The Second Annual Maryland $1,000,000 Fishing Challenge Announced

State-sponsored fishing tournament will run June 3 through Labor Day

ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today that the 2nd Annual Maryland $1,000,000 Fishing Challenge: The Return of Diamond Jim will run from Saturday, June 3 through Monday, September 4 (Labor Day). This year, the tournament will be expanded to include the State’s nontidal lakes and streams in addition to the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

“Given the success of last year’s tournament, we decided to take it to the next level by adding more prizes, extending the tournament statewide and creating guaranteed winners,” said DNR Secretary C. Ronald Franks. “We hope to once again create enthusiasm for fishing in Maryland that will unite anglers and their children in this recreational pastime.

In addition to DNR, the official 2006 sponsors are the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), Boater’s World Marine Centers, Toyota of Maryland, and Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World who have donated the five grand prizes which include a chance at $1 million cash, a 20’ center console Sailfish 206CC motorboat and trailer, a 18’ 7” Tracker Nitro 591 motorboat and trailer, and two 2006 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 pick-up trucks. Furthermore, many of those catching the tagged fish will be instant winners of prize packages.

In a nostalgic flashback to the 1950s, this year’s Fishing Challenge will also feature “The Return of Diamond Jim.” Each week throughout the 13 week tournament, a striped bass marked with a special yellow tag will be released. The lucky angler who catches that week’s Diamond Jim will win an instant $25,000.

Last year’s tournament was the first major sportfishing tournament in Maryland in more than 20 years. A total of 103 fish were caught by 102 anglers during the six-week challenge and four were selected to vie for the $1 million grand prize. The success of the event demonstrated the productivity, diversity and value of Maryland’s fisheries resources, while at the same time generating enthusiasm for fishing in Maryland and garnering nationwide attention.

The Fishing Challenge is open to everyone who is legally licensed to fish in Maryland, fishing in one of Maryland’s License Free Fishing Areas, or fishing on one of Maryland’s three Free Fishing Days (June 3, 10 and July 4). There is no registration required, no fee to participate and no age restrictions. Adult anglers are encouraged to use this opportunity to teach younger anglers the joys of recreational fishing.

DNR hopes that anglers of all ages will try and catch one of hundreds of tagged striped bass, Atlantic croaker, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, white perch, crappie, sunfish, walleye, trout and catfish that will be released into the Chesapeake Bay, its tributaries, and many lakes and rivers across Maryland. Those who catch one of the specially tagged fish will be entered into a drawing to play for the grand prizes at an event in Annapolis in early September. In addition, some individual fish are worth immediate prize packages worth $250 or more.

Sport fishing tournaments have a long tradition on the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Anglers may remember the Diamond Jim competitions of the 1950s or the Catch a Fortune Contest and Governor’s Cup Challenge of the 1980s. In the past, the vast majority of these tournaments have been privately sponsored. Some are held for fun, others to challenge skill and ability, and still others for the chance to compete for prizes and money.

Over the coming weeks, complete information about the Fishing Challenge will be available online at

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