2023 Articles

Run for the Fallen 2023

Ed Hoban, a member of American Legion Post #524 and Ocean City Fishing Club member, welcomes armed forces members participating in the 15th Annual Run for the Fallen to the OCFC pier at 14th Street, for a brief ceremony to honor service members who died in support of the global war on terror over the past 20 years. Stopping at 16 locations in the city, the runners paid tribute to 29 service members in that effort. After winding through Cape May, Atlantic, Burlington, Ocean and Monmouth counties, the 195-mile run ends Sunday, September 24, at the NJ Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the PNC Arts Center in Holmdel.


Surf Fishing Tournament

The Ocean City Fishing Club hosted our 54th consecutive Surf Fishing Tournament on October 21, 2023. The threat of bad weather hung over our heads all week, but in the end, fourteen teams and ten individuals fished a choppy surf with heavy seagrass under overcast skies and light rain that eventually gave way to sunshine.

We congratulate the American Angler Red team for winning the Tournament for the third consecutive year. We also want to applaud Tom Zaborowski Jr from the American Angler Club for winning the grand prize of a Century Surf Machine Rod that throws 2-8 oz. that was custom-built by Mike Kulick of Advanced Fishing USA in Avalon, NJ. Kevin Gillespie of the Ocean City Fishing Club won a beautiful Star Rod, Stellar 12-foot rod that throws 3-10 oz. donated by tackledirect.com.

The highlight of the day was Colin Comuso of Hammonton, a six-year-old boy fishing his first Tournament. Colin arrived before 6 a.m. with his father, Ken, and caught two sharks that scored two points and won the Youth Under-13 category. The ASAC teams and Ocean City Fishing Club members fave Colin a resounding ovation at the awards presentation after the Tournament ended.

Thank you to all of  Ocean City members and the businesses that contributed to the Tournament:


The Mariott Old City Philadelphia


Johnsons Popcorn


Advanced Fishing USA


Joe Kelly Rigs and Things

The Crab Trap

Tom Scibek Tinman Lures

J.T. Brooks Tire Deflators


Good fishing with tight lines, 

Ed Parkinson

Tournament Chairperson.

Ocean City Fishing Club’s Blue Team won championship honors in the Association of Surf Angling Clubs 2023 tournament season for the third consecutive year. The OCFC Blue Team amassed 109 points over fishing tournaments that started in May and ended in October. Blue Team members included Team Captain Tyler Daley, Augie Conte III, Ed Parkinson, Bob Dever, Drew Furst, and Paul Viola.

The closest competing team was Merchantville Team #1 with 108 points. Points are awarded based on the number, size and type of qualifying fish caught. The total number of teams competing in any one of the tournaments ranged from 14 to 21.

Bob Dever, a Blue Team member and former captain who drove to Hatteras to get fresh bait for his team to use, reported that Merchantville was a tough competitor. Merchantville Team #1 fell shy by one point of catching OCFC Blue in the last tournament.

OCFC Boys and Girls Tournament

OCEAN CITY — Ninety-nine youngsters entered in Ocean City Fishing Club’s Boys & Girls Surf Fishing Tournament caught the most fish ever recorded in the annual event, including a 27-inch, 8.5-pound flounder landed by a first-time participant.


That flounder was caught by Shamus McDonald, 8, Philadelphia, and qualified as a “doormat” in fishing lingo. When he first hooked the fish, Shamus said, he felt a sharp tug and began reeling in. Walking backwards from the water’s edge, he pulled the fish up onto the beach while it flipped and flopped on the sand. A crowd soon gathered to congratulate the youngster, who was a first timer in the tournament, but showed plenty of confidence.


Bob Dever, an OCFC club member who was helping at the tournament, remembered Shamus telling him, “I’m going to win this thing,” when registration began at 9 a.m. at the foot of the Ocean City-Longport Bridge for the club’s 46th annual tournament.


When he said that, I told him, “You’re a bit cocky for a new guy”, Dever recalled. He answered right back, “you’ll see”. Then he took his fishing gear and headed for the beach. He had a lot of confidence, and he did exactly what he said!


That fish earned Shamus the top prize for largest fish in all age groups for boys. Claire Amici’s 17-inch flounder won the largest fish overall among the girls.  Each earned a $300 gift certificate from Century Rods-Advanced Fishing USA of Avalon, as well as a rod and reel.


Unfortunately, Claire left the beach before receiving her prizes. OCFC officials encourage her to contact the club so she can collect her new rod, reel, and $300 certificate.


Her lone flounder also was the most caught in the girls 11-13 group, while Aiden Covone, Brigantine, shared that honor in the same boys age category with 27 fish.


Among those in the 14-16 age group, Ben Texter, Philadelphia, and Kaelyn Sheehan took home prizes for catching the most fish, 21 and 8, respectively.


In the 8-10 age group, George Benner caught 12 fish, while Chloe Kilroy, Upper Township, landed eight fish.


In all, the boys and girls caught 209 fish in the two-hour tournament, including flounder, croaker, spot, and kingfish. Fishing was so good that 20 of the youngsters recorded double-digit catches. There were 81 boys and 18 girls entered in the event.


Clear skies with a welcome breeze kept temperatures down for August, and about 300 people turned out to watch the boys and girls catch the most fish in recent history.  


