The hunt is on! The Diamond Jim component of the 2013 Maryland Fishing Challenge kicked off when Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) biologists and teams of young anglers caught, tagged and released 200 striped bass into the Chesapeake Bay. One of the tagged fish is the official Diamond Jim worth $10,000 to the angler who catches him before midnight on June 30. The other tagged “imposter” rockfish are worth at least $500 each if caught and registered before midnight on Labor Day, September 2, 2013.
“The Diamond Jim component of the Maryland Fishing Challenge signifies the beginning of a summer filled with top-notch, diverse fishing, located right here in our great State,” said Governor O’Malley. “This contest is an open invitation to everyone ─ young and old, seasoned pros and first timers ─ to not only cast a line, but spend time outdoors and create memories with friends and loved ones.”
[pullquote]More than $50,000 in prizes up for grabs during this year’s fishing challenge.[/pullquote]Over the summer, hundreds of imposters and one genuine Diamond Jim will be pursued by anglers. Each month he goes uncaught the bounty increases ─ from $10,000 in June, to $20,000 in July, and $25,000 in August. The contest features a guaranteed $25,000 payout, so if Diamond Jim is not caught by Labor Day, the cash prize will be split equally among those who catch imposters.
The first angler to catch Diamond Jim will also receive a set of one-carat total-weight, round, brilliant diamond stud earrings from Zachary’s Jewelers in Annapolis, and a stack of $1,000 gift cards from participating Maryland tackle shops such as Anglers, AllTackle, Fishbones, Clyde’s, and Marty’s and Herb’s Tackle Shop. These prizes bring the total potential value of Diamond Jim to more than $35,000.
Now in its ninth year, the challenge showcases Maryland as a premier sport fishing destination with accessible, affordable, diverse and high-quality opportunities for anglers of all ages. Anyone who catches and registers a Maryland Angler Award-eligible sport fish will receive a certificate of achievement and free passes to the Maryland Fishing Challenge Finale ─ to be held in conjunction with the Maryland Seafood Festival at Sandy Point State Park on September 7, 2013. Here, these anglers will have the chance to win great door prizes, including a boat, trailer and motor package from Tracker Marine; a tropical vacation package from the World Fishing Network; tackle packages from Bill’s Outdoor Center and Bass Pro Shops; collectable event t-shirts from Under Armour; and fishing gear from a number of local tackle shops.
Combined with the prizes for the Angler Award component of the contest, this brings the total potential prize value of the year-long contest to more than $50,000.
“I want to thank our sponsors and our recreational fishery stakeholders for making this tournament possible,” said DNR Secretary Joe Gill. “The steadfast support of these businesses and the Maryland Seafood Festival have helped develop the Maryland Fishing Challenge into more than a contest, it has become a highly anticipated and appreciated summer-long experience.”
The Maryland Fishing Challenge is a free year-round tournament sponsored by DNR. To be eligible for the contest, all fish must be caught recreationally by rod and reel. To see the Angler Award species list and the official contest rules, visit dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/challenge.
Catch a fish is included in 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.
DNR encourages everyone to take advantage of Maryland’s Free Fishing Days, the first two Saturdays in June and July 4.