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 of the tail. No bunching the tail fin together or counting that little dangler on a seabass. 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.
      • Stripers over 38″ can be entered but please handle the fish carefully and quickly take a photo before releasing it.
      • Co-members and Junior members (as defined in our By-Laws) are also eligible for entering fish.

New for 2021: Bluefish minimum size reduced to 20 inches for entry.

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 Weakfish 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:

1 18 to <18.5 in 13 to <15 in 24 to <28 in 20 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 17 FOM awards for 2021. 

Time Period


1 March – 30 June (2 Awards) Striped Bass & Bluefish
1 April – 31 October (1 Award) White Perch
1 April – 31 October (1 Award) Weakfish
1 May – 31 October (1 Award) Blowfish
1 May – 31 October (1 Award) Kingfish
22 May – 30 June (1 Award)
23 May – 19 June (1 Award)
Sea Bass
1 – 31 July (2 Awards) Fluke & Sea Bass
1 – 31 August (2 Awards) Fluke & Sea Bass
1 – 19 September (1 Award) Fluke 
1  October – 30 November (3 Awards)  Blackfish & Bluefish & Striped Bass
22 October – 30 November (1 Award)  Sea Bass

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

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 20 inches minimum for entry. Slot stripers can be entered but must show the bonus tag attached. Stripers over 38″ can be entered but please handle the fish carefully and quickly take a photo before releasing it.

If no entry is made for a species for a specific month, the award will move and be added to the next period 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 entered for 1 March – 30 June, the bluefish award for 1 October – 30 November now becomes $100!

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

Fishing Facts

Of the fifty United States, thirty-eight have a striped-bass record. New Jersey has the largest striped-bass record—a 78-pound 8·ounce whopper that was caught in 1982. The state with the smallest striped-bass record is Iowa. That landlocked striper weighed only 9 pounds 4 ounces and was caught in 1983.
There’s something fishy about beer these days. Fish Tail Ale is popular as ever, and New Jersey’s Flying Fish Brewery is one of the state’s largest specialty breweries. There’s also Washington’s Wild Salmon Organic Pale Ale, Florida’s Land Shark beer, Delaware’s Dogfish Head beer, and two versions of Stingray beer—a lighter version from the Cayman Islands and a dark beer from Canada.
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