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2009 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. Special recognition is given to the anglers who caught the largest fish in each of the freshwater and marine species categories.

In 2009, 193 applications representing 26 different species were officially processed. Since the program's modest beginning (31 applicants in 1983), the Division has granted Skillful Angler status to 2,941 anglers.

INTERESTING FACTS:

The most frequently entered species by skillful anglers in 2009 (adult, junior, and catch and release categories combined) were rainbow trout with 27 entries, followed by channel catfish, largemouth bass and sunfish.

The following is a breakdown of applications received per species (all categories combined): rainbow trout (27), channel catfish (21), largemouth bass (18), sunfish (15), chain pickerel (14), smallmouth bass (13), walleye (13), crappie (9), fluke (9), striped bass caught in saltwater (9), striped bass hybrid (8), brown trout (6), brook trout (5), yellow perch (5), bullhead (3), weakfish (3), black drum (2), black sea bass (2), muskellunge (2), tautog (2), bluefish (1), carp (1), kingfish (1), lake trout (1), mako shark (1), northern pike (1), and winter flounder (1).

In 2009, no entries were received for the striped bass freshwater, shad, cod, dolphin, blue marlin, white marlin, pollock, albacore tuna, big eye tuna, bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna and tuna (other) categories.

Overall, more freshwater catches (162) were entered than saltwater (31).

The 2009 Skillful Angler Winners are as follows:

ADULT CATEGORY FRESHWATER SPECIES:

Largemouth Bass 9 lbs, 1.45 oz. caught by Charles Colon of Vineland on March 22. Charles was fishing from a canoe at South Vineland Park when he reeled the fish in at 10:30 a.m. Eight-pound test was used with an St. Croix rod and a Calcutta reel. A jig & pig was used as bait. The fish measured 24 inches in length with a 19-inch girth.

Smallmouth Bass 4 lbs, 12 oz. caught by Kevin Scanlon of Lake Hopatcong on April 10. Kevin was fishing in a boat on Lake Hopatcong when he reeled the fish. Six-pound test was used with spinning rod and reel. A grub was used for bait. The fish measured 20 inches in length with a 14-inch girth.

Striped Bass Hybrid 9 lbs, 5 oz. caught by Dominick Sarinelli of Hopatcong on April 25. Dominick was fishing from a boat in Lake Hopatcong when he landed the fish at 7:00 a.m. Six-pound test was used with ultra light rod and Daiwa reel. A herring served for bait. The fish measured 26 inches in length and had an 25-inch girth.

Channel Catfish - 20 lbs, .34 oz. caught by James Keebler of Mantua on February 15. James was fishing the shore of Schadlers Sandwash when he landed the fish at 2:00 p.m. Fifteen-pound test was used with a Penn reel. Nightcrawlers were used. The fish measured 33 inches in length and had a 20-inch girth.

Crappie 2 lbs, 2 oz. caught by Sean Park of Riverside on April 30. Sean was fishing from shore at Crystal Lake in Willingboro when he landed the fish at 7:30 p.m. Six-pound test was used with a St. Croix ultra light rod and reel. A roostertail spinner served for bait. The fish measured 16 inches in length and a 13-inch girth.

Muskellunge 29 lbs, 0 oz. caught by Roman Pera of Wallington on May 24. Roman was fishing from a boat on Lake Hopatcong when he landed the fish in the afternoon. Twelve-pound test was used with a spinning rod and reel. A bomber served as the lure. The fish measured 47 inches in length and had a 20-inch girth.
and
Muskellunge 29 lbs, 0 oz. caught by Henry Czech of Garfield on October 21. Henry was fishing from a boat on Lake Hopatcong when he landed the fish. Pound-test, rod and reel are unknown, but a Rapala Ice Jig served as a lure. The fish measured 48 inches in length. Girth was unknown.

Chain Pickerel 5 lbs, 6 oz. caught by David Sevek of Bushkill, PA, on July 3. David was fishing from a boat on White Lake in Hardwick Township when he landed the fish at 4 p.m. Ten-pound test was used with 6'6" MH Prostrike rod and a baitcasting reel. A spinner served as bait. The fish measured 27-inches in length with a 13-inch girth.

Brook Trout - 4 lbs, 0 oz. caught by Gary Kreckie of North Plainfield on April 11. Gary was fishing from the shore of the Pequest River in Belvidere when he hooked the fish on his first cast at 8:00 a.m. Four-pound test was used with a Daiwa 6' IM8 Graphite rod and Daiwa SS1300 reel. A fathead minnow served as bait. The fish measured 19 inches in length with a 13-inch girth.
and
Brook Trout - 4 lbs, 0 oz. caught by William Reiss of Phillipsburg on February 1. William was fishing from the shore of the Musconetcong River when he hooked the fish. Six-pound test was used with a Shakespeare rod and Daiwa reel. A shiner served as bait. The fish measured 21 inches in length with a 11-inch girth.

