"Diamond Jim" Still On The Loose

With approximately 3 Weeks Left, More Than 120 Anglers Already Entered To Win 2007 Maryland Fishing Challenge

ANNAPOLIS (Aug. 18, 2007) — Anglers in Maryland still have three weeks to find the elusive “Diamond Jim” and join the 122 lucky folks who have already captured citation-worthy catches, qualifying them for the 2007 Maryland Fishing Challenge grand prize drawing. Governor Martin O’Malley will join participants and sponsors for the grand prize drawing at a special ceremony in Annapolis on Saturday, September 22.

The 2007 Maryland Fishing Challenge began Thursday, June 14 and runs through Labor Day, September 3. In an exciting twist this year, every angler who catches a citation qualifying fish (60 species eligible statewide) will be eligible to win one of the official sponsor grand prizes. To date, 122 anglers have qualified to win prizes, which include a Toyota Tundra 4x4 pickup truck from Central Atlantic Toyota and a 591 Nitro with a 115 HP Mercury engine and a trailer donated by Bass Pro Shops and Tracker Boats.

“Participation is slightly up compared to the past two years, with more anglers qualifying by catching citation and tagged fish from across the State.,” said Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Deputy Secretary Eric Schwaab. “We also want to remind everyone that, with great August fishing reports, now is a great time to take kids out fishing before they head back to school.”

The Challenge has received statewide support from enthusiastic partners including the Governor, state and local elected officials, the Coastal Conservation Association, the Maryland Saltwater Sportsmen Association, and the Maryland Charter Boat Association. Last year DNR certified 147 qualifying fish caught across Maryland by 139 anglers as part of the 2006 Challenge. In 2005, 98 anglers qualified. DNR expects to receive even more contestants this year, making the 2007 Maryland Fishing Challenge the most successful in recent history.

Based upon entries to date, anglers eligible for the grand prizes have reported fish caught from every county in the state. Twenty-nine different species of fish have been reported, from marlin and wahoo on the Atlantic coast, striped bass and black drum in Chesapeake Bay, to trout, musky and walleye in freshwaters of the state. The most popular fish entered in the 2007 Challenge include largemouth bass (27), white perch (20), croaker (18), and flounder (13). One of the more unusual catches of the Challenge to date was a 43 inch long nose gar caught in Piscataway Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River in Prince George’s County.

“In addition to being fun and profitable for lucky anglers, we hope this annual celebration of recreational fishing in Maryland reminds people of the connections between our environmental and economic health, and the responsibility we all share for working toward a sustainable future for our Bay and its aquatic life,” added Schwaab.

For more information about the prizes, rules, and where to fish, visit http://www.dnr.maryland.gov/fishingchallenge/ .

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