CHESAPEAKE BEACH, Md. At a press conference last Thursday in Chesapeake Beach, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) kicked off the 2007 Maryland Fishing Challenge featuring the search for Diamond Jim. DNR Deputy Secretary Eric Schwaab spoke to anglers, stakeholder groups and reporters about this years tournament before venturing out onto the water for the release of a specially tagged Diamond Jim striped bass.
The Challenge is designed to promote Maryland's sport fishing industry.
This exciting tournament is designed to showcase Marylands unparalleled recreational fishing opportunities, recognize angler efforts, and encourage the uninitiated to get out and give fishing a try, said DNR Secretary John R. Griffin. We hope the campaign will also serve to remind everyone who enjoys our aquatic resources of the responsibility we share for ensuring their preservation for the future.
The 2007 Maryland Fishing Challenge runs from Thursday, June 14, through September 3 (Labor Day). This year rather than tagging a multitude of fish, any angler who catches a citation award qualifying fish will be eligible to win one of the official sponsor grand prizes. Based upon last years citation award program results, DNR expects over 400 anglers to catch qualifying fish in the 2007 Challenge. The grand prize winners will be randomly selected at a closing ceremony in September at Sandy Point State Park. All rules and tournament information can be viewed at www.dnr.maryland.gov/fishingchallenge.
This year DNR is also offering the potential to win up to $25,000 in cash prizes for the capture of Diamond Jim, a monthly contest for anglers to catch a specially tagged striped bass. Diamond Jim will provide ongoing publicity for the contest with three major events in June, July and August, associated with the release of the Chesapeake Bays most famous fish.
Returning for the third year as a sponsor is Boaters World, which is offering up to $25,000 in cash awards for the capture of Diamond Jim and $500 gift certificates for anglers who catch Diamond Jim imposters. Coming back for a second year are Central Atlantic Toyota and Bass Pro Shops, who are each donating the grand prizes, a 2007 Toyota Tundra 4x4 pick-up truck and 591 Nitro boat with a 115 HP Mercury outboard and a trailer respectively. Bills Outdoor Center in Oakland is back again for a second year and will be providing prizes for angler recognition and assisting with marketing efforts to anglers in Western Maryland. A new sponsor this year, Smyth Jewelers, will be presenting a diamond worth $5,000 to the lucky angler who finds Diamond Jim on his hook.
We continue to be encouraged by the success of the tournament and the attention its brought to Marylands outstanding fishing opportunities, said Howard King, Director of DNRs Fisheries Service. We know that the number of activities competing with fishing as a recreational activity increases every year. Through special efforts like the Maryland Fishing Challenge, we hope to reintroduce the sport to Marylanders and establish a new tradition of fishing within families.
Over 60 species of fish are eligible for the grand prizes, 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 on the oceanside. For a complete list of eligible species and minimum size requirements, please visit