Time for tournament fever: Catch it!

Oyster Bay Town, Sea Cliff Village and environmental

Oyster Bay Town, Sea Cliff Village and environmental nonprofit Friends of the Bay collectively have received nearly $96,000 in federal grants to improve Long Island Sound water quality. (Aug. 8, 2012) (Credit: Randee Daddona)

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While the stereotype of late-summer fishing may be that of laid-back anglers casually presenting bait and lures to hungry, unsuspecting quarry, there is a more competitive side that many enjoy. If it is tournament fishing that awakens you passion for getting up early and putting in long hours on the water, the next few weeks should provide plenty of chances to feed your inner beast. From tiny snapper blues at the local docks to monster tuna, shark and marlin on the offshore scene, the fishing possibilities are completely covered from a contest point of view.

The biggest overall tournament in our waters these days is undoubtedly the WICC Greatest Bluefish Tournament On Earth. It runs Saturday and Sunday with the competition area spanning the length and width of Long Island Sound. The premise here is simple: Catch the biggest chopper and take home $25,000. That's big money on the inshore scene. With a ton of big choppers on The Middle Grounds, Eaton's Neck, north of Port Washington and a few bruisers beginning to show inside Northport Bay and Huntington Harbor, you can bet competitive juices will be flowing along the entire North Shore this weekend. While blues are known to hit the tins hot and heavy, the biggest choppers usually fall for live or cut bunker. The entry fee is $42 and you can sign up at one of several local tackle shops, by phone at 203-366-BLUE or online at WICC600.com. Visit the website for contest rules and details.

The first Fishing for a Cure Fluke tournament is on tap for Saturday. In this event, West End anglers can enjoy some competitive fishing action for summer flatties knowing proceeds go to finding a cure for multiple sclerosis. Register online at nmssli.org by 3 p.m. Friday, or in person by Saturdaymorning at Bay Park Fishing Station or Freeport's Woodcleft Fishing Station. Both locations, along with Stella Maris Fishing Station in Brooklyn, are weigh stations. Mark Keller at Bay Park Fishing Station suggested participants try their luck at Atlantic Beach Reef or Cholera Banks. Both areas produced double-digit fluke this week.

Bragging rights, plus prizes for the top three fish in each of three age groups, are on the line at the Jones Beach Kids Snapper Tournament. This contest is scheduled for Saturdayand Sunday at the Jones Beach Piers (Field 10). Entry is $15 and each child receives a Jones Beach Hat, $5 Friendly's coupon card, plus free ice cream.

For offshore fans, the pressure will be on when the 2nd Annual Star Island White Water Challenge gets under way on Sept. 6. Up for grabs is $30,000 in cash and prizes with tuna, shark, bluefish and striped bass all on the target list. Skippers can register at sportfishchallenge.net.

Held in cooperation with the Wounded Warriors Project, the Fishing for Freedom Tournament is part of the Cow Harbor Warriors Weekend celebration slated for Sept. 8 and 9. In this fishing free-for-all, anglers can target any species -- heaviest fish wins -- while raising awareness about wounded veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). Ante up with $35 and weigh your catch at Terminal Tackle in Kings Park, Cow Harbor Bait & Tackle in Northport and Hi-Hook Bait and Tackle in Huntington. Email: outdoortom@optonline.net

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