Annapolis, Md. (September 10, 2009) – Mike Lyons of Denton, MD will find out if his recent striped bass catch is worth $500 or $25,000 at the 2009 Maryland Fishing Challenge Finale on September 19, 2009. Lyons caught the fifth tagged striped bass in the Fishing Challenge while trolling off Benoni Point in the Choptank River near the mouth of the Tred Avon River.
“I want to congratulate Mr. Lyons as a winner in the 2009 Maryland Fishing Challenge,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “Our State's wonderful, recreational fishing opportunities are accessible to and affordable for all Maryland families, and a great way for everyone to enjoy and connect with our great outdoors."
The Fishing Challenge started June 1 and ran through Labor Day, September 7, 2009. Throughout 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. By the end of the Challenge five stripers were caught; all but the most recent have been verified as imposters, carrying a $500 prize.
Lyons will also be entered in the grand prize drawing at the award ceremony during the finale. The grand prizes include 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.
“I thought it was joke [when I pulled in the striped bass]. I’ve never seen a fish a tagged like that,” said Lyons. “[Fishing is] supper on the table, but it’s good to get away. I’ve fished most of my life.”
Through the citation component, more than 60 species of fish were 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 took 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.
As an added youth component, children participating in various fishing rodeos across the State qualified for a unique category and win a guided fishing trip.
“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.