Major striped bass competitions this season are expected to electrify the already popular sport of saltwater fishing along the Atlantic seaboard. On The Water Magazine?s ?Striper Cup? is aiming to revive the spirit and camaraderie of a tournament of years past.
The Striper Cup begins May 1. It includes adult and junior divisions and is open to both shore and boat fishermen in the five New England coastal states and New York. The Falmouth based monthly fishing magazine is copying the R.J. Schaefer Tournament (1947-1976) sponsored by the former Schaefer Brewing Co. that drew thousands of anglers from 419 saltwater sportsmen?s clubs all along the East Coast. Promotional material for the new tournament features cutout images of the original Schaefer trophy and other awards.
?It was a very prestigious tournament,? noted Bob Larson of Sutton, a striper fishing history buff and member of the Worcester Surfcasting Club.
There is more than a casual connection between Worcester area striper fishermen and the Schaefer legacy. And, of course, there are as many as 30 members of the surfcasting club tuning up their gear for the start of its successor, according to Larson.
The Schaefer competition was marked by the inter-club competition among anglers and the coveted pins awarded to those who landed the largest fish. A handsome sterling silver trophy was awarded to the winning club to hold for a year.
Any club that won the tournament five years in a row could retire the trophy to their clubhouse. Only two clubs succeeded in retiring the Schaefer trophy: the Worcester Striper Club in 1964 and the Massachusetts Striped Bass Association in the 1970s.
The striper club was disbanded in the 1970s, according to Larson. However, several of the club?s members were also members of the Worcester Surfcasting Club. The surfcasting club also managed to inherit the striper club?s Schaefer trophy and has lent it to On The Water to promote the new tournament.
?The trophy was in the basement of the American Legion Post in Sandwich,? Larson said. ?Some of our guys (Worcester surfcasting) happened to be at the club bar one Saturday when they were conducting a cleanup at the post.
?Post members came up out of the cellar with the trophy to toss it, noticed our guys, and said, ?you guys are from Worcester, would you be interested in this?? That?s how we got the Schaefer trophy.?
Although the new tournament will repeat the Schaefer traditions of awarding pins for record catches, trophies for top angler and best striper catch of the year, and an end-of-season celebration, it will also offer prizes that appeal to today?s striper anglers such as a Grady White 180 Center Console boat and a five-sport utility vehicle as well as smaller prizes.
For more information about the Striper Cup check http://www.onthewater.com/stripercuphome.html
or write the magazine at 35 Technology Park Drive, East Falmouth, MA 02536.