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New Jersey Shark Tournament Overview 2019

As summer inches closer by the week, it is time for a roundup of this year’s shark fishing tournaments being held all across the Garden State from Sandy Hook to Cape May. Below is the recap from last year’s tournaments as well as a breakdown of the festivities and details for this year’s tournaments in 2019.

Results From 2018 Tournaments

South Jersey Shark Tournament In 2018, the South Jersey Shark Tournament was held in Cape May at the beginning of June with a total of 68 boats registered for the competition. A total of 161 sharks were caught over the course of the three-day tournament with the heaviest being a 278 lbs. thresher shark and the largest Mako caught in that weekend weighed in at 269 lbs. The top purse prize was valued at $325,000 for the largest shark in each category of the tournament.


Warriors For WarriorsThis shark fishing tournament benefits military veterans across the state. The tournament focuses on catching thresher and Mako sharks as well as having a tuna Calcutta aspect to the festivities. This smaller tournament featured fewer fishermen then others and ended with the anglers who won first place in their respective categories also able to take home 2nd and 3rd prize as well.

It would also, sadly, appear that the Warriors For Warriors tournament will not be taking place in 2019 as per the tournament’s website (warriorstournament.com).

Warriors for Warriors shark tournament


Brett T. Bailey Mako RodeoThis shark tournament also takes place in June, and is headquartered in Brielle, New Jersey. The largest Mako caught in the 2018 tournament was 729 lbs. This smashes the state record previously held at 401 lbs. The largest thresher shark caught during the tournament was 206 lbs. The prize money split up and awarded to the winning anglers came from a donation and entrance fee pot of $22,000.

Brett Taylor Shark Tournament


Mako ManiaThis tournament is one of two that follows Mako sharks over the course of the tournament weekend. This was a HUGE Mako tournament in 2018 and looks to be shaping up well for 2019. In 2018, over 1,200 fishermen from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York & Maryland flooded in to take part. The 2018 placing stats are not updated on the tournament’s website but the tournament is more than set to take place again in 2019 and is currently open for enrollment.


2019 Shark Tournaments

The shark tournament fishing season will begin in early June taking place in multiple venues and shore towns across the Garden State. Many of these tournaments will focus their catch on several shark species as well as larger ocean-going fish; including both blue and yellowfin tuna and marlin.

The preview below covers the tournaments going on in 2019 and gives details on what prizes await victorious anglers as well as how to sign up for each one. For any specific inquires or questions it is best to contact each tournament directly as sign ups could be filled or have changed since this posting.


South Jersey Shark Tournament 2019

The 39th annual South Jersey Shark Tournament will be taking place in Cape May at the South Jersey Marina. This year the tournament will run an extra day longer than previous contests and kicks off on, Thursday, June 5th. The winners of the tournament will be announced at the conclusion of fishing on June 9th.

One of the longer running and large shark tournaments in the state, the South Jersey Shark tournament for 2019 is expected to outdo the previous year’s participants in both the thresher and Mako shark categories. There are different options to competing in the tournament with prizes ranging from $6,500 ‘All-In’ Calcutta entries to the main purse that annually exceeds $325,000 in total prize money for winning crews. Signing up can be done on the South Jersey Tournament website (southjerseytournaments.com) and goes on until the tournament begins.

General entrance fees for the tournament are $600 per boat with an additional $300 docking fee for vessels that require dockage at the South Jersey Marina. There are several Calcutta options available over the course of the weekend as well and are highlighted by the Daily Double Calcutta, costing $600 but including Thursday, Friday and Saturday fishing. There are also jackpots exclusively for catching Mako sharks such as the ‘Mako Mania Jackpot’ ($1,000 separate entry) and the ‘Big Money Mako’ contest for the heaviest Mako caught throughout the weekend ($2,500 separate entry).

For those staying on shore, this large-scale tournament offers entertainment and dockside hospitality for all involved in the weekend’s festivities throughout the South Jersey Marina complex.



Brett T. Bailey Mako Rodeo 2019

The 18th annual Brett T. Bailey Mako Rodeo will be held on June 14th and 15th of 2019 in Brielle, New Jersey which is in Monmouth County. This tournament has been held every year in honor of the passing of Brett Bailey, who was a first responder to and left this world on September 11th, 2001. The tournament works hand in hand with the BTB Foundation that was created in Brett’s memory and allows support for military personnel and first responders who are in need of help.

