeled the fish in at 11:30 a.m. Ten-pound test was used with an 66" medium action rod and spinning reel. A crawfish was used for bait. The fish measured 21 inches in length with a 13-inch girth.

Striped Bass Hybrid - 8 lbs, 11 oz. caught by James Welsh of Andover Newton on September 17. James was fishing from a boat in Lake Hopatcong when he landed the fish. Eight-pound test was used with a spinning rod and reel. A herring served for bait. The fish measured 24- inches in length and had an 18-inch girth.

Bullhead - 2 lbs, 4 oz. caught by Gary Schmidt of Cream Ridge on June 15. Gary was fishing form the shore on a farm pond when he landed the fish. Six-pound test was used with a spinning rod and reel. A nightcrawler served for bait. The fish was 15.125 inches in length and had a 15-inch girth.

Carp - 54 lbs, 7 oz. caught by Homer Tye of Trenton on October 16. Homer was fishing from the shore on Curlis Lake when he landed the fish at 10:30 a.m. Twenty-pound test was used with a spinning rod and reel. Corn meal served for bait. The fish measured 38 inches in length and had a 30-inch girth. It is the current state record fish in the Grass Carp category.

Channel Catfish - 17 lbs, 6 oz. caught by Jim Archambault of Hopatcong on August 10. Jim was fishing from a boat on Lake Hopatcong when he landed the fish. Ten-pound test was used with a Ugly Stik rod and Daiwa reel. Cut bait was used. The fish measured 32 inches in length. Girth was unknown.

Crappie - 3 lbs, 1 oz. caught by Yon Bastedo of Ledgewood on April 19. Yon was fishing from shore at Clinton Reservoir when he hooked the fish. Six-pound test was used with a spinning rod and reel. Joe's fly served for bait. The fish measured 16 inches in length and a 14-inch girth.

Chain Pickerel - 4 lbs, 7 oz. caught by Shawn Dornbalsser of Easton, PA on October 19. Shawn was fishing from a boat on Merrill Creek Reservoir when he landed the fish at 2 p.m. Six-pound test was used with an Ugly Stik rod and a Penn reel. A shiner served as bait. The fish measured 25 inches in length with a 12-inch girth.

Brook Trout - 4 lbs, 0 oz. caught by Ralph Coppola of Roselle Park on April 13. Ralph was fishing from a boat on Farrington Lake when he hooked the fish at 4:35 p.m. Four-pound test was used with a Cabelas Fish Eagle II rod and Quantum Energy PTI reel. A Mepps #3 Black Fury served as the lure. The fish measured 19 inches in length..

Brown Trout - 11 lbs, 0 oz. caught by Steven Struniewski of Riverdale on April 13. Steven was fishing from a boat on Waywayanda Lake in Vernon, NJ when he landed the fish at 4:00 p.m. Six-pound test was used with a spinning rod and a Mitchell 300 spinning reel. A live shiner served as bait. The fish measured 29 inches in length with a 17-inch girth.

Rainbow Trout - 8 lbs, 6 oz. caught by Marty Prusock of Middlesex on May 3. Marty was fishing from a boat on Round Valley Reservoir when he landed the fish at 10:45 a.m. Six-pound test was used with a spinning rod and reel. Shrimp was used to attract the fish. The fish measured 26 inches in length.

Walleye - 8 lbs, 1 oz. caught by Dariusz Gajewski of Ridgewood on October 26. Dariusz was fishing a boat on Lke Hopatcong when he landed the fish. Ten-pound test was used with a spinning rod and reel. A herring was the bait. The fish measured 27 inches in length and had a 16-inch girth.

ADULT CATEGORY SALTWATER SPECIES:

Black Sea Bass - 4 lbs, .20 oz. caught by Joanne K. Heller of Mt. Holly on July 12. Joanne was fishing off a boat when she landed the fish at 12:30 p.m. Thirty-pound test was used with a Calypso Sea Hawk rod and a Penn 930 reel. A minnow and squid rig served for bait. The fish measured 19 inches in length and had an 14-inch girth.

Striped Bass - 59 lbs, 4 oz. caught by Walter Johnson of Medford on June 7. Walter was in a boat when he hooked the fish at 12:15 p.m. Fifteen-pound test line was used with a spinning rod and reel. Bunker served for bait. The fish measured 54 inches in length and had a 31-inch girth.

Black Drum - 85 lbs caught by Anthony R. Sullivan of Egg Harbor Township on October 4. Anthony was fishing the surf when he reeled the fish in at 11:00 a.m. Twenty-pound test line was used with a 10 foot Tsunami rod and a Penn CV8000 reel. Clams were used for bait. The fish measured 53 inches in length and had a 36-inch grirth.

