Cumberland Times-News

August 3, 2013

$25,000 rockfish swims in bay

For the Cumberland Times-News
Cumberland Times-News

— ANNAPOLIS — The Diamond Jim component of the 2013 Maryland Fishing Challenge entered its final phase on July 25 when Maryland Department of Natural Resources biologists and teams of young anglers caught, tagged and released around 200 striped bass into the Chesapeake Bay. One of the tagged fish is the official Diamond Jim worth as much as $25,000 to the angler who catches it between Aug. 1 and midnight Sept. 2, with the other tagged imposter rockfish worth at least $500 each.

“With summer upon us, and the Maryland Fishing Challenge in its prime, now is the perfect time for anglers of all ages and skill levels to get outside, cast a line and enjoy the diverse, high quality fishing opportunities our state has to offer,” said Gov. Martin O’Malley.

During the summer, approximately 600 imposters and one genuine Diamond Jim will be pursued by anglers. Each month Diamond Jim goes uncaught the bounty increases — from $10,000 in June, to $20,000 in July, and now $25,000 in August.

The contest features a guaranteed $25,000 payout, so if Diamond Jim is not caught by midnight 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 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, Marty’s, and Herb’s Tackle Shop. Additionally, Zachary’s is providing 5- to 6- carat blue topaz charms for anglers who catch imposter fish. DNR officials will reveal the tag number of the authentic Diamond Jim fish at the Maryland Fishing Challenge Finale, which will be held in conjunction with the Maryland Seafood Festival at Sandy Point State Park on Sept. 7.

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 sport fish that earns a Maryland Angler Award will receive a certificate of achievement and free passes to the finale where they will have the chance to win great door prizes.

Prizes include a boat, trailer and motor package from Tracker Marine; a Bahamas vacation package from the World Fishing Network; tackle packages from Bill’s Outdoor Center and Bass Pro Shops; Heat Gear from Under Armour; and fishing gear from a number of local tackle shops. Combined with the prizes for the Diamond Jim component of the contest, the total potential prize value of the year-long contest is more than $50,000.

To be eligible for the contest, all fish must be caught recreationally by rod and reel.