The Maryland Fishing Challenge Featuring Diamond Jim is a free, year-round tournament sponsored by the Maryland DNR Fisheries Service, recreational fishing organizations, and generous donors across the state.
The purpose of the Maryland Fishing Challenge is to showcase Maryland as a great destination for sport fishing, with affordable, accessible, diverse and high quality fishing opportunities for Maryland's residents and visitors alike, and to help increase the number of youth and families participating in the sport of fishing. Recreational fishing offers opportunities for families and individuals to spend quality time together, enjoying the wonderful aquatic natural resources which Maