The Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament began in the late 1930s when the Board of Game and Fish Commissioners arranged a fishing contest. They wanted to increase interest in fresh and saltwater hook-and-line fishing in Delaware.
The original contest paid cash awards to saltwater anglers catching the heaviest weakfish (sea trout), Atlantic croaker (hard head), red drum (channel bass), blue fish, or any other saltwater fish species. Freshwater anglers received cash awards for the heaviest largemouth bass, pike (chain pickerel) or crappie.
Although cash awards are no longer offered, the Sport Fishing Tournament is still a popular program with anglers. In 1986, for example, there were over 3,500 entries.
The Tournament has grown to include 47 categories, a Live Release Award, and a Youth Division. There are seventeen categories in the freshwater division and thirty in the saltwater division. Several other species are recognized each year under the general “Unusual Species” category.