Winter Flounder - 3 lbs, .03 oz. caught by Michael Kenville of Mt. Laurel on April 13. Michael was fishing from a boat on Ludlam Bay, Strathmere when he hooked the fish at 10:00 a.m. Eight-pound test was used with a spinning rod and reel. A mussel served as bait. The fish measured 18 inches in length with a 16-inch girth.

Fluke - 13 lbs, 7 oz. caught by Austin Young of Belmar on August 5. Austin was fishing from a boat when he landed the fish at 7:15 a.m. Twenty-pound test was used with a St. Croix rod and an Abu Garcia reel. Squid served for bait. The fish measured 33 inches in length.

Kingfish - 2 lbs, 1 oz. caught by Ray Stanislawczyk of Highlands on September 28. Ray was fishing from a dock on the Shrewsbury River when he reeled the fish in at 6:00 p.m. Ten-pound test was used with a 6-foot Bass Pro conventional rod and Daiwa bait cast reel. A sandworm served for bait. The fish measured 17 5/8 inches in length. Girth was unavailable.

Weakfish - 16 lbs, 5 oz. caught by Rick Harbina of Belford on May 8. Rick was fishing from the shore of the Shrewsbury River when he landed the fish. Thirty-pound test was used with a conventional Tica rod and a Daiwa reel. A rubber shad served for bait. The fish measured 34 inches in length and had a 20-inch girth.

JUNIOR CATEGORY FRESHWATER SPECIES:

Largemouth Bass - 5 lbs, 4 oz. caught by 10-year-old Morgan A. Patterson of Maple Shade on August 8. Morgan was fishing from the shore on Steinhover Pond in Maple Shade when she reeled the fish in. Ten-pound test was used with a spinning rod and spincaster reel. A nightcrawler served as the bait. The fish measured 22 inches in length and had a 17-inch girth.

Smallmouth Bass - 4 lbs, 0 oz. caught by 7-year-old Justin Dornblaser of Easton, PA on October 4. Justin was fishing from a boat on Merrill Creek Reservoir when he reeled the fish in at 5:00 p.m.. Six-pound test was used with an Ugly Stik rod and Penn spinning reel. A shiner served for bait. The fish measured 19 1/8 inches in length and had a 13-inch girth.

Chain Pickerel - 4 lbs, 4 oz. caught by 11-year-old Nicklas Shimanovich of Jackson on May 5. Nicklas was fishing from the shore of Lake Eno when he landed the fish at 4:30 p.m. Eight-pound test was used with a spinning rod and reel. A shiner served for bait. The fish measured 24 inches in length with a 11-inch girth.

Channel Catfish - 13 lbs, 0 oz. caught by 11-year-old Joey Grieco of Wharton on August 9. Joey was fishing Lake Hopatcong from a dock when he landed the fish. A herring served for bait. The fish measured 30 inches in length and had a 18-inch girth.

Crappie - 1 lbs, 10 oz. caught by 10-year-old Carmelo Calascibetta of Newton on June 28. Carmelo was fishing in Sussex when he landed the fish at 7:35 p.m. Four-pound test was used with a 5' Garcia rod and an Olympic reel. A shiner served as bait. The fish measured 14 inches in length with a 12-inch girth.

Brook Trout - 2 lbs, 8 oz caught by 13-year-old Christopher Robertson of Carneys Point on October 18. Christopher was fishing from the shore of Schadlers Sand Wash when he hooked the fish at 11:15 a.m. Four-pound test was used with an Ugly Stik rod and a Shakespeare reel. The fish measured 16 inches in length and had a 10-inch girth.

Brown Trout - 9 lbs, 3 oz. caught by 5-year-old Luke Tucker of Phillipsburg on April 5. Luke was fishing from the banks of Spring Lake when he landed the fish at 4:30 p.m. Four-pound test was used. An Ugly Stik rod and Libra reel were used. A silver phoebe served for a lure. The fish measured 28 inches in length with a 21-inch girth.

Rainbow Trout - 3 lbs, 15 oz caught by 5-year-old Hailley Morton of New Egypt on April 5. Hailley was fishing from the shore of Spring Lake when she landed the fish at 9:30 a.m. Four-pound test was used with an ultralight rod and spinning reel. Orange power bait was used. The fish measured 20 inches in length. Girth was unknown.

