Photo: Denise Civiletti

Riverhead’s 24th Annual Snapper Tournament last weekend drew about 80 anglers to the Peconic Riverfront under sunny skies last Saturday.

Kids and adults of all ages cast their lines into the river’s turbid waters in the hope of landing a snapper. It was slow going at first, but the pace picked up during the day-long tournament after the tide began to go back out.

Snappers are baby bluefish — the spawn of the current season — and grow at a rapid rate. Their name comes from “the fast and fierce snapping of the jaws,” writes Capt. Tom Migdalski in this article on The Fisherman.com. “They’ll strike at any lure smaller than themselves, making them a great target for young or beginner anglers and anyone looking for fishing fun on the saltwater,” Migdalski writes.

Tournament organizers say the annual fall event, a popular family event in Riverhead for more than two decades, provides parents, grandparents and other family members with the opportunity to teach youngsters the skills and patience needed for fishing.

Trophy winners in the youth division (age 15 and under) were Gabriella Grella, 13, who landed a 10-inch snapper, Frank Javitz, 11, who caught a 9 3/4-inch snapper and Lindsey Lange, age 6, who bought in one that measured 7 7/8 inches.

In the adult division (age 16 and up) Jeff Sumwalt caught the biggest snapper, measuring 10 3/4 inches. Keith Hrazenek and Chris Pyzynski each landed snappers that measured 9 3/4 inches.

The top prize winner in each division won a new rod and reel. The tournament is hosted by the Riverhead Town Recreation Department.

Courtesy photo: Riverhead Recreation Department

RiverheadLOCAL photos by Denise Civiletti

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.