Annapolis, MD — Chery Duffy from Sterling, VA, has caught the fourth tagged striped bass in the 2009 Maryland Fishing Challenge, The Search for Diamond Jim. Duffy was fishing off Breezy Point aboard a charter boat called “Back Draft” out of Deale, MD, when Chery caught a striper tagged in July. Chery’s catch is worth $500, which means the $25,000 Diamond Jim is still on the loose!
“I want to congratulate Ms Duffy as a winner in the 2009 Maryland Fishing Challenge,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “As we near the end of the Challenge, there are still plenty of good opportunities for Marylanders to get out on the water, either on their own or through a charter boat, and enjoy the rest of the summer.”
Over the summer, three batches of specially tagged striped bass – each including one authentic Diamond Jim and at least 49 imposters – were released into the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Currently there are more than 150 imposters swimming through the bay and one Diamond Jim worth $25,000.
Created to promote recreational fishing in Maryland, recognize angler efforts and inspire natural resources stewardship, the 2009 Maryland Fishing Challenge will run through Labor Day, September 7, 2009. Duffy—and any angler who catches a prize fish – will also be entered into the final awards ceremony on September 19 at Sandy Point State Park. The grand prizes includes a boat, motor and trailer from Bass Pro Shops and thousands of dollars in prizes from Bill's Outdoor Center on Deep Creek Lake. All eligible winners will receive their rewards at the ceremony in September.
“This is a great catch for the charter boat industry,” said DNR Biologist Marty Gary. “For those who would like to experience the great fishing on the Chesapeake, but do not have their own boat, charter boats are a great way to obtain instant access and expertise to the best fishing grounds and techniques”
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 making qualifying catches can take their fish to any of the 88 official citation award centers located across Maryland. Fish are then measured and certified, and anglers receive documentation for their award citation. Anglers are then automatically entered in the contest final awards ceremony and are listed on the DNR website.
For a complete list of citation centers and entrants go to http://www.dnr.maryland.gov/fishingchallenge/index.asp.
Grand prize winners will be randomly selected at a closing ceremony in mid-September.
As an added youth component, children participating in various fishing rodeos across the State may qualify for a unique category and win a guided fishing trip. Last year 12 children won trips donated by Maryland charter boat captains, which are currently being scheduled and will take place throughout the summer.
“Catch a fish” is one of the Maryland Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights, issued by Governor Martin O’Malley in April. 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.
Complete Rules are available online at www.dnr.maryland.gov/fishingchallenge and you can follow Diamond Jim at www.facebook.com/diamondjim_md or www.twitter.com/Diamondjim_md.