The third Diamond Jim imposter of the 2010 Maryland Fishing challenge
The actual tagged Diamond Jim is worth $10,000 if caught in June, $20,000 in July and $25,000 in August. Diamond Jim imposters are worth $500 each for the duration of the contest, which ends Labor Day, September 6, 2010. Additional tagged fish will be released throughout the summer.
The Diamond Jim component of the 2010 Fishing Challenge was originally created in the 1950s. One rockfish (striped bass) was specially tagged and whoever caught this lucky fish was given a $10,000 prize. Although the 1950s contest was short-lived, DNR revived this fun family event five years ago, aiming to promote recreational fishing in Maryland, recognize angler efforts and inspire natural resources stewardship.
As featured in previous contests, any angler who catches an award-qualifying fish and enters the challenge becomes eligible to participate in the grand prize drawing, which in the past has included a boat and trailer package from Bass Pro Tracker Shops and thousands of dollars in fishing gear and trips from Bill’s Outdoor Center. New sponsors for the 2010 challenge include the World Fishing Network and Under Armour.
“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.”
More than 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 caught in Maryland waters off the Atlantic Coast. Grand prize winners will be randomly selected at a closing ceremony during the 43rd annual Seafood Festival on September 11, 2010 at Sandy Point State Park.
The second Diamond Jim imposter of the 2010 Maryland Fishing challenge has been caught by Leo James Jr. of Annapolis, Md. James was fishing with his father-in-law at the Bay Bridges August 17 at 1 p.m. when he hooked the 24-inch striped bass, tagged on June 29.
Angler Aboard Solomons Charter Boat Reels in a BIG Catch
The third Diamond Jim imposter of the 2010 Maryland Fishing challenge was caught on August 22 by Devin Singer of Bethesda, Md. Singer was enjoying his first-ever fishing trip near James Island aboard the Charter Boat "Never Enuff," skippered by Captain Shawn Pruitt out of Solomons, Md., when he caught the tagged striped bass. The Diamond Jim imposter, worth $500 in prize money, was one of nearly 600 rockfish tagged so far this summer.
“Congratulations to Mr. Singer on catching one of the Diamond Jim imposters and becoming a winner of the 2010 Maryland Fishing Challenge,” said Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary John Griffin. “As a first-time fisherman, Mr. Singer shows that the Fishing Challenge is a great incentive for all Marylanders to get out on the water and enjoy Maryland’s beautiful waterways and abundant natural resources.”
“I didn’t know what it was when I caught it; I’ve never even been fishing before,” said Singer. “Everyone else on the boat knew. It kind of hit me halfway through the fishing trip when the captain called the verification number to report it and then I knew. I think we’re going again in September. A bunch of my friends are out all during the season and I’ll probably be piggy backing with them a lot more now.”
Over the summer, three batches of specially tagged striped bass – one authentic Diamond Jim and the rest imposters – have been released into the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The current Diamond Jim, which was released July 29, is worth $25,000. Also still on the loose are as many as 599 imposters worth $500 each.
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.
The 2010 Maryland Fishing Challenge 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. Qualified anglers can vie for grand prizes including a Tracker boat package from Bass Pro Shops Arundel Mills and a 7-day dream excursion to the island of Tobago courtesy of the World Fishing Network. Other prizes include thousands of dollars in fishing gear, merchandise from Under Armour amd kayaks from Kent Island Kayaks and Bass Pro Shops Arundel Mills.
Through the citation component, more than 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 caught in Maryland waters off the Atlantic Coast.
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 partners and sponsors.
“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.