Birth of a Tournament
The Spring Sea Run Opener was launched in the early spring of 2015, with its first ever opening day April 25th of that year. The concept of the tournament was inspired by the excitement surrounding the annual northbound migration of the striped bass. Like many towns in the North East this time marks the awakening of spring and the promise of a new and exciting fishing season. Tournament Founder Rafael D. Osona wanted to harness this excitement and find a way to bring the fishing community together in a meaningful way.
After years of tossing around ideas of how, or what a spring tournament might look like the wheels were finally put into motion with the help of fellow fisherman, friend, and graphic designer Lonell Rodgers. Lonell helped make the concept images and logos for the tournament into a reality. Now that the tournament had a name and a face, it needed a purpose that we could all get behind. At this point it was apparent that the only option was to help raise money for a charity, and specifically a local charity. Within weeks local businesses jumped on board by offereing prizes for tournament winners, help in promoting the event, and volunteer work to get the new tournament off the gound. By the time April rolled around the tournament saw its' first angler to sign up, and by the launch of the event a total of thirty five participants! The tournament which was once an ebb and flow of funny ideas and daydreams was finally a reality!
The 2018 Tournament
The 2018 tournament was the largest to date with over 100 participants! This year we also expanded the event by including a Junior division for any participant 18 years of age or younger. This division was funded by Mac Davis Flooring and Fisher Real Estate. Their generous contribution kick started a whole new level of tournament participation with junior anglers ranging in age from 5 to 18 years old. This year we also saw our largest financial gains. Collectively $3,200 was raised with the help of our participants, sponsors and volunteers. All of this money was donated to the Admiralty Scholarship fund, which was selected by tournament winner Kevin Ramos.
Over the course of the tournament 40 registered anglers registered a catch, and threw their hat in the ring for the prize drawings at tournament close. Parker Graham registered the official "3 peat" with the largest striper of the tournament once again! Tournament veteran Brett Sherman took home the coveted "Shortest Striper" award, and Turd Ferguson captured the inaugural "First Bluefish" award. The highlight of the awards night however went to junior angler Charlie Bois who won a custom rod from Fish Stix Nantucket valued at $700!
Looking ahead we hope to continue growing, promoting fishing on Nantucket, the practice of catch and release and working to raise money for those in need. Thanks for your continued support, lets make 2019 even better!
The 2017 Tournament
The 2017 campaign came to a successful close with an awards ceremony at the Nantucket Anglers Club. In total, $2,800 dollars was raised during the course of the tournament! Half was donated to the Nantucket Cottage Hospital and the other half was donated to the Nantucket Anglers' Club Scholarship Fund! This non profit was selected by Chris Lydon who won the opportunity to make the selection via a point weighted drawing. Congrats to Chris and thank you for such a great pick!
I can't thank our donating sponsors and patrons enough for their support this year! Nantucket Tackle Center, Bill Fisher Tackle, Nantucket Magazine, Sign Here Nantucket, Linesider69 Custom Plugs, Skillie Fishing Apparel, Island Chiropractic, The UPS Store 5207, Handlebar Cafe, On The Water Magazine, Fishing Nantucket with Captain Matt Reinemo, Fish Stix Custom Rods by Jeff Allen, Schultz Lures, Dennis Dias of Salt Cod Lures, Ifly Fly Rod Holders, Richard Tuck, Nicholas Ouimet Ouellette, and Nick Gault! We really could not do this without you! Endless gratitude and thanks!
The 2016 Tournament
The second annual tournament welcomed more than double the entrants than year one, with sixty five anglers signing up. With this increased interest came almost double the funds raised as well! The winning charity was Family and Children's Services of Nantucket selected by tournament participant Robert Anderson. We sent them a check for $2,150 on his behalf, and all those who participated in the event! It was an excellent choice for an organization that does so much for this community.
Of the sixty five participating anglers, twenty one registered a catch and were entered into the awards ceremony prize raffle. Many of these lucky participants walked away with gift cards, tackle boxes, Shimano reels, tournament gear and more.
The award for the first registered catch of the tournament was awarded to Robert DeCosta who submitted his catch just after sunrise on May 1st. He had a banner day catching any number of schoolies, and set the tone for the tournament.
After a furious start to the tournament and a massive wave of schoolie sized fish, the action took a dip. The first keep wasn't submitted until May 16th, with a 28" sunset submission from Robert Anderson. Now it was game time, and the race for biggest fish was on with only two weeks left in the tournament.
