Diamond Jim Still on the Loose After Impostor Caught

The first Diamond Jim impostor of the 2011 Maryland Fishing challenge has been caught by David Huffman of Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania. Huffman was fishing off of Rock Hall, Md. on July 20, when he hooked the 22-inch striped bass. The Diamond Jim imposter, worth $500, was one of nearly 600 rockfish tagged so far this summer. If no one catches the authentic Diamond Jim - worth $25,000 - the money will be split among those who caught the imposters.

"I want to congratulate Mr. Huffman as a winner in the 2011 Maryland Fishing Challenge," said Governor Martin O'Malley. "This annual tournament is a local tradition and showcases the wonderful fishing opportunities we are afforded in Maryland."Over the summer, three batches of specially tagged striped bass - one authentic Diamond Jim and the rest imposters - have been released into the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The current Diamond Jim is worth $25,000. Also still on the loose are as many as 599 imposters worth $500 each. Zachary's Jewelers is adding to the prize pool, giving away a set of diamond stud earrings valued at approximately $4,000 to the angler who catches the authentic Diamond Jim released today.

"We are pleased to be able to support this excellent event. The Chesapeake Bay is one of the best places on earth for weddings, proposals, anniversaries, birthdays, and of course, fishing," said Zachary's Jewelers owner Steve Samaras. "It just seems appropriate that the quest for a rockfish named Diamond Jim should have diamonds as a prize. All of us at Zachary's are happy to provide these jewels with sincere hope that on September 10, we will have a winner."

The Maryland Fishing Challenge Citation Award program runs all year long, starting the day after Labor Day and ending the following Labor Day. There are 71 qualifying species in the program. Every angler who catches an award-qualifying fish or a Diamond Jim tagged striped bass and enters the challenge becomes eligible to participate in the grand prize random drawing, to be held during the 43rd annual Seafood Festival on September 10, 2011 at Sandy Point State Park.

This year's citation prizes include a boat and trailer package from Bass Pro Shops and Tracker Boats, thousands of dollars in fishing gear and trips from Bill's Outdoor Center, a tropical vacation from World Fishing Network and merchandise from Under Armour.Diamond Jim was originally created during a short-lived fishing contest during the 1950s, when a single specially tagged striped bass was worth $25,000 to the lucky angler who caught him. DNR revived this fun family event in 2005 to promote recreational fishing, highlight Maryland's State fish, recognize angler efforts and inspire natural resources stewardship.

To see the complete citation award species list go to dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/challenge/index.asp?p=species.

To be eligible for the contest, all fish must caught recreationally by rod and reel. Complete rules are available online atdnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/challenge.For information on the Maryland Seafood Festival, go to www.MDseafoodfestival.com.

"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.

Note to anglers: If you catch a tagged fish, do not remove the tag. Put the fish in your freezer and call the number printed on the tag. A DNR representative will follow up to examine and certify the tag. The Diamond Jim component of this year's challenge ends at midnight on September 5.

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