“We were off in participation by about 15 youngsters from last year,” said Ed Hoban, who runs the yearly tournament for the OCFC. “But no one can remember when more fish were ever caught. All the boys and girls were thrilled with the fishing this year.”


Everyone who entered the tournament received prizes that included gift cards and certificates from boardwalk, downtown and area businesses.  In addition, OCFC members contributed gift cards that they purchased to add to the tournament bounty.


Fishing club volunteers had the youngsters’ parents or guardians sign waivers for insurance purposes and helped register the boys and girls. Another group of club members manned the beach with measuring devices to record fish sizes fish. Other OCFC helpers gathered and tabulated results to determine winners.


“It takes a lot to put on a tournament like this,” Hoban said. “We’re fortunate to have club members volunteer their time and hard work to make this tournament a success. It’s all about the kids and making sure they have a good time.”


The fishing tournament was held in cooperation with the Ocean City Department of Recreation. Founded in 1913, the Ocean City Fishing Club is the oldest, continuously operated fishing club in the nation.


OCFC Scholarship Recipient

OCEAN CITY — Aidan Endicott, this year’s recipient of Ocean City Fishing Club’s annual scholarship, heads to the University of Vermont this fall to pursue a degree in environment science, a field that sparked his interest while in high school.


“It began when I enrolled in an advanced placement course while in Ocean City High School,” he said. “My teacher, Michael Pomatto, really got me interested in that area and I decided to pursue it at college.”


His course of study fits the criteria of Ocean City Fishing Club (OCFC) scholarship program which awards $500 annually to a graduating Ocean City High School senior who intends to study biology, environmental sciences, oceanography, or a related field in college. The recipient is recommended by the school’s faculty and administration.


While he plans to make environmental science his primary course of study, he has a background in music and a strong interest in jazz. He began learning to play trumpet in the fifth grade on a horn that has been in his family for four generations. That interest progressed and he now can play seven instruments.


“The piano is my favorite, with trumpet a strong second,” he said. “I like jazz the best, and even played in a group at the Exit 0 Jazz Festival in May. I’ll need to talk to a counselor at the university about the possibility of a minor in music. But if I can’t do that, I’ll join a jazz ensemble.”


A lifelong resident of Petersburg, he’s the first in his family to attend college. His father, Steven, is in the Coast Guard and stationed in Ft. Smith, VA, while his mother, Tina, is a dispatcher with Gentilini Chevrolet in Woodbine. His sister, Gianna, will be a sophomore at OCHS in September.  For Aidan, feeling close to home was an important factor in deciding to attend the University of Vermont.


“When my father took me on a college search, Burlington just felt like home to me,” he said, referring to the university location. “The people we met at the school and wherever we went in town were so friendly and welcoming. It just made me feel comfortable.”


While home until August 24, the university’s move-in date, Aidan stays busy with his job at Whippoorwill Campground, Marmora, as a clerk.  He’s looking forward to starting his freshman year and exploring the possibility of an internship in environmental science next summer.


Founded in 1913, the Ocean City Fishing Club is the oldest, continually operating fishing club in the United States.

OCFC Open House 2023

OCEAN CITY — Visitors to the Ocean City Fishing Club’s Open House at the Pier on August 24 again broke records for donations to the Ocean City Food Cupboard.


In a two-hour period, 773 visitors came through the pier gate and donated 195 lbs of non-perishable food and $967 in cash to help the local mission. That broke the record set at the July 27 open house by five more pounds of food and $10 more cash—and with fewer people attending. Over the two open houses this year, 2,112 people came to the pier, another record.


“We had 1,339 people come out in July,” said Tom Yucis, OCFC president, “and we collected more than we ever did in recent memory. This time, 773 people came out and we still set another record. Weather may have dampened the turnout, but not people’s enthusiasm and support. I’m very pleased to see such a great community response to help the Food Cupboard.”


A brief shower just before the club opened its gate at 6 p.m., ominous clouds and a stiff breeze didn’t deter Jessica and Ralph Vega, Great Neck, Long Island, from waiting to be first on the pier.


“We’ve been coming to Ocean City for 40 years,” Jessica said. “but we’ve never been on the fishing club pier. We’re anxious to see the view of the Boardwalk from the pier and to take a few pictures.”


After they entered, the traffic onto the pier was steady and enthusiastic. Many expressed thanks to club members for allowing them to tour the pier and were happy to contribute to the OC Food Cupboard. Taking photos was a priority for many, also.


The club has been holding open houses on the pier to benefit the food agency since its centennial celebration in 2013. The open house program  was suspended in 2020 due to the pandemic and resumed this year.


Just minutes before the event ended, Bethany Harris, Hohokus, rushed through the gate at 7:57 p.m., to be the last visitor this year.


“My family was just taking too long to finish dinner,” she said, “and I just had to get to here before you closed. I rode my bike, but remembered the restrictions on bikes on the Boardwalk, so I had to find a different route. But I made it!”  


A short time later, she came back to the gate, happy that she was able to contribute to the Food Cupboard, walk the 750-foot pier and take some pictures.


“My family is going to be very jealous,” she said as she headed for her bike to ride home.


The OCFC, a private fishing club, arranges two open houses each summer to help the Food Cupboard. They coincide with the city’s Family Night on the Boardwalk schedule. The club has a strong commitment to community involvement through youth fishing tournaments, awarding scholarships and advocating for recreational fishing. Founded in 1913, it is the oldest continually operating fishing club in America.

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