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. Bass 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. In the event of a tie, the first entry by date 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 or text 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 was originally 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).

Due to the cyclical fish population decline, VHFC amended the rules so that starting in 2024, the award will be based on total points for any of up to six species – Bluefish, Seabass, Striped Bass, Flounder, Blackfish and Weakfish. Points are earned based on the length of the fish, and the club angler who has the most yearly points per the table that follows, will win the award for that year.  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 or other prominent location.

The table below has the point totals for all species:

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

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 a local tackle shop (no expiration). For 2024, there are 29 FOM adult awards and 5 Junior Angler Only awards each for a $50 certificate. Junior Anglers are members who have not turned 18 by the May 10th meeting. Junior Angler entries can also be entered for regular awards but if a Junior Angler wins the regular award, they must enter another fish for Junior Angler consideration. There are also Surf Only contests for Fluke, Striped Bass and Bluefish and a contest running from 1 March through 31 December for an unlimited size Striped Bass. Anglers should take a photo showing the length before quickly releasing the fish. See the following tables for details.

2024 Fish of the Month Contests (29 Awards & 5 Junior Angler Only Awards)

2024 Junior Angler Only Awards

Month Fish
1 April – 30 September White Perch
1 April – 30 September Bluefish
1 June – 30 September Kingfish
1 June – 30 September Blowfish
4 May – 25 September Fluke    

2024 Awards


Month Fish
1 March – 30 June Striped Bass 
1 March – 30 June (Surf Only) Striped Bass 
1 March – 31 December (No Size Limit) Striped Bass 
1 March – 30 September Bluefish
1 March – 30 September (Surf Only) Bluefish
1 March – 31 October White Perch
1 March – 31 December Red Drum
1 March – 31 December Black Drum
1-30 April & 1 August – 30 September Blackfish
1 April – 30 June Weakfish
1 April – 31 October Blowfish
1 April – 31 October Kingfish
1 May – 30 November Triggerfish
1 May – 30 November Porgy
17 May – 19 June  Sea Bass
4 May – 30 June Fluke
4 May – 25 Sept (Surf Only) Fluke
1 – 31 July Fluke
1 – 31 July Sea Bass
1 July – 31 October Weakfish
1 – 31 August Fluke
1 – 31 August Seabass
1 – 27 September Fluke
1 Oct – 31 Dec Bluefish
1 Oct – 31 Dec (Surf Only) Bluefish
1 Oct – 31 Dec Striped Bass
1 Oct – 31 Dec Surf Only) Striped Bass
1 Oct – 31 Dec Blackfish
1 Oct – 31 Dec Sea Bass

All awards will be $50 gift certificates to a local tackle shop. 

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. 

If no entry is made for a species for a specific month, the award will be added to the next period in 2024 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 1 March – 30 September, 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.

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