Second Round of Tagged Fish Released for Diamond Jim Event

2010 Maryland Fishing Challenge Features Cash and Other Prizes

ANNAPOLIS (June 29, 2010) — Junior anglers and Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Fisheries Service biologists today caught, tagged and released nearly 200 striped bass (rockfish) into the Chesapeake Bay, including the elusive Diamond Jim currently worth $20,000. The tagging is part of the 6th Annual Maryland Fishing Challenge Featuring Diamond Jim.

“The Maryland Fishing challenge offers a great opportunity for families to get outdoors and enjoy the Chesapeake Bay, our rivers, streams and lakes across Maryland,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “We encourage anglers of all ages and skill levels to experience the sport of fishing and enjoy the beautiful natural resources Maryland has to offer.”

DNR Fisheries Service will continue to release up to 600 specially tagged striped bass into the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Each month, one of the released fish will be secretly selected as the official Diamond Jim, worth $20,000 during the month of July. If no one catches that Diamond Jim, DNR will release another batch of tagged fish in August, including a new Diamond Jim worth $25,000. The other tagged fish are imposters worth $500 or more.

The kick-off for the event and first release of 177 striped bass took place on May 24 and the last batch of fish will be tagged and released on July 29.

More than 60 species of fish are eligible for the contest including large and smallmouth bass, trout, walleye, musky and panfish in the freshwaters of Maryland; rockfish (striped bass), bluefish, drum, sea trout and perch in the Chesapeake Bay; and tuna, marlin, flounder, kingfish and sea bass caught in Maryland waters off the Atlantic Coast.

The contest is open to everyone fishing legally in Maryland, which amounts to more than 350,000 anglers, making this the largest fishing tournament in the country. Participating anglers can submit their catch and complete a citation award entry form at any of the 84 official citation award centers (tackle shops) to receive a certificate and invitation to the finale. Catch and Release anglers may also participate by submitting a Catch & Release Report using this online form and by attending the Grand Celebration.

Anyone who catches an award-qualifying fish and enters the challenge becomes eligible to participate in the grand prize drawing for a boat and trailer package from Bass Pro Tracker Shops. Other prizes include thousands of dollars in fishing gear, merchandise from Under Armour, fishing trips from Bill’s Outdoor Center and a seven-day dream excursion to the island of Tobago courtesy of the World Fishing Network. New sponsors for the 2010 challenge include Under Armour and the World Fishing Network.

“We are very grateful to our sponsors and our recreational fishery stakeholders,” said DNR Secretary John Griffin. “Without their continued support, this contest would not be possible.”

Anglers under age 16 who take part in any of the 50 fishing rodeos across the state and win their event are invited to the finale and guaranteed a “fishing trip of a lifetime,” sponsored by supporting Fishing Challenge organizations.

“Catch a fish” is one of the Maryland Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights, issued by Governor Martin O’Malley in April 2009. The bill is part of the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature, an initiative to ensure all Maryland young people have the opportunity to connect with their natural world and grow to become informed and responsible stewards.

The contest ends at midnight on Labor Day with a grand awards celebration at Sandy Point State Park to follow in conjunction with the 43rd Annual Maryland Seafood Festival on September 11, 2010.

The Maryland Fishing Challenge Featuring Diamond Jim is a free, year-round tournament sponsored by DNR’s Fisheries Service, 27 recreational fishing organizations and generous donors across the State. The purpose of the event is to promote Maryland’s excellent fishing opportunities and the importance of children in the outdoors as an essential key to future environmental stewardship.

Source: Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

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