The Mako Rodeo is a straight forward shark fishing tournament where the boat with the largest Mako wins this winner take all contest. The entrance fee is $600 for each boat. The rodeo tournament also offers five smaller Calcutta’s ranging from $100 to $500:

$100 First Mako Caught

$200 Mako (Largest)

$300 Thresher (Largest)

$200 Bluefin Tuna (Largest)

$500 Mako Magic Jackpot

Early registration is encouraged for this tournament and all boats who register by June 6th, 2019 receive a complimentary bottle of Kraken Rum with the name of their boat engraved on the bottle.


Mako Mania

Mako Mania is a shark fishing tournament that spans over two weekends in June on the 15th and 16th and then again on the 22nd and 23rd of June for 2019. Each day is billed separately at $500 per boat and turns into literal Mako mania out on the water for both weekends of the tournament. This is the 34th Mako Mania Tournament, but has since branched out to include thresher sharks as well.

Launch points can be found in three outlets: Shark River, Manasquan, or Barnegat. The purse includes upwards of $250,000 in prize money for both weekends. A brand new 2019 Chevy Silverado is also listed as a prize for the thresher shark portion of the tournament. More information and a signup sheet can be accessed on the tournament’s website (makomania.com).

address description owner Nearest Cam
Margate Fish Pier
121 S Exeter Ave,
Margate City NJ
(609) 823-9846
Atlantic Ocean

Must be a member of Angler's Club to use the pier.
Angler's club has one time initiation fee and per year fee which includes a locker.

The Angler’s Club
Ventnor City Fishing Pier
Cambridge Avenue & the Boardwalk
Ventnor City NJ
Atlantic Ocean

Ventnor City
Ocean City Fishing Club Pier
14th and Boardwalk
Ocean City NJ
Atlantic Ocean

Ocean City Fishing Club
Keansburg Fishing Pier
275 Beachway
Keansburg NJ
Raritan Bay

The Pier is approximately 2000 feet long. You have an amazing panoramic view of New York City, along with awesome sunrises and sunsets.

Lavallette Pier
Magee Avenue
Lavallette NJ

Barnegat Bay

Keyport Fishing Pier
1 American Legion Drive
Keyport NJ
(732) 739-3900
Raritan Bay

Wildwood crest
Sweet Briar Rd. and Park Boulevard.
Wildwood crest NJ

Atlantic Ocean

Mantolooking Bridge Fishing Pier
30 Mantoloking Road
Brick NJ
1-877-OC PARKS
Barnegat Bay

With great views of the Barnegat Bay, this is sure to be one of the best fishing or crabbing spots in all of Ocean County.

Ocean County Parks
Berkley Island County Park
399 Brennan Concourse
Berkeley Township NJ
Barnegat Bay

Park is Open

The Pier is 285‘ long x 24’ wide. We provide landing nets, a fish cleaning station, picnic area, and toilet facilities. It is well-lit at night, family-friendly, and produces some of the finest catches of Flounder, Striper, Bluefish, Weakfish, Croakers, Kingfish and Blue Claw Crabs!!! Also the occasional Trigger Fish, Sheepshead, Drum Fish, & Almaco Jack. The Crabbing is Excellent!

Ocean Count Department of Parks and Recreation
Grassy Sound Marina Pier
13 Old N Wildwood Blvd
Wildwood NJ
(609) 846-1400
Grassy Sound
The Pier is 285‘ long x 24’ wide. We provide landing nets, a fish cleaning station, picnic area, and toilet facilities. It is well-lit at night, family-friendly, and produces some of the finest catches of Flounder, Striper, Bluefish, Weakfish, Croakers, Kingfish and Blue Claw Crabs!!! Also the occasional Trigger Fish, Sheepshead, Drum Fish, & Almaco Jack. The Crabbing is Excellent!

