John Sparrow from Waldorf, MD has caught the second tagged striped bass in the 2009 Maryland Fishing Challenge. Sparrow was fishing in Cove Point when he hooked the prized rockfish, which could be worth up to $20,000!
“I want to congratulate Mr. Sparrow as the second winner in the 2009 Maryland Fishing Challenge,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “Mr. Sparrow shows a love for fishing which is what the Fishing Challenge is about: encouraging families to spend time outdoors enjoying the Bay and experience our State’s natural resources.”
Over the summer, three batches of 50 specially tagged striped bass – one authentic Diamond Jim and 49 imposters – are being released into the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Since June’s Diamond Jim eluded capture during its validity period, the current Diamond Jim — which was released on July 1 — is now worth $20,000. Also still on the loose are nearly 100 imposters worth $500 each. If July’s Jim is not caught, a newly tagged Diamond Jim released in August will carry a $25,000 price on its head.
“We were racing for the net, we were hoping it was him,” said Sparrow. “We’ve been talking about the Diamond Jim contest all summer, even the non-fishermen are talking about it.”
Sparrow – and the rest of Maryland – will find out July 30, at a ceremony during the August tagging in Solomons, MD, whether he snagged the $20,000 Diamond Jim or a $500 imposter, when the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) gives him the prize envelope matching the tag on his fish.
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. Sparrow—and any angler who catches a prize fish – will also be entered into the final awards ceremony in September, and will be eligible for the grand prizes including a boat, motor and trailer from Bass Pro Shops and thousands of dollars in prizes from Bill’s Outdoor Center on Deep Creek Lake. Short will receive his reward at the August release of Diamond Jim in Solomons.
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 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 Marylanders can also follow Diamond Jim at www.facebook.com/diamondjim_md or www.twitter.com/Diamondjim_md