Lake Trout 26 lbs, 5.8 oz. caught by David Plichta of Flemington on April 19. David was fishing from a boat on Round Valley Reservoir when he landed the fish at 12:45 p.m. Ten-pound test was used with a Shimano rod and reel. A mega bait 2 oz. jig served as the lure. The fish measured 43 inches in length with a 22-inch girth.

Rainbow Trout 10 lbs, 4 oz. caught by Andrew Robertson of Kearny on May 21. Andrew was fishing from the shore of the Paulinskill River in Fredon when he landed the fish at 6:00 p.m. Four-pound test was used with a St. Croix rod and a Garcia reel. A 1/8 oz. phoebe gold was used to attract the fish. The fish measured 27 inches in length and had a 16-inch girth.

Sunfish 1 lb, 0 oz. caught by Darren Hasara of Milford on July 25. Darren was fishing from the shore of a private farm pond in Hunterdon County when he reeled in the fish. Four-pound test was used with an ultra light spinning rod and reel. An earthworm served as bait. The fish measured 9 inches in length with an 8-inch girth.

Walleye - 10 lbs, 0 oz. caught by Jacek Dziduch of Woodside on December 19. Jacek was fishing a boat on Lake Hopatcong at Nolans Point when he landed the fish at 10:00 a.m. Eight-pound test was used with a spinning rod and reel. A Rapala was the lure. The fish measured 29 inches in length and had a 17-inch girth.

ADULT CATEGORY SALTWATER SPECIES:

Black Sea Bass 4 lbs, .9 oz. caught by Alfred Molina, Jr. of Dumont on June 14. Alfred was fishing off a boat in the Atlantic Highlands when he landed the fish at 11:45 a.m. Thirty-pound test was used with a Mako rod and reel. Clams served for bait. The fish measured 22 inches in length and girth was unknown.

Striped Bass - 52 lbs, 2 oz. caught by Mark Anthony of Tinton Falls on June 9. Mark was in a boat off Asbury Park when he hooked the fish at 12:30 p.m. Thirty-pound Power Pro test line was used with a Loomis rod and Pendent reel. Bunker served for bait. The fish measured 51 inches in length and had a 40-inch girth.

Black Drum 105 lbs caught by Dante Pereyra of Hazlet on October 19. Dante was fishing the shore at Union Beach when he reeled the fish in at 11:00 p.m. Twenty-pound test braided line was used with a Tsunami Airwave 11' 0" rod and an Okuma Y System reel. Clams were used for bait. The fish measured 53-inches in length. Girth was unknown.

Winter Flounder 2 lbs, 3 oz. caught by David Gladysiewicz of Parlin on April 23. David was fishing from a boat on Raritan Bay when he hooked the fish at 8:30 a.m. Fifteen-pound test was used with a 6' baitcasting rod and reel. A sandworm served as bait. The fish measured 18 inches in length. Girth was unknown.

Fluke - 12 lbs, 12 oz. caught by Gary Read of South Amboy on June 7. Gary was fishing from a boat at Sandy Hook when he landed the fish at 10:00 a.m. Twenty-pound Power Pro was used with a St. Croix rod and a Shimano Sustain S-Pro reel. Berkley Powerbait Mullet served for bait. The fish measured 29-inches in length with a 27-inch girth.

Kingfish 1 lbs, 1 oz. caught by Doug Perkins of Palmary on October 16. Doug was fishing from the surf at Sea Isle City when he reeled the fish in at 9:30 a.m. Thirty-pound test was used with a spinning rod and reel. Bait was used. The fish measured 14 inches in length and had a 7-inch girth.

Mako Shark 368 lbs, 0 oz. caught by Shawn Burns of Barnegat on June 26. Shawn was fishing off a boat inshore from 25 Fathom Hole when he landed the fish at 10:30 a.m. Eighty-pound test was used with a Penn Custom rod and Penn reel. A mackerel served as bait. The fish measured 8' 10" and girth was unavailable.

Tautog 13 lbs, .22 oz. caught by Pete Gray of Pennsauken on April 25. Pete was fishing from off the boat, Super Chic, captained by Ted White, at Garden State North when he landed the fish at 12:30 p.m. Sixty-five pound braided line was used with a Custom rod and Accurate reel. A green crab served as bait. The fish measured 26 inches in length with a 20 3/8-inch girth.

Weakfish 15 lbs, 10 oz. caught by Phil LaGrossa of Toms River on May 5. Phil was fishing from a boat on Barnegat Bay when he landed the fish at 5:00 p.m. Seventeen-pound test was used with a Tica rod and a Penn 6500 reel. A plug served as the lure. The fish measured 37 inches in length and had an unknown girth.