Grassy Sound Marina
Bayshore Waterfront Park
719 Port Monmouth Road
Port Monmouth NJ
Sandy Hook Bay

Enjoy the maritime shrublands, tidal creeks, salt marshes, dunes, mile of beach and scenic views across the water. The park offers a fishing pier, access to Raritan Bay, and beautiful views of the NY skyline

Monmouth County Parks
Waterfront Park
Waterfront Fitness Trail
Carteret NJ
Arthur Kill
Carteret Municipal Government

Pier Fishing Tackle Reccomendations


If you are new to Pier fishing, then there are a few things to keep in mind with regards to having the correct tackle. If you are on an Ocean or open bay fishing pier where Bluefish and Striped Bass are known to run, your not going to get by on light tackle. Still, you don't want anything too heavy to slow you down from casting and retrieving is in order.


Fishing Rod/Reel Requirements for NJ Pier Fishing


  • Fishing Rod Must Be At least 7.5 ft tall

Additional length means better casting and leverage. You want a pole longer than you typically would use on a boat. Don't go too tall though because taller rods are also clunkier to operate so you really want to stay in 7.5 – 9 ft range with your pier fishing rod.  This size rod will allow you to handle almost all types of fishing opportunities that will avail themselves while you are pier fishing.

Rod Must Have Plenty of Backbone

In addition to the possibility of big fish, the ocean is a challenge on your equipment as well. You need something that will handle dropping several ounces of lead as required on occasion.  You do NOT want a light action rod for pier fishing.   A rod with a MH (Medium-Heavy) designation is best to get started with.

 Spinning Variety

It just makes so much more sense to use a spinning rod for pier fishing. They are easier to cast and operate for experienced fishermen and newcomers alike. If you are looking specifically for a rod to fish on piers with, make it a spinning rod.

Quality Matters

It is worth noting that saltwater is really unforgiving. Whatever you can afford, buy the best spinning reel you can. If you take care of a good reel, it can last you for you years. However, some of the lower end models will last you 1 year and you will need to replace it. The quality of the rod is important also, but even the low end rods will last you a while, unlike the low end reels.

Our Best Pier Fishing Combination Value Reccomendation

Penn Pursuit II 6000-2 Piece Spinning Combo, 8-Feet/Medium-Heavy

Penn has been a well known name in saltwater fishing for decades.  This combination is a great starter outfit for pier fishing and can also be used for surf fishing.  And it won't break the bank.  You can get this for less than $75.


Additional Tackle You Will Need for Pier Fishing


Telescoping Landing Net

You should make sure you have a long handle or telescoping landing net when you are pier fishing. Most fish of any size will be lost as you try to land it on a pier if you don't net the fish.  Telescoping nets make it easier to travel. 




Quality Aluminum Fishing Pliers

No fisherman can go without fishing pliers. It pays to have a decent pair of pliers in your box for your pier fishing adventure. Remember, saltwater is unforgiving so make sure you get a pair of pliers made for saltwater use.


Stainless Steel Fishing Hooks

Of course you will need to have a variety of hooks and swivels at your disposal. You can save some money over the course of a fishing season by buying hooks in bulk, but be careful because if they are not Stainless steel they will rust quickly just being exposed to salt air. So, either buy small packs of hooks and leave packs closed until ready to use or buy stainless steel hooks. In either case you will need a a variety of sizes.

Saltwater Leader Spool 40lb Test

You need to have a just a few different sizes of leader spools here. You MAY want to also add some flouo to your mix but it is pricey


Berkley Gulp! Alive! Curly Tail Swimming Mullet

If you are a saltwater fisherman, you need Gulp. They make many varieties and most are quite qood. For pier fishing, 2 most haves are Curly tails and Shrimp.

3 Way Swivels

Nothing complicated here, just make sure you have 2 way, 3 way, and snap swivels in a few different sizes. Most pier fishing is done with a very simple set up of a 3 way swivel, a leadered hook with bait and a sinker.

Bank Sinkers

You will need an assortment of lead sinkers with most in the 2-5 oz range. You will save much money by buying in advance online as mark up on sinkers at piers and other tackle shops is high.


Diamond Jigs

You need bucktails, diamond jigs, and swimmers. Your set.

Marine Cooler

Much like surf fisherman, many pier fisherman get coolers on wheels. 

Fillet Knife

This is another area where you want to buy the best you can afford. Cheap knives loose there edge quickly, rust and will not give you satisfactory value for your money over the long haul. Handles of something other than wood is preferable as wood never really comes clean and it acts as a germ hangout on your knife.


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