WARREN COUNTY, NJ – The 10th Bi-State Shad Fishing Contest opened Thursday morning with a record number of anglers after the pandemic caused the tournament to skip a year.
Contest founder and manager Eric Fistler said this is the biggest year yet with about 1,150 registered anglers participating, topping the previous record of 1,069 entrants in 2019.
“For over 10 years, Eric Fistler and the shad tournament have been a staple to the Phillipsburg area and southern Warren County. We’re glad to have them back stronger than ever,” Warren County Commissioner Director James R. Kern III said.
“It was cancelled by COVID last year, but we’re honored to have them back,” Phillipsburg Mayor Todd Tersigni said, quipping, “We welcome you with open fins.”
Fistler said anglers from 13 states are registered, coming from as far as Colorado and Nevada to try to hook shad and take home the big prizes. “We had three guys drive in yesterday from Minnesota,” Fistler said, one a former Phillipsburg resident who brought two fishing buddies along for the contest.
The Bi-State Fishing Contest is a competition every spring to celebrate the American Shad with a friendly competition spread over four days every April. Every spring the American Shad makes its spawning run up the Delaware River, according to the Bi-State Shad Fishing Contest Facebook page.
The tournament offers 10 cash prizes for the largest shad that are landed, plus prizes for the top 5 in two youth categories, anglers 11 and younger, and those 12 to 15 years old. Everyone who enters has a chance to win a boat package valued at $20,000 that is sponsored by Mayberry Marine, Yamaha Outboards, G3 Boats, and Bear Trailers.