At the conclusion of the tournament we had two more major prize categories to award, the biggest and smallest striper of the tournament. Parker Graham claimed the largest fish of the tournament with a chunky 32" line sider. He won a $650 custom rod from local rod maker Jeff Allen of Fish Stix. The final prize however would not be overshadowed by this fish, the coveted shortest fish of the tournament! This prestigious title was awarded to Rich D'Auteuil who submitted an impressive 11" striped bass. Rich received a beautiful carved trophy from Sign Here Nantucket, painted by local artist Sue Grant. This award will be known as the Rich D'Auteuil Breakfast Bass trophy (catch and release of course, lets have some fun)!
The tournament concluded with a wonderful celebration of all who participated, donated and supported the event. The Chicken Box of Nantucket was gracious enough to host a great party for the awards ceremony. We had some laughs, gave away some great prizes from our sponsors, and exchanged some thoughts on the cow stripers that were soon to hit our waters. Thanks to all who participated, helped and promoted the event, it was a huge success!
Some of the tournament winners at the awards ceremony hosted by the Chicken Box
The Rich D'Auteuil Breakfast Bass Trophy - Awarded for Shortest Striper
Donated by Nantucket Tackle Center
Donated by Bill Fisher Tackle
Final Leader Board 2016
First Striper: Ray Decosta
FIrst Keeper: Robert anderson
Shortest Striper: 11'' (Rich D'Auteuil)
longest Striper: 32'' (parker graham)
1.) Ray Decosta
2.) Albert Swietlik
3.) Cody Peterson
4.) Rich D'Auteuil
5.) Robert anderson
6.) Kurt wiggin
7.) jimmy gallen
8.) Chuck duce
9.) Jason metcalf
10.) Daniel Day
11.) Tue Nielsen
12.) James Hatton
13.) Chris lydon
14.) Quint Waters
15.) Steve tornovish
16.) Michael thureson
17.) Norm Frazee
18.) Bob ruley
19.) Adam fasci
20.) Tris Carpenter
21.) parker graham
The 2015 Tournament
We would like to extend a very special thank you to all of our sponsors, volunteers and anglers that signed up and participated in the tournament in its first season. Without each and every one of you this celebration of the striped bass and our wonderful community wouldn't have been possible, endless gratitude....thank you!
The inaugural season of the Spring Sea Run Opener found great success in raising money for charity with the generosity of our local sponsors and devoted volunteers. At the conclusion of the tournament Michael O'Neil was selected as the event winner and chose Boston MedFlight as the winning not for profit organization. Boston MedFlight Received $1,250 which was accumulated through registration fees, merchandise sales, and donations. This funding was enough to fuel their helicoptor and purchase a pilot's flight suit. It was truely a memorable inaugural season, and it gives us great hope for growth in the seasosn to come!
Winner, Michael O'Neil - Selected Boston MedFlight as the beneficiary of the tournament proceeds
Tournament sponsor Dennis Dias of Salt Cod Lures with an early season catch on one of his own hand poured soft baits
Final Leader Board 2015
Charity Winner: Michael O'Neil Selecting Boston MedFlight - $1,250 donated
First Sea Run Striper: Nick Gault - Custom Rod from Nantucket Surfcasting Co. and Custom Rods, and Penn Battle II 4000 from Bill Fisher Tackle
First Keeper: Jimmy Gallen - Comprehensive soft plastics tackle box from Salt Cod Lures
Shortest Bass: 16 1/2'' James Hatton - Carved mahagony and hand painted trophy from Sign Here Nantucket
Registered Catches by Anglers:
(1st ten anglers on the board received Compass of My Soul by Matt Reinemo and fishing lure from Salt Cod Lures)
1.) Nick Gault (18 1/4'' ---> 28 1/2")
2.) Rafael Osona (16 1/2'' ---> 22" )
3.) Jimmy Gallen (28")
4.) Michael O'Neil (16 3/4'' ----> 29'')
5.) Matt Reinemo (18 1/2'' ----> 27 1/2'')
6.) Rich D'Auteuil (23'')
7.) Kurt Wiggin (22'')
8.) Lonell Derrale Rodgers (18 1/2'')
9.) James Hatton (16 1/2'' and 18'')
10.) Robert Anderson (18'' and 28 1/4'')
11.) Quint Waters (22'')
12.) Paul Mooradian (27 3/4'')
13.) Cam Gammill(18'' ---> 27'')
14.) Dennis E Dias (22'')
15.) Bob Ruley (Length N/A)
Winners: Mike O'Neil, Nick Gault, Jimmy Gallen, and James Hatton.
Jimmy Gallen with the first keeper of the 2015 tournament!