JUNIOR CATEGORY FRESHWATER SPECIES:

Largemouth Bass 6 lbs, 8 oz. caught by 10-year-old Alex Lospinuso of Newton on March 8. Alex was fishing from the shore of a farm pond in Frankford Township when he reeled the fish in at 2:00 p.m. Eight-pound test was used with a Zebco graphite rod and a Zebco Omega reel. Live bait was used. The fish measured 22 inches in length had a 13-inch girth.

Smallmouth Bass 3 lbs, 7 oz. caught by 10-year-old Chase Krentz of Branchville on July 22. Chase was fishing from a boat on Culver Lake when he reeled the fish in at 9:20 a.m. Fourteen-pound test was used with a Quantum 6' rod and reel. A Mann's yellow tiger crank served as the lure. The fish measured 19 inches in length and had a 13-inch girth.

Striped Bass Hybrid 8 lbs, 3 oz. caught by 12-year-old Marie Archambault of Hopatcong on May 1. Marie was fishing from a boat on Lake Hopatcong when she caught the fish at 9:30 p.m. Eight-pound test was used with an Ugly Stik rod and spinning reel. A crank bait was the lure. The fish measured 26 inches in length with an unknown girth.

Channel Catfish - 14 lbs, 0 oz. caught by 8-year-old Justin Dornblaser of Easton, PA, on November 14. Justin was fishing Swartswood Lake from a boat when he landed the fish at 10:00 a.m. A shiner served for bait. The fish measured 31 inches in length and had an 18-inch girth.

Crappie - 2 lbs, 7 oz. caught by 8-year-old Kelly Murphy of Layton on May 8. Kelly was fishing from the shore of Kittatinny Lake when she landed the fish at 7:45 p.m. Two-pound test was used with a Fenwick rod and a Browning 500 reel. A fathead minnow served as bait. The fish measured 16 7/8 inches in length with a 12-inch girth.

Chain Pickerel - 6 lbs, 0 oz. caught by 8-year-old Justin Dornblaser of Easton, PA, on November 27. Justin was fishing from a boat on Merrill Creek Reservoir when he landed the fish at 12:00 p.m. Ten-pound test was used with a Daiwa rod and reel. A shiner served for bait. The fish measured 26 inches in length with a 14-inch girth.

Brook Trout - 2 lbs, .32 oz. caught by 14-year-old Christopher Robertson of Carneys Point on April 18. Christopher was fishing from the shore of Schadlers Sand Wash when he hooked the fish at 9:30 a.m. Four-pound test was used with Mitchell spinning rod and reel. Bait was used. The fish measured 16 inches in length and had a 9-inch girth.

Brown Trout 6 lbs, 12 oz. caught by 15-year-old Kelsey Rinehart of Stewartsville on May 5. Kelsey was fishing from the banks of Pohatcong Creek when she landed the fish at 5:10 p.m. Four-pound test was used with a Mitchell rod and reel. A panther martin spinner served for a lure. The fish measured 24 inches in length with a 12-inch girth.

Walleye - 6 lbs, 6 oz. caught by 15-year-old Tommy Fernandez of Hopatcong on September 1. Tommy was fishing from a boat on Lake Hopatcong when he landed the fish at 9:15 a.m. Eight-pound test was used with a spinning rod and reel. A herring served for bait. The fish measured 25 inches in length and had a 14-inch girth.

JUNIOR CATEGORY SALTWATER SPECIES:

Striped Bass - 42 lbs, 8 oz. caught by 13-year-old Quinn Overcash of Cape May Court House on November 7. Quinn was fishing from a boat in Delaware Bay when he hooked the fish at 8:45 a.m. Thirty-pound test was used with a Shimano rod and Shimano 6500 reel. Bunker was the bait. The fish measured 48 inches in length with a 24-inch girth.

Fluke 11 lbs, 7 oz. caught by 12-year-old Justin Weeast of Eastampton on August 15. Justin was fishing from a boat at the Ocean City reef site when he landed the fish a3:30 p.m.Twenty-five-pound test was used with a conventional rod and reel. A squid/minnow combo served for bait. The fish measured 29 inches in length with a 25" girth.

Tautog 11 lb, 10 oz. caught by 11-year-old Brendan Graham of Manahawkin. Brendan was fishing from a boat at Garden State South when he landed the fish at 9:00 a.m. Fifty-pound test was used with a conventional rod and reel. A crab served as bait. The fish was 25 inches in length with a 19-inch girth.

CATCH AND RELEASE CATEGORY FRESHWATER SPECIES:

Largemouth Bass 26 inches caught by Mike McKenna of Medford on July 7. Mike was fishing from a boat on Oakwood Lake in Medford when he reeled the fish in at 7:45 p.m. Eight-pound test was used with a 5'6" Pfluger rod and a spinning reel. The lure was a jointed Rapala floating minnow. The girth was 24 inches.

Smallmouth Bass 21 inches caught by Shawn Dornblasser of Easton, PA, on May 9. Shawn was fishing from a boat on Merrill Creek Reservoir when he reeled the fish in at 4:00 p.m. Six-pound test was used with a Shimano rod and a Penn reel. A shiner served as bait.

Bullhead 16 inches caught by Edward L. Guth, Jr. of Bridgeton on April 12. Edward was fishing at a Mary Elmer Lake when he reeled in the fish at 9:00 a.m. Ten-pound test was used with a Browning spinning rod and a Browning 3000 reel. A cut gizzard shad served as the bait. Girth was unavailable.

Carp 35 inches caught by George R. Horvath of Trenton on May 3. George was fishing from the shore at an undisclosed location when he reeled in the fish at 7:14 p.m. Twelve-pound test line was used with a Ugly Stik rod and a Shimano reel. Corn served as the bait. The girth was 23 inches.

Channel Catfish 32 inches caught by Christopher Filosa of Freehold on October 6. Christopher was fishing from the shore at Passion Puddle at Rutgers when he reeled in the fish at 2:00 p.m. Ten-pound test line was used with an Ugly Stik rod and a Shimano reel. Secret catfish bait on a hook was used to attract the fish. Girth was unavailable.

Crappie 16 inches caught by Sean Flynn of Woodbury Heights on October 4. Sean was fishing from a boat at Salem Canal when he reeled in the fish. Eight-pound test line was used with a Shimano rod and reel. A senko was the lure of choice. Girth was unavailable.

Yellow Perch 14 inches caught by Steven Lytwyn of Chatham on November 4. Steven was fishing from the shore of Splitrock Reservoir when he reeled in the fish at 1:00 p.m. Stren line was used with an ultra light rod and a spinning reel. A Rapala served as the lure. The girth was 10 inches.

Chain Pickerel 27 inches caught by Mike McKenna of Medford on July 29. Mike was fishing from a boat on Oakwood Lake in Medford when he reeled in the fish at 4:30 p.m. Ten-pound test was used with a Mastouch rod and a spinning reel. A 3/8 oz. white double bladed spinnerbait served as the lure. The girth was 10.5 inches.

Northern Pike 36 inches caught by Arthur N. Carlson of Dover on June 22. Arthur was fishing from the shore at Budd Lake when he landed the fish at 2:00 p.m. Six-pound test was used with a spinning rod and reel. A spinner served as the lure. Girth was 15 inches.

Brown Trout 27 inches caught by Kirk Banis of Bangor, PA on May 20. Kirk was fishing from a boat on Merrill Creek reservoir when he landed the fish at 6:30 p.m. Ten-pound test was used with a Shakespeare rod and a Daiwa reel. A spoon served as the lure. Girth was unavailable.

Rainbow Trout 24 inches caught by Bob Gordon of Millville on May 20. Bob was wading in Pohatcong Creek when he landed the fish at 10:15 a.m. 5X tippet was used with a 7'6" 4 wt St. Croix fly rod and an Orvis reel. A size 16 Pheasant Tail Nymph served as the lure. Girth was unknown.

Sunfish 10 inches caught by 13-year old Aaron Clark of Millville on September 6. Aaron was fishing from the shore at Shaws Mill Pond when he reeled in the fish at 4:18 p.m. Six-pound test was used with a spinning rod and reel. A worm served as bait. Girth was 6 inches.
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Sunfish 10 inches caught by Darren A. Hasara of Milford on August 1. Darren was fishing from the shore at a private farm pond in Hunterdon County when he reeled in the fish at 6:00 p.m. Four-pound test was used with a spinning rod and reel. An earthworm served as bait. Girth was 9.25 inches.

Walleye 28 inches caught by Nicholas A. Marchitto of Hopatcong on October 12. Nicholas was fishing from theshorer at Lake Hopatcong when he landed the fish at 5:30 p.m. Six-pound test was used with a Shimano rod and a reel. A herring served as the bait. Girth was unavailable.

CATCH AND RELEASE CATEGORY SALTWATER SPECIES:

Striped Bass 45 inches caught by William Mayfield, Jr. of Belmar on June 19. William was fishing off a boat in Belmar when he landed the fish at 11:00 a.m. Twenty-pound test was used with a St. Croix rod and a Penn reel. A bunker served as the bait. Girth was unavailable.

Bluefish 33 inches caught by Bill Vivona of Bound Brook on August 1. Bill was fishing from a boat on the Shrewsbury Rocks when he landed the fish at 6:00 p.m. Forty-pound test was used with custom rod and a Penn reel. A bunker served as the bait. The girth was unavailable.

Congratulations to all of our winners!

Skillful Angler Program
Record Fish Program

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Last Updated: June 25, 2010