VHFC Contest Rules

There are several contests that the club runs during the calendar year. The general rules applicable to all contests are listed below. Rules specific for each contest appear after the contest description.

      • Only a paid-up VHFC member’s fish will count.
      • All lapsed dues must be paid up a minimum of 24 hours prior to any fish being entered.
      • All fish will be judged based on length only. All anglers should measure their fish using a yardstick, retractable metal tape, aluminum fish ruler or adhesive boat tape ruler. Do not use a cloth tailor’s tape since they stretch or can shrink over time.
      • Place your fish on top of the ruler and measure from the tip of the closed mouth to the center / fork of the tail except for Striped Bass. Striped Bass must be measured per NJ F&W guidelines. Only fish less than 38” may be entered and MUST be measured from the most forward point of the head with the mouth closed, to the farthest tip of the tail with the tail compressed or squeezed, while the fish is lying on its side. The first entry by date closest to 38” will be the winner. Due to their sloping tail, Kingfish are measured to the bottom of the tail fin.
      • Take a picture using either your camera or iPhone making sure the entire fish and the start of the ruler is in the frame with the measuring device visible. We will enlarge the photo to read the measurement.
      • Email your photo to Weighmaster Pat Presutto with a backup copy to Ed Valitutto. Both emails are available in the VHFC Newsletter. Include your name, where caught and length assessment in inches. The date and time your email is received will be your entry’s time tag.
      • Winning entry will be determined by Weighmaster Pat Presutto. If entries are too close for a decision, then the first entry received will be the winner. Therefore, take a clear photo and enter it ASAP!
      • The fish must be caught in Ocean County, NJ waters, or from a boat, which left from Ocean County and returned to Ocean County. Head boats leaving from Pt Pleasant are legal; boats leaving from Brielle are not!
      • All Fish must be entered within 24 hours of being caught.
      • The fish must be legally caught by rod and reel.
      • Slot stripers can be entered but must show the bonus tag attached.
      • Co-members (Spouses) and Junior members (as defined in our By-Laws) are also eligible for entering fish.
      • Bluefish minimum size reduced to 14 inches for entry.
      • Striped Bass, Bluefish, Sea Bass and Blackfish can be entered until 31 December for all contests.

We have three year-long contests: Melanie Boytos Award, Fish of the Year and Fish of the Month

Melanie Boytos Award 

At our May 9th, 2008 meeting, Jim Hutchinson Sr. unveiled an annual tribute to our dearly departed friend Captain Melanie Boytos. Captain Melanie, also known as the Fisherqueen, was a close friend of this club and its members. Many of our members enjoyed the pleasure of fishing with her in and around the Barnegat Inlet area. This tribute will be in the form of an annual award for the VHFC angler of the year. Since Captain Melanie primarily fished for Fluke, Weakfish, Striped Bass and Bluefish, the award will be based on catching one of each of these coveted species. In our area, catching all four of these species is known as a Grand Slam (or Inshore Slam). Points will be awarded based on the size of the fish, and the club angler who has the most points at the end of the year, will win the award for that year.  To honor Captain Mel’s fishing prowess, you must complete the Grand Slam by entering at least one of each species over the course of the year to be eligible to win. Multiple fish of each species can be entered but only the largest fish (highest point total) will count towards the award. The annual winner’s name will be engraved onto a plaque that will be displayed at the VHFC clubhouse.

Due to the cyclical fish population decline, VHFC amended the rules to include a fifth fish into the mix – Black Sea Bass – for which Captain Melanie also had a fondness. Therefore, the award will be based on point totals of 4 of the 5 qualifying fish with the original four getting preferential consideration in keeping with the original Inshore Grand Slam.  The table below has been updated to show the point totals for Black Sea Bass:

