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Dream Boat Challenge


 A new tournament season begins on May 1 as Fisherman subscribers compete for the ultimate Grand Prize, A completely tricked out Steiger Craft 255CC with Seakeeper, Minn Kota Trolling Motor, Humminbird Electronics and more.

The Fisherman’s Dream Boat Fishing Challenge is just that – a challenge to all Fisherman subscribers to be the best angler they can be. To be among the 10 percent of anglers who catch 90 percent of the fish and ultimately be rewarded for their efforts through the Dream Boat Challenge. While “putting in the time” will always factor into fishing success, it does not take unlimited time to find your way to the leader board. Strategic planning can be even more critical than spending long hours on the water, along with being able to adapt to different techniques for a variety of species.


Over the course of the show season I spoke to many subscribers who lamented that they don’t have the time to compete with recent Dream Boat winners such as

Garrett Weir, Sam Dibner, Dave Wissemann and Vincent Deledda. Besting thousands of Fisherman subscribers (You must be a Fisherman subscriber to participate.) is never easy. Among those subscribers are some of the most dedicated and committed anglers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions and securing a place on the Dream Boat leaderboard is truly a challenge as evidenced by the quality of the fish that place in the final standings every season.


However, it does not take unlimited time and/or money to come up a winner. Take last season’s grand prize winner, Garrett Weir, for example. Garrett is a smart fisherman who is constantly seeking ways to improve his fishing skills. In an interview I did with him earlier this year, he emphasized that outlining a strategy that allowed him to focus his fishing time on areas known to produce quality fish of a given species at a particular time of the season, played heavily in his success. In his case, it included fishing the spring porgy run in Long Island’s Peconic Bay, which is known to produce jumbo porgies and possibly a tiderunner weakfish. Also on his agenda was a Nantucket fluke trip where double digit doormats have been almost commonplace in recent years, while offshore wreck trips would provide the best opportunity for a big sea bass. Keep in mind that his game plan would have to be carried out by relying on open and charter boats since he had no boat of his own, and finishing in the pool money helped to finance some of his trips. The plan also had to be executed around a busy work schedule in the medical field and family responsibilities that included coaching his son’s baseball team through most of the fishing season.  When all was said and done, he was the clear winner of the 2019 Dream Boat Challenge and the owner of fully tricked out 23 Steiger Craft.


There is no doubt that earning the grand prize requires considerable dedication and effort, and very likely the willingness to travel throughout the region to get on the best possible bite at the right time of the year. But, if you fall short of the grand prize, there are numerous other opportunities to go home a winner. As long as you register a top 10 fish in any of the eight different categories of fish (blackfish, bluefish, fluke, mahi, porgy, black sea bass, weakfish, and sea robin) and it’s still there on the leaderboard at the end of the contest, you will earn a prize.

subscribers only

To qualify for the Dream Boat Fishing Challenge, all you have to do is subscribe to The Fisherman Magazine and get out and fish (see official rules in this issue), something you’re likely going to be doing anyway. The slate of eligible species for 2020 and their minimum weights for entry are as follows: blackfish, 7 pounds; bluefish, 15 pounds; fluke, 7 pounds; mahi mahi, 10 pounds; porgy/scup, 2 pounds; black sea bass, 4 pounds; weakfish, 5 pounds; and sea robin, 2 pounds.


In order for an entry to count, the fish must be weighed and measured (length and girth) at a participating tackle shop which is an official Fisherman Magazine weigh-in station between 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time on May 1, 2020 and 11:59 p.m. ET on November 30, 2020. The fish’s weight and measurements must be filled-in on an official entry form, and signed and dated by the tackle shop authorized personnel. The entry form must also be accompanied by a photo of the angler and catch. The angler is responsible for submitting the entry. Official entry forms can be found prior to May 1st, 2020 at participating tackle shops or a copy can be downloaded by visiting TheFisherman.com. Participating tackle shop locations will be published in The Fisherman Magazine and online.

many chances to win

Continuing with the rule format established in 2016 as part of our 50th Anniversary celebration, we continue to reward the very best fishermen and women in the Northeast for their ability to land qualifying fish across multiple categories. The Grand Prize package will be awarded to the contestant who tallies the most points. Points will be awarded to the top ten entries in each category (species) with the heaviest fish for each species earning 10 points, 9 points to the 2nd heaviest fish, 8 points to the 3rd heaviest fish, 7 points to the 4th heaviest fish, 6 points to the 5th heaviest fish, 5 points to the 6th heaviest fish, 4 points to the 7th heaviest fish, 3 points to the 8th heaviest fish, 2 points to the 9th heaviest fish, and 1 point to the 10th heaviest fish.

The contestant who earns the second highest point total will win the second prize, and the contestant who earns the third highest points will win a third prize. The entries with the heaviest fish in each eligible species category will win a Largest of Species prize, and the top ten entries in each category (species) will receive a Finalist Prize. The entry with the heaviest fish of the month for the following fish species will win a Fish of the Month prize: May-Weakfish; June-Sea Robin; July-Fluke; August-Mahi Mahi and Black Sea Bass; September-Porgy/Scup; October-Bluefish; November-Blackfish.

super grand prize package

The 2020 Fisherman Magazine Dream Boat Challenge Grand Prize package is the biggest and best ever. It includes the new Steiger Craft 255 Center Console with outboard power and an unprecedented array of extras, including: a, Seakeeper 1, a Minn Kota RT Terrova 112-72” Link Trolling Motor, a Humminbird SOLIX 12 MSI G2 Fish Finder/Chartplotter and Humminbird SOLIX 12 MSI + HB 2124 radar, an Engel EN80 Cooler, an E-Z Anchor PATRIOT 1 – Direct Drive Drum Anchor Winch, 2 gallons of Chevron Techron Marine Fuel Additive, a fish mount from Global Fish Mounts of one of the fish entered, Navionics Platinum+ Marine charts, a 6-month subscription to the SiriusXM Fish Mapping service including 8 dedicated fishing features and all of the SiriusXM Marine weather features.


And, there are plenty more chances to go home a winner. The angler who accumulates the second-highest point total will win a 3-night stay for the winner and one guest at spectacular Zancudo Lodge in Costa Rica (see official rules for prize description). This year’s third prize is a versatile Sea Eagle FishSkiff 16 Two Person Swivel Seat Package. Winners of the eight Largest of Species prizes receive a Shimano Saragosa 5000SW reel and a fish mount from Global Fish Mounts. All eighty anglers who finish anywhere on the leader board will receive a Band Of Anglers/Ocean Born Wideback Minnow, a package of Owner America Hooks and a spool of Power Pro Braided Line. The eight Fish of the Month prize winners get a Dexter SOFGRIP™ 8 inch flexible fillet knife with EdgeGuard, a Noreast’r Yellowfin Performance Long Sleeve Shirt, and a Noreast’r Dark Camo Compass Performance Hoodie.


For the angler who finishes at the top, the ultimate Dream Boat package awaits, as well as the distinction of being one of the top anglers in the region. And given that Fisherman subscribers include some of the very best anglers on the coast, any angler who finishes on the leader board should be proud of their accomplishment. For those of you hoping to land that Steiger Craft 255 CC, heed the words of Garrett Weir and begin laying out your strategy now. To all our subscribers, good luck and we wish you a safe and productive 2020 season. Please see the 2020 Dream Boat Fishing Challenge Official Rules at TheFisherman.com.


See Official Rules for more details including prize description and eligibility requirements. Contest starts 5/1/20 and ends 11/30/20.