State-sponsored fishing tournament starts tomorrow through Labor Day
ANNAPOLIS Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. and Baltimore Orioles Legend John Wesley Boog Powell today officially kicked off the 2nd Annual Maryland $1,000,000 Fishing Challenge: The Return of Diamond Jim at City Dock in Annapolis, Maryland. The Fishing Challenge, which will run from Saturday, June 3 through Monday, September 4 (Labor Day), will be expanded this year to include the States nontidal lakes and streams in addition to the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
Fishing is a time-honored tradition that can teach us about our natural and living resources and how to appreciate them, said Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. This fishing tournament will also serve as a reminder that our Chesapeake Bay still needs our help. As we work to restore the Chesapeake through oyster restoration, bay grass replenishment, and nutrient reduction, the health of our fisheries will also improve.
In addition to DNR, the official 2006 sponsors are the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), Boaters 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.
Last years fishing challenge was a huge success, and the State is proud to be hosting an even bigger tournament this year, said DNR Secretary C. Ronald Franks. The cash awards are higher; the prizes are more dynamic; and the chances to win are even greater.
In a nostalgic flashback to the 1950s, this years 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 weeks Diamond Jim will win an instant $25,000.
Last years tournament was the first major sport fishing 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 Marylands 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 Marylands License Free Fishing Areas, or fishing on one of Marylands 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.
Over the coming weeks, complete information about the Fishing Challenge will be available online at http://www.dnr.maryland.gov/fish4cash/.