PTS FLUKE WEAKFISH STRIPED BASS BLUFISH SEA BASS
1 18 to <18.5 in 13 to <15 in 24 to <28 in 14 to <21 in 12.5 to <14 in
2 18.5 to <19 in 15 to <16 in 28 to <34 in 21 to <22 in 14 to <16 in
3 19 to <20 in 16 to <17 in 34 to <38 in 22 to <23 in 16 to <18 in
4 20 to <21 in 17 to <19 in 38 to <42 in 23 to <24 in 18 to <20 in
5 21 to <22 in 19 to <20 in 42 to <44 in 24 to <26 in 20 to <22 in
6 22 to <23 in 20 to <22 in 44 to <46 in 26 to <28 in 22 to <23 in
7 23 to <24 in 22 to <24 in 46 to <48 in 28 to <30 in 23 to <24 in
8 24 to <25 in 24 to <25 in 48 to <50 in 30 to <32 in 24 to <25 in
9 25 to <26 in 25 to <26 in 50 to <54 in 32 to <34 in 25 to <26 in
10 26 in and up 26 in and up 54 in and up 34 in and up 26 in and up

Any 4 of the 5 eligible species entered will qualify a member for this award. To give preference to the original “Inshore Grand Slam” intent, any members’ catch of the original 4 species, regardless of point total, will supersede that of any other members’ catch which includes 3 of the original species and Black Sea Bass. (Note that if more than one member catches the original 4 species, the highest point total will determine the winner).

Fish of the Year Awards Trophies will be awarded to the anglers catching the largest fish in each of the following species: Blackfish, Weakfish, Bluefish, Fluke, Seabass & Striped Bass

Fish-of-the-Month Awards for various species are shown below. 

The largest fish caught during the specified period will be awarded a $50 gift certificate to Fisherman’s Headquarters (no expiration). There are 26 FOM awards for a $50 FHQ certificate and 4 Young Angler $25 FHQ awards. Young Anglers are Junior members who are 12 or under by the May meeting (May 13). The awards are for Fluke, White Perch, Kingfish and Blowfish. Young Angler entries will also be entered for regular awards but if a Young Angler wins the regular award, their entry is removed from Young Angler consideration. There are also Surf Only contests for Fluke, Striped Bass and Bluefish. See the following tables for details.

2022 Fish of the Month Contests (26 Regular Awards & 4 Young Angler Awards)

2022 Young Angler Awards

Month Fish Name Size
1 April – 30 June  White Perch    
1 June – 31 August  Kingfish    
1 June – 31 August  Blowfish    
1 June – 31 August  Fluke    

2022 Regular Awards

Month Fish Name Size
15 March – 30 June  Striped Bass     
15 March – 30 June Surf Only  Striped Bass     
15 March – 30 June  Bluefish    
15 March – 30 June Surf Only  Bluefish    
15 March – 30 June  White Perch    
1 April – 30 June  Weakfish    
1 April – 30 June  Blowfish    
1 April – 30 June  Kingfish    
02 May – 30 June  Fluke    
02 May – 27 September  Fluke Surf Only    
17 May – 19 June Sea Bass    
1 – 31 July  Seabass    
1 – 31 July  Fluke    
1 July – 31 October  White Perch    
1 July – 31 October  Weakfish    
1 July – 31 October  Blowfish    
1 July – 31 October  Kingfish    
1 – 31 August  Fluke    
1 – 31 August  Sea Bass    
1 – 27 September  Fluke    
1 October – 31 December  Bluefish    
1 October – 31 December  Bluefish Surf Only    
1 October – 31 December  Striped Bass    
1 October – 31 December  Striped Bass Surf Only    
1 October – 31 December  Blackfish    
7 October – 31 December (Closed 27 – 31 October) Sea Bass    

All awards will be $50 gift certificates to Fisherman’s Headquarters. Young Angler awards will be $25 gift certificates.

Fish must be caught off land / surf in Ocean County NJ or from a boat launched and returned to Ocean County NJ.

Bluefish must be 14 inches minimum for entry. Slot stripers can be entered but must show the bonus tag attached. Only Stripers less than 38″ can be entered.

If no entry is made for a species for a specific month, the award will be added to the next period in 2022 that species is offered. This will repeat until the end of the current year. If no entry has been made by year’s end, the award will remain with VHFC. Example: If there is no bluefish entry for 15 March – 30 June, the bluefish award for 1 October – 31 December now becomes $100!

There are no Fish of the Month awards for January & February. Legal fish caught during those months still qualify for Fish of the Year & MBA.

Fishing Facts

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