With the hot fall striper bite in full swing, we were extremely excited to host the 3rd annual Fall Run Striper Classic this past weekend!
This tournament is a Catch-Photo-Release format, where anglers aim to catch their longest combined total of their two best Striped Bass in order to win prizes from the event’s awesome sponsors. Over 60 registered competitors waited for the “virtual launch” at 5PM Friday, September 29th, after which the fishing madness ensued!
With some impressive fish landed in last year’s tournament (recap here), anglers wasted no time in getting to the water in search of some striped giants.
We are always excited to bring the Fall Run Striper Classic back to the north shore every September to see anglers of all ages having a great time and catching some striped bass in a friendly tournament atmosphere! More importantly, we are glad to be able to promote the healthy practice of catch and release, to ensure we maintain sustainable fisheries for years to come.
Cody Rubner releasing a beauty landed from the shore
Anglers took to the water competing in four major categories: Spin from Shore, Fly from Shore, Spin from Boat and Fly from Boat. These ambitious competitors spooled up reels with high hopes, only to be confronted by some “far from ideal” weather early in the morning. With pop-up cells scattered all over the tournament boundaries for a majority of the tournament, anglers’ determination and grit were tested. Yet, many prevailed through the harsh conditions to catch and release dozens of stripers throughout the tournament.
The 2017 Fall Run Striper Classic was supported by incredible sponsors, including YETI, Costa Sunglasses, XtraTuf Boots, Buff USA, and Cortland Line. Additionally, major category and special prize packages were sponsored by Cheeky Fishing, Wingo Belts, PostFly Box, Daddy Mac Lures, Tomo’s Tackle Shop, Capefish Co, Mud Dog Flies, 247 Lures, Fishin Magician Lures, East Coast Flies, Cobra Baits and Fished Impressions!
A stacked prize table, loaded with tons of sponsor gear for top-placing anglers!
The ‘Fly from Shore’ division allowed anglers who were wade-oriented to sling feathers along the coast in search of trophy-worthy fish. This division was decided by a narrow margin, with only half an inch separating 1st place from 2nd place! Competitor Pete Barnaby was able to edge out Charlie Bischoff with a 43” total to secure 1st and take home the hand carved wooden striper trophy, made for each division by WKF Team Member, Taylor Feuti.
The ‘Fly from Boat’ division is tailored towards anglers who fancy themselves a big bass on the fly rod, but prefer to utilize a vessel to gain a tactical advantage for their fishy pursuits. This can be a significant advantage, if you’re able to find a good school of fish, which is what happened for our 1st and 2nd place anglers (who were fishing in the same boat!) . Dean Machado took first with 46.5”, with his copilot Gary George finishing with 39”. Gary took 2nd on a tiebreaker (biggest 3rd fish) with Sean Callinan, who landed his 39” of bass from the SUP!
Sean Callinan using his YETI rambler to “KeepEmWet”!
The ‘Spin from Shore’ category saw a repeat champion take the podium, as Will Dimento took 1st place again with 40 total inches of salty stripes landed from the surf. Will was joined on by podium by Cody Rubner (2nd place) and Paul Fiore (3rd place). Paul also won the events social media prize with an awesome sunrise hookup shot. To see his winning entry, and the rest of the social media contest entries, swing over the @teamwhyknot page on Instagram!
This year’s heavyhitters brought the muscle in the ‘Spin from Boat’ division, though it wasn’t a fisherman operating a big outboard motor who took 1st place. Eric Harrison needed nothing more than his Hobie kayak and a big Hogy lure to land and release a PAIR of 42″ beasts!
These fish not only helped him dwarf the competition across all divisions, but also earned him Biggest Spin Fish and Biggest Kayak Fish accolades. Additionally, specialty prizes were award to categories such as Biggest Bluefish (33″, landed by Anthony Powell), Most Bizarre Catch (a hermit crab on the fly, courtesy of Geoff Klane), Smallest Striper (won, for the second year in a row by Ryan Larkum, and tied by Paul Fiore at 13 inches) and Biggest Striper on the Fly (Dean Machado – 25.5 inches).
Eric Harrison topped the competition early with some midnight giants!
While WKF tournaments are rooted in competitive spirit, competitors also recognize that there is a lot more gained out of these fishing experiences than simply the fish. Often times, the people and places associated with a fishing trip are far more important than the fish we chase.
Alicia Rossman (who was awarded Top Lady Angler) enjoyed a special day on the water fishing the surf with her father. Peyton Horst drove hours from New York to continue the tradition of competing in the Fall Run Striper Classic, while reconnecting with fellow Why Knot competitors. Current undergradutes from Endicott College used the tournament as a break from the classroom, while alumni from the University of Maine reconnected on the water in search of lunker bass. These are just some of the great tales from this years’ tournament!
Nothing better than some Father/Daughter fly fishing!
Even a day of saturating downpours couldn’t dampen the mood of the competitors at the tournament check-in! Our gratious host Jami’s Kitchen in Salem, MA was filled with boisterous anglers, telling tales from their day (or night) on the water. Every competitor who attended the check-in left with a free lure or striper fly, courtesy of PostFly Box and Fishin Magician. Raffle tickets were given to all attendees, as well as free drink tokens (for 21+) to enjoy a cold Coors Light after a long day of casting! After the awards ceremony, hundreds of dollars in prizes from the event sponsors were raffled off to check-in attendees. Check out the full leaderboard below to see which other anglers took a spot on the podium!