June 13, 2014 – There were plenty of 4- and 5-pound fish in the area on June 7 to keep weighmasters busy at the 2nd Annual RFA Bass River Classic, but it was the 9.2-pound beast brought in aboard the Kat Lynn II late in the afternoon which really got things jumping over at Breeze’s Bar and Grill on the Bass River.

With a two-fish total weight of 13.48 pounds, Berlin’s Mike Zaleski and his  Kat Lynn II team walked away with a total of $2,200 and the grand prize which will be a permanent engraving at Breeze’s in New Gretna.  Finishing with a 10.85-pound two fish total was Little Egg Harbor’s Ed Pritsch and crew aboard Braking Wind, just edging out the 10.73 pounds aboard the Liquor Box from Tuckerton’s Mike Levance.

Hosted by Viking Yachting Center and Breezes Bar & Grill on the Bass River, the 2014 ‘Bass River Classic’ had a field of 50 boats competing in beautiful weather conditions, a big change over the kickoff season when Tropical Storm Andrea pushed the contest back to the Sunday rain date.

For the 2nd annual ‘classic’ a new Calcutta was introduced for the top five fish on any given boat.  The ‘big bag’ Calcutta for top bag limit of the day went to Pritsch’s Braking Wind with a 23.88-pound bag limit, evidence that there were plenty of 5 pounders to go around.  The tournament boundaries were also increased in 2014, opening up to Barnegat Light and Absecon Inlet, though talks are already underway to expand again slightly in 2015.

In the youth division, the biggest summer flounder for 12 and under went to Anthony Anzaldi aboard the Linda Sea out of Little Egg Harbor captained by Bill Wilcox.  Anthony’s 5.37-pound summer flounder was good for an 18-inch fluke trophy, a $50 cash prize in honor of the late John E. Roberts, and a Penn rod and reel outfit care of Scott’s Bait and Tackle in Mystic Island.  A second place award for 12 and under summer flounder went to Michael Dubler on Pegasus for his 4.89-pound fish, worth a Daiwa Sweepfire spinning outfit donated by Tom P. of Rack n’ Fin radio of ESPN radio out of Atlantic City.  A special junk fish prize of a 12-inch custom shark trophy went to Michael Feldman for a 3.78-pound skate which was cooked up and eaten at the event.

Ideal weather back on the deck at Breeze’s couldn’t keep the gnats nor the tournament participants away, as door prizes featuring a massive cooler filled with gear donated by Allen’s Dock in New Gretna were given out.  One of the tournament highlights in 2014 as in the previous year were several hundred softshell crabs served at the Friday night captain’s meeting care of Dave Showell at Absecon Bay Sportsman Center.

Jim Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) which ran the event said one of the big changes for 2015 will be an expansion of the captains meeting feast into Saturday night’s party.  “Several new sponsors approached us at the tournament itself, so we’re going to blow out some cash on more food and more goodies at the Saturday night awards presentation.”

The 2015 tournament date has already been set as the second Saturday of the month, June 13, 2015.

The second annual ‘Bass River Classic’ to benefit RFA and the Tuckerton Seaport & Museum was a huge success, and couldn’t have been possible without the gracious support of our sponsors including Viking Yachting Center, Breezes Bar & Grill, Scott’s Bait & Tackle, Allen’s Dock on the Bass River, Chestnut Neck Boat Yard, Lamiglas rods, Sea Tow of Atlantic City, Absecon Bay Sportsman, Allen’s Clam Bar, The The Fisherman magazine, Munro’s Marina, John & Sonia’s Luncheonette, Tuckerton Car Wash, Barnegat Light Fiberglass and Supply, Amon Construction, S&S Bucketails, Doyle’s Pour House and the Boat Shop of Manahawkin.

Thanks too to the whole staff at Breeze’s Bar & Grill, which will once again be the host site of the 2015 RFA Bass River Summer Flounder Tournament!