Winners Of Maryland Fishing Challenge Named
DNR Secretary John Griffin helped present approximately $70,000 in prizes and merchandise to lucky anglers this morning at the 2010 Maryland Fishing Challenge featuring Diamond Jim finale. Approximately 2,000 people - including sponsors, anglers and their guests - attended the contest's sixth annual closing ceremony held at Sandy Point State Park.
"I want to thank our sponsors for their generous support," said Secretary Griffin. "Fishing is an important part of our Maryland heritage and the perfect opportunity for families to bond outdoors. By exposing Maryland children to fishing, we are creating a generation that cares about the Bay."
More than 1,900 anglers from as far away as California qualified to participate in today's grand prize drawing. As an added youth component, children participating in various fishing rodeos across the State qualified for a unique category for the chance to win guided fishing trips.
Walking away with the grand prize today was 13 year-old Garret Boylan of Finksberg, Md. Boylan caught a white perch, nearly 15 inches long, in the Liberty reservoir in Baltimore County on June 10, which qualified him for the boat, motor and trailer from Bass Pro Shops and Tracker Boats.
"I'm speechless," said Maurice Boylan, the winner's father. "It was a shot in the dark. We drove an hour and a half [to attend the finale], and now my little boy won a boat!"
Additional winners included James Vogel III of Conowingo, Md., Howard James of Georgetown, Del. and Paul Gilbert of Unionville, Pa. who won thousands of dollars in prizes from Bill's Outdoor Center. Kurt Hofschild of Pasadena, Md. won an all expenses paid fishing trip to the Island of Tobago provided by the World Fishing Network.
In addition, during this year's contest, five lucky anglers also caught specially tagged rockfish. Devin Singer, of Bethesda, Md.; Billy Beale of Jarrettsville, Md.; Leo James Jr. of Annapolis, Md.; and Tristen Blake of Federalsburg, Md received checks for $500 each for their catches, which were confirmed as Diamond Jim imposters. Bill Heisterhagan of Easton , Md. - who caught the only possible Diamond Jim tagged striped bass in the challenge - learned at the event that he too had caught a $500 Diamond Jim imposter.
"Keep fishing!" Heisterhagan yelled as he left the stage. "It's great. We'll do a little upgrading on our boat and be ready to go out again."
Lucky young anglers from across the State were awarded guided fishing trips:
- Michale Nutter of LaPlata, Md. and Tyler Bishell of Earleville, Md. will receive a trip from the Mid-Atlantic Council of Trout Unlimited.
- Taylor Mae Edwards of Essex, Md. and Ben Shiner of Nittingham, Md. will receive a trip from the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen's Association.
- Adam Szarko of Catonsville, Md. will receive a trip from the Maryland Charter Boat Association
- Austin Bible of Cumberland, Md.; Bradley McDowell of Rising Sun, Md.; Jacob Gambrill of Whitemarsh, Md.; and Cody Wheeler of Bel Air, Md. will receive trips from Bass Federation Nation.
- Cheyenne Sawyer of Greensboro, Md. and Bryan Brochu of Rising Sun, Md. will receive a trip from the Legislative Sportsman's Foundation.
- John Duarte of Baltimore, Md. and Micaela Rogers of Elkton, Md. will receive a trip from the Coastal Conservation Association.
- Omar Peay of Silver Spring, Md. and Austin Shires of New Cumberland, Pa. will receive a trip from Bill's Outdoor Center.
- Jason Mukendi of Landover Hills, Md. will receive a trip from Captain Richie Gaines
- Nadirah Offord of Baltimore, Md. will receive a trip from Skip Zinck.
- Eryk Vincent of Stevensville, Md. will receive a trip from Captain Tom Hughes.
- Timmy Patschorke of Ballwin, Mo. will receive a trip from Captain Mike Benjamin.
- Nayel Camper of Salisbury, Md. will receive a trip from Captain Monty Hawkins.
Created to promote recreational fishing in Maryland, recognize angler efforts and inspire natural resources stewardship, the 2010 Maryland Fishing Challenge started June 1 and ran through Labor Day, September 6, 2010.
At the finale, The Maryland Legislative Sportsmen's Foundation presented Natural Resources Police (NRP) with a $5,000 check, the proceeds from the sale of Maryland's first lifetime hunting license.
Three batches of nearly 200 specially tagged striped bass - one genuine Diamond Jim and 199 imposters - were released into the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries this summer. Diamond Jim's value increased each month: $10,000 if caught in June, $20,000 if caught in July and $25,000 if caught in August, and nearly 599 Diamond Jim imposters are worth $500 each for the duration of the contest.
Through the citation component, more than 60 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.
"Catch a fish" is one of 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.