The 2024 NJBF tournament season got off to a cold, but successful, start at the April 6, 2024, Lake Hopatcong event. Under brisk early spring conditions, with consistent 10 to 15 mph winds, a field of 27 teams took to the water. While many found success, the conditions proved challenging for many of the teams.

The winning team had no such problems. That team, consisting of Art Vitale and Al Pallavicini posted a solid five-fish limit weighing 13.08 pounds. Anchoring their bag was the lunker winning 4.60-pound largemouth. For their efforts, the team received $2,400 for first and an additional $500 for their lunker.

Second and third place were separated by a mere 0.29 pounds. Taking second, with a 11.90 pound limit was the team of Greg DelRusso and Karl Lightner. For their efforts, they shared the $1,360 second prize. Close behind in third place was the team of Kevin Albright and Mike Zampese, who also posted a five-fish limit, weighing 11.61 pounds. That team was awarded $740.

Given the size of the field, fourth place also was paid. Taking that place was the son/father team of Ron Schneider and Ed Schneider who shared $440 by weighing in 4 fish totaling 9.34 pounds. Full results are on the results page!

As this was the first NJBF event under its new team format, the field of 27 boats is early proof that the switch in formats was warranted. Not only did the switch create a bigger field than all of last season’s events, but significantly enhanced overall payouts. We are hopeful that the participating anglers continue for the entire season and any other interested anglers sign up for future events.

In this regard, register early for the May 19, 2024, Northern Chesapeake Bay event. It should be a slugfest. To register, go to the online tournament registration link under the tournaments tab.

Remember, to fish, you must be a NJBF member (or a member of another State TBF). Not a NJBF member? Contact Nick Angiulo at nickangiulo@verizon.net.