An angler from Annapolis caught a 13.5-pound white perch, winning first prize in a state-sponsored fishing challenge on Saturday. The big win scored him a boat, motor and trailer.
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary John Griffin presented approximately $70,000 in cash, prizes and merchandise to lucky anglers this morning at the 2012 Maryland Fishing Challenge. Nearly 2,000 people, including sponsors, anglers and their guests attended the eighth-annual contest’s closing ceremony at Sandy Point State Park, according to a press release from DNR.
Walking away with today’s grand prize of boat, motor and trailer from Bass Pro Shops and Tracker Boats, was John Veil of Annapolis who caught an Angler Award-qualifying 13.5-pound white perch.
“This was a big surprise,” said Veil. “I came here to enjoy the event and won a new boat.”
Since Labor Day 2011, more than 1,000 anglers qualified to participate in Saturday’s grand prize drawing, nine of whom also qualified for the Diamond Jim component of the challenge. Youth winners from 20 fishing rodeos across the State also won exciting guided fishing trips donated by supporting fishing groups and professional guides.
John Schultz, a novice angler from Pennsylvania won an all expenses paid fishing trip to the Bimini Game Club on Bimini Island in the Bahamas provided by the World Fishing Network.
Nine lucky anglers caught specially tagged rockfish this summer in the Diamond Jim component of the 2012 Fishing Challenge. After all corresponding envelopes were opened—and no authentic Diamond Jim was discovered—the anglers split the contest’s cash prize of $25,000, taking home $2,778 each.
“Catch a fish” is one of the Maryland Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights, issued by Governor Martin O’Malley under the Partnership for Children in Nature, an initiative to ensure all young people have the opportunity to connect with their natural world and grow to become informed and responsible stewards.
Three batches of specially tagged striped bass—three genuine Diamond Jims and 375 imposters—were released into the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries this summer. Diamond Jim’s value increased each month: from $10,000 in June to $20,000 in July and $25,000 in August. The seven Diamond Jim imposters were worth at least $500 each for the duration of the contest.
Through the Angler Award component, 80 species of fish, 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, were eligible for the grand prizes.
This year’s challenge honors the life and times of world renowned fly-fishing legend Lefty Kreh. Over his remarkable 75-year career the Maryland native has shared his enthusiasm and skill for fishing through his columns, books and presentations. He is also known for his commitment to Maryland’s natural resources, promoting conservation and clean water, and giving back to the outdoors. Kreh was honored by Governor Martin O’Malley at the dedication of the Lefty Kreh Fishing Trail in the Hereford Area of Gunpowder Falls State Park on June 11.