Striped Bass Hybrid - 8 lbs, 11 oz. caught by 12-year-old Kenny Stelmack of Hackettstown on May 4. Kenny was fishing from a boat on Lake Hopatcong when he caught the fish. Six-pound test was used with a spinning rod and reel. A herring served for bait. The fish measured 25 inches in length with a 19-inch girth.

Walleye - 7 lbs, 7 ozs caught by 15-year-old John M. Rogalo of Stanhope on May 5. John was fishing from the shore on Lake Hopatcong when he landed the fish. Eight-pound test was used with a spinning rod and reel. A lure served for bait. The fish measured 26 inches in length.

Yellow Perch - 1 lbs, 8 oz. caught by 12-year-old Tyler Wochermann of Stewartsville on April 26. Tyler was fishing from a boat on Merrill Creek Reservoir when he landed the fish at 9:00 a.m. Ten-pound test was used with a St. Croix rod and Abu Garcia reel. A Rapala served for bait. The fish measured 15 inches in length with a 9-inch girth.

JUNIOR CATEGORY SALTWATER SPECIES:

Black Drum - 65 lbs, 0 oz caught by 13-year-old Kyle Krzyzanowski of South Amboy on June 14. Kyle was fishing the surf when he landed the fish at 5:15 p.m. Thirty-pound test was used with a Shakespeare Alpha rod and an Okuma Salina reel. A clam served for bait.

Black Sea Bass - 4 lbs, 3 oz caught by 14-year-old Elizabeth Semeraro of Walingford, PA on August 9. Elizabeth was fishing from a boat when she landed the fish. Ten-pound test was used with a spinning rod and reel. The fish measured 22 inches in length with a 14-inch girth.

Kingfish - 1 lb, 8 oz caught by 16-year-old Ashley Lucadema of Cape May Court House. Ashley was fishing from a boat on Delaware Bay when she landed the fish at 11:00 a.m. Twenty-pound test was used with a spinning rod and reel. A shedder crab served as bait. Length and girth were unavailable.

Striped Bass - 50 lbs, .45 oz. caught by 13-year-old Jon-Michael Cucinotta of Manahawkin on June 18. Jon_Michael was fishing from a boat in Little Egg Inlet when he hooked the fish at 7:15 p.m. Twenty-pound test was used with a surf rod and a spinning reel. Cut bunker was the bait. The fish measured 51 inches in length with a 27-inch girth.

CATCH AND RELEASE CATEGORY FRESHWATER SPECIES:

Largemouth Bass - 26 inches caught by Tony Settimi of Marlton on March 18. Tony was fishing from the shore of Marlton Pound when he reeled the fish in at 6:30 p.m. Twenty-pound test was used with a Bass Pro Graphite rod and a Shimano Calcutta reel. The lure was a strike king spinner. Girth was unavailable.

Smallmouth Bass - 21 inches caught by Paul Bellero of Sarasota, FL on August 5. Paul was fishing from a boat at Swayzie Mill Park when he reeled the fish in at 2:25 p.m. Eight-pound test was used with a Penn 6' light action rod and a Penn 1000 reel.

Striped Bass Hybrid - 27 inches caught by Christopher Hogan on July 15. Christopher was fishing in a boat on the Manasquan Reservoir when he reeled in the fish at 11:00 a.m. Thirty-pound braided line was used with an Shimano rod and an Abu Garcia reel. A Rapala was used as the lure. Girth was unavailable.

Bullhead - 16.75 inches caught by Edward L. Guth, Jr. of Bridgeton on April 19. Edward was fishing at a Mary Elmer Lake when he reeled in the fish at 9:58 a.m. Fourteen-pound test was used with a Tica Tc2 7' rod and a Shimano Baitrunner 4500B reel. A cut gizzard shad served as the bait. Girth was unavailable.

Carp - 37 inches caught by Domenic Nasuta of Garfield on July 6. Damenic was fishing on the banks of the Passaic River when he reeled in the fish at 12:30 p.m. Six-pound test line was used with a Shimano Graphite Ultralite rod and a Cygnus 2500-B reel. Mulberries served as the bait. The girth was 27 inches.

Crappie - 17 inches caught by Frankie Ruczynski of Monroeville on March 15. Frankie was fishing from the shore at a pond on Whig Lane in Glassboro when he reeled in the fish at 3:00 p.m. Six-pound test line was used with a Loomis rod and Shimano reel. A minnow was the bait. Girth was unavailable.

Muskellunge - 50 inches caught by Brian Smith of Sewell on September 13. Brian was fishing from a boat on Greenwood Lake when he reeled in the fish at 9:30 a.m. Fifty-pound test line was used with a Ugly Stik rod and a spinning reel. A broken back minnow served for bait. Girth was 23 inches.

Yellow Perch - 15 inches caught by Frank Ruczynski of Monroeville on April 9. Frank was fishing from the shore of Wilson Lake when he reeled in the fish at 6:30 p.m. Six-pound test line was used with a G. Loomis rod and a Shimano reel. A minnow served as bait. The girth was unavailable.

Chain Pickerel - 26 inches caught by Don Buonocore of Phillipsburg on My 23. Don was fishing from a boat on Culver Lake when he reeled in the fish at 1:00 p.m. Six-pound test was used with a spinning rod and reel. A Mepps #5 served as the lure. The girth was unavailable.

Northern Pike - 36 inches caught by Luis Acosta of Paterson on March 15. Jeffrey was fishing from the shore along the Passaic River when he landed the fish at 1:34 p.m. Fifty-pound test was used with a Ugly Stik rod and an Okuma Avenger reel. A large shiner served as bait. Girth was unavailable.

American Shad - 25 inches caught by John Punola of Madison on May 1. John was fishing from the shore on the Delaware River north of Dingmans Bridge when he reeled in the fish at 4:30 p.m. Ten-pound test was used with a Berkeley rod and a Daiwa reel. A shad spoon served as the lure. Girth was unavailable.

Brook Trout - 21 inches caught by Steve Giessuebel of Oak Ridge on April 19. Steve was fishing from the shore when he landed the fish at 9:00 a.m. Four-pound test was used with a rod and a spinning reel. A Mepps Aglia #0 Gold served as the lure. Girth was 12 inches.

Rainbow Trout - 23 inches caught by Gary Winter of Woolwich on April 15. Gary was fishing from a boat on Swedesboro Lake when he landed the fish at 6:45. Four-pound test was used with a Falcon UL rod and an Abu Garcia reel. A Strike King Bitsy Pond Minnow Ghost served as the lure. Girth was unavailable.

Lake Trout - 36 inches caught by Henry Martinez of Parsippany on November 17. Henry was fishing from a boat on Round Valley Reservoir when he landed the fish at 10:51 a.m. Twelve-pound test was used with an Ugly Stik rod and a bait runner reel. A Rapala jigging rap served as the lure. Girth was unavailable.

Sunfish - 11 inches caught by 5-year old Mark Moyna of Blairstown on June 10. Mark was fishing from the shore on a farm pond on Ivan Rd. in Knowlton when he reeled in the fish at 7:00 p.m. Ten-pound test was used with a Daiwa rod and reel. A nightcrawler served as bait. Girth was unavailable.

Walleye - 30 inches caught by Michael Rinaldi of North Haledon on November 26. Michael was fishing from a boat on Greenwood Lake when he landed the fish at 9:00 a.m. Ten-pound test was used with a Loomis rod and a Stella reel. A Gotcha Jig served as the lure.

CATCH AND RELEASE CATEGORY SALTWATER SPECIES:

Striped Bass - 44 inches caught by William Mayfield, Jr. of Belmar on June 23. William was fishing off a boat in Belmar when he landed the fish at 8:00 p.m. Twenty-pound test was used with a St. Croix rod and an Abu Garcia reel. A bunker served as the bait. Girth was unavailable.

Bluefish - 39 inches caught by Kelly Walsh of Bloomfield on June 11. Kelly was fishing from a boat on the Shrewsbury Rocks when she landed the fish at 7:30 a.m. Thirty-pound test was used with custom rod and a Penn reel. A bunker served as the bait. The girth was unavailable.

Northern Kingfish - 14 inches caught by Christopher Filosa of Freehold on August 3. Christopher was fishing from a boat on the South Point Pleasant Canal when he landed the fish at 5:30. Thirty-pound test was used with an ultralight rod and a spinning reel. Squid strips served as the bait. The girth was unavailable.

Weakfish - 35 inches caught by Paul Consul of Freehold on June 1. Paul was fishing from a kayak when he landed the fish at 9:00 a.m. Thirty-pound test was used with a Ugly Stik spinning rod and a Penn reel. Bucktail and a Gulp Sand Eel served as the bait. The girth was unavailable.
and
Weakfish - 35 inches caught by Frank Ruczynski of Monroeville on May 2. Frank was fishing the back bay at Ocean City when he landed the fish at 11:00 p.m. Ten-pound test was used with a G. Loomis rod and a Shimano reel. A zoom Super Fluke served as the bait. The girth was 17 inches.

Congratulations to all of our winners!

Skillful Angler Program
Record Fish Program

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Last Updated: May 28, 2009