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2014 New Jersey Skillful Angler Awards Winners

This year marks the 32nd anniversary of the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Skillful Angler Program. For more than three decades, the Division has been recognizing anglers who catch fish of “not quite record” size, but large enough to have tested the angler’s skill and be worthy of recognition in each of the freshwater and marine species categories.

The Skillful Angler Awards Program, is designed to supplement the New Jersey State Record Fish Program. In 2014, the program underwent minor changes including a change in name to the Skillful Angler Recognition Program and a requirement to submit two photos. Significant changes are in place for 2015.

In 1983, the program began with 31 applicants. In 2014, 53 applications representing 19 different species were officially processed. Since the program’s modest beginning, the Division has granted skillful angler status to 3,605 anglers.

INTERESTING FACTS:

The most frequently entered species by skillful anglers in 2014 (Adult, Junior, and Catch and Release categories combined) were Largemouth Bass with 7 applications, followed by Smallmouth Bass and Bullhead with 6 applications each.

The following is a breakdown of applications received per species (all categories combined) by fresh and salt water.

Freshwater:
Largemouth Bass (7), Smallmouth Bass (6), Striped Bass Hybrid (2), Bullhead (6), Carp (1), Channel Catfish (0), Crappie (4), Muskellunge (0), Yellow Perch (1), Chain Pickerel (5), Northern Pike (2), American Shad (1), Brook Trout (0), Brown Trout (1), Lake Trout (0), Rainbow Trout (2), Atlantic Landlocked Salmon (0), Sunfish (5), and Walleye (3).

Saltwater:
Black Sea Bass (0), Striped Bass Saltwater (4), Black Drum (0), Bluefish (1), Cod (0), Dolphin (0), Winter Flounder (0), Fluke (2), Kingfish (0), Blue Marlin (0), White Marlin (0), Pollock (0), Mako Shark (0), Tautog (0), Albacore Tuna (0), Big Eye Tuna (0), Bluefin Tuna (0), Yellowfin Tuna (0), Tuna (Other) (0) and Weakfish (0).

In 2014, no entries were received for the Striped Bass Freshwater, Channel Catfish, Muskellunge, Brook Trout, Lake Trout, Atlantic Landlocked Salmon, Black Sea Bass, Black Drum, Cod, Dolphin, Winter Flounder, Kingfish, Mako Shark, Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Pollock, Tautog, Albacore Tuna, Big Eye Tuna, Bluefin Tuna, Yellowfin Tuna, Tuna (Other) and Weakfish categories.

The Catch and Release category had the most number of entries with 37 applications, followed by the Adult category with 11 applications and the Junior category with 5 applications.

Shawn Dornblasser of Phillipsburg won two Adult categories for Smallmouth Bass and Bullhead. He also won a Catch and Release category for a Crappie.

Michael D’Orio won one Junior category for a Brown Trout and one Catch and Release category for a Carp.

The 2014 Skillful Angler Winners are as follows:

ADULT CATEGORY FRESHWATER SPECIES:

Largemouth Bass – 8 lbs, 9 oz. caught by Arthur H. Huttemeyer, Sr. of Budd Lake on October 14. Arthur was fishing from a boat on Lake Hopatcong when he landed the fish at 9:30 a.m. Seventeen pound test was used with an Ugly Stik rod and Penn reel. A homemade fly served as the lure. The fish measured 24.5 inches in length and had a 19-inch girth.

Smallmouth Bass – 4 lbs, 8 oz. caught by Shawn Dornblasser of Phillipsburg on August 11. Shawn was fishing from a boat on Merrill Creek Reservoir when he landed the fish at 8:30 a.m. Ten pound test was used a Daiwa rod and reel. A jig served for the lure. The fish measured 21-inches in length and had a 13.5-inch girth.

Bullhead – 3 lbs, 0 oz. caught by Shawn Dornblasser of Phillipsburg on February 9. Shawn was using a tip up through the ice on Budd Lake when he landed the fish. A shiner served as the bait. The fish measured 17 inches in length and had an 11-inch girth.

Rainbow Trout – 10 lbs, 8 oz. caught by Francis Kuchinski of Matawan on November 25. Francis was wading the South Branch of the Raritan River when he landed the fish at 10:15 a.m. Six pound fly line was used with a 7.5’ Cortland Crown II fly rod with a conventional fly reel. A worm was the bait. The fish measured 24.25 inches in length and had a 17.75-inch girth.

ADULT CATEGORY SALTWATER SPECIES:

Striped Bass – 52 lbs, 0 oz. caught by Mark Thomas Pownall of Philadelphia, PA, on May 25. Mark was fishing the surf at 2nd Avenue in North Wildwood Beach when he landed the fish at 3:00 p.m. Eighteen pound test was used with a Penn 10’ rod and a Penn 650SS reel. A clam 7/0 served as bait. The fish measured 50 inches in length. Girth was unknown.

Fluke – 10 lbs, 3 oz. caught by Paul Haertel of Clifton on August 21. Paul was fishing from a boat in Barnegat Inlet when he landed the fish at 7:15 p.m. He used a conventional rod and reel. A snapper served as the bait. The fish measured 29.5 inches in length and had a 22.5-inch girth.

JUNIOR CATEGORY FRESHWATER SPECIES:

Striped Bass Hybrid – 6 lbs, 8 oz. caught by 12-year-old Jeffrey J. Crawford of Washington on August 19. Jeffrey was fishing from a boat on Lake Hopatcong when he caught the fish at 10:15 a.m. Eight pound test was used with a 6.5’ rod and a bait cast reel. A herring was used as bait. The fish measured 24 inches in length and had a 17-inch girth.

Bullhead – 1 lbs, 15 oz caught by 7-year-old Ella Yanuzzelli of Sparta on August 15. Ella was fishing at Weldon Brook when she landed the fish at 8:45 a.m. Eight pound test was used with a medium action rod and a spin cast reel. A nightcrawler served as bait. The fish measured 16 inches in length and had a 9-inch girth.

Chain Pickerel – 4 lbs, 8 oz. caught by 7-year-old Dylan Cole of Newton on March 1. Dylan was fishing through the ice on Lake Hopatcong when he landed the fish. He was using a tip up. A shiner served as the bait. Length and girth were unknown.

Brown Trout – 5 lbs, 14 oz. caught by 15-year-old Michael D’Orio of Bridgeton on May 12. Michael was fishing in Mary Elmer Lake when he landed the fish at 6:45 p.m. Six pound test was used with a Berkely Amp rod and a Shakespeare reel. Corn was the bait of choice. The fish measured 25 inches in length and had a 13.5-inch girth.

CATCH AND RELEASE CATEGORY FRESHWATER SPECIES:

Largemouth Bass – 23.5 inches caught by Rich Fackler of Pittsgrove on October 18. Rich was fishing from a boat on Parvin Lake when he reeled the fish in at 7:00 a.m. Fourteen pound test was used with a Shimano rod and a Daiwa reel. A spinner bait served as the lure. The girth was unknown.

Smallmouth Bass – 22 inches caught by David Weidnor of Boiling Springs, SC, on June 15. David was fishing from a boat on Merrill Creek Reservoir when he reeled the fish in at 7:30 p.m. Ten pound test was used with a Daiwa rod and reel. A worm was the bait of choice. The girth was unknown.

Striped Bass Hybrid – 26 inches caught by Derek Dean of Sparta on May 3. Derek was fishing from a boat on Lake Mohawk when he reeled in the fish at 6:30 p.m. Ten pound test was used with a rod and an open reel. A rattle shad served as the lure. The girth was 15 inches.

Bullhead – 15.75 inches caught by Christopher Pereira of Hopatcong on October 3. Christopher was fishing from the shore of Ortley Pond when he reeled in the fish at 6:50 p.m. Ten pound test was used with a Daiwa rod and a Pfleuger reel. Corn served as the bait. Girth was unavailable.

Carp – 35.5 inches caught by Michael D’Orio of Bridgeton on May 10. Michael was fishing from the shore of Mary Elmer Lake when he reeled in the fish at 10:00 a.m. Six pound test line was used with a Shakespeare rod and reel. Corn served as the bait. The girth was 23 inches.

Crappie – 15.8 inches caught by Shawn Dornblasser of Phillipsburg on August 11. Shawn was fishing from a boat on Spruce Run Reservoir when he reeled in the fish at 6:30 p.m. Ten pound test was used with an Ugly Stik rod and a Shimano reel. A crank bait was used to attract the fish. Girth was unknown.

Yellow Perch – 13 inches caught by Vincent Santroni, Jr. of Mantua on September 30. Vincent was fishing from a boat on Sycamore Lake when he reeled in the fish at 5:45 p.m. Six pound test line was used with a Cabela’s 5’6” Mag Touch rod and an Abu Garcia spinningreel. A Cotton Cordell Firetiger Crankbait served as the lure. The girth was unknown.

Chain Pickerel – 27 inches caught by Bradley Garie of Dover on February 22. Bradley was fishing through the ice on Lake Shawnee when he landed the fish at 1:30 p.m. He was fishing with a tip up. A shiner served as the bait. Girth was unknown. The fish placed 1st in the Lake Shawnee Ice Fishing Contest.

Northern Pike – 42.5 inches caught by Jeremy N. Duca of Helmetta on March 1. Jeremy was ice fishing on Pines Lake when he landed the fish at 3:00 p.m. Thirty pound test was used with a tip up. A shiner served as the bait. The girth measured 23 inches.

American Shad – 15 inches caught by Greg Liston of Phillipsburg on May 7. Greg was fishing from the shore of the Delaware River when he landed the fish at 4:00 p.m. Six pound test line was used with a spinning rod and reel. A flutter spoon was the lure. Girth was unavailable.

Rainbow Trout – 27 inches caught by Donna Stryker of Three Bridges on June 14. Donna was fishing from a boat at Round Valley Reservoir when she landed the fish at 11:45 a.m. Six pound test was used with a 5’ spinning rod and reel. A lure attracted the fish. Girth was unknown.

Sunfish – 10.5 inches caught by Glenn Platvoet of Franklin on June 28. Glenn was fishing from a boat on Franklin Pond when he reeled in the fish at 2:00 p.m. Six pound test was used with a 6’ Daiwa rod and an Okuma reel. A plastic jig served as the lure. Girth was unknown.

Walleye – 26 inches caught by Dan Pryor of Bridgewater on December 6. Dan was fishing from the shore on the Delaware River when he reeled in the fish at 6:00 p.m. Ten pound test was used with a Rhino rod and a spinning reel. A shiner served as the bait. Girth was unknown.

CATCH AND RELEASE CATEGORY SALTWATER SPECIES:

Striped Bass – 46.75 inches caught by David J. Howard of Arlington, VA on June 8. David was from a boat out of Point Pleasant when he landed the fish at 6:20 am. Thirty pound test was used with a 7’ Airwave rod and an Avet conventional reel. A bunker served as the bait. Girth was unavailable.

Bluefish – 38 inches caught by Larry Newman of Brick on June 6. Larry was fishing from a kayak in Barnegat Bay near F cove when he landed the fish. Thirty pound braid was used with a St. Croix rod and a Quantum Cabo reel. A popper served as the lure. The girth was unavailable.