Every year I look forward to Election Day. Not for the chance to vote in the new politicians but for the Annual Riverview (The View) Striped Bass contest.  This year marked the 22nd edition and the weather could not have been any better. The fishing however was another story.

My buddies and I fish this contest every year but we were a man down this time around as one of the crew had work obligations and could not make it. There is a reason why WORK is a four letter word.

The 2011 Riverview Striped Bass contest saw 146 boats carrying 468 anglers out into the beautiful Great South Bay on one of the nicest days ever seen for this contest. Several past renewals have seen some pretty nasty conditions but not this year. Leaving the dock at the 7:30am as stated by the Contest rules had the contestants cruising across the bay in flat calm with the sun shining brightly.

We arrived on the grounds and with the announced LINES IN at 8am the 2011 Contest was underway. Live baits around the local tackle shops were rarer than hens teeth this year and I had taken a trip the day before hoping to round up some legal live baits. It just did not work out. Bait was so scarce that a local commercial netter who supplies live bunker to many contestants just could not round up any of these prime baitfish and so we fished with live eels the entire day. I LOVE the eels and night but not so much during the day.

We fished the end of the incoming current around the Fire Island Inlet with no luck. No signs of life on any of the other boats either. As the current turned to outgoing a move was made back into the bay. We were treated to the US Coast Guard practicing some rescue maneuvers with the helicopter and local cutter involved. What precision these guys show.

Made a bunch of moves around the bay. Morning moved into afternoon before we had our first and only take of the day. John hooked up a healthy little 31 inch striper that was not large enough for the minimum requirements of the contest. It was, however, just PERFECT size for the grill.

2011 Riverview Striped Bass Contest Fire Island Striper Fishing Contest in Great South Bay

Too Small to Qualify!!!

As the current slacked we headed back to the marina to clean-up and get to the restaurant for the Awards/Dinner party. This is one awesome party they throw here. The dinner is awesome with open bar provided courtesy of the sponsoring The View (formerly The Riverview) restaurant. It is a lot of fun gathering on the patio overlooking the Connetquot River and shooting the breeze with fellow fisherman. Trust me when I tell you that it is even MORE fun when you are bringing a contending size fish to the scales. We were hoping to improve upon our 2nd place finish in last years contest  but that was just not to be this year.

The final verdict had a 36lb fish cop first prize. A pair of 27lb fish were 2nd and 3rd. From there the fish dropped in weight to the low 20s with a 19lb fish rounding out the top 10. The contest pays out to 15th place and it only took a TINY 14lb striper to grab the last spot this year. Can you say SLOW fishing, 468 anglers only managed to catch 15 qualifying stripers for the entire day.

Despite the VERY slow fishing, I already find myself thinking about next years edition and hoping to be finally dragging the WINNER to the scales.

Anyone in the Great South Bay area who has NOT fished this contest before should definately consider giving it a try. It is a LOT of fun for the cost of the entry fee and I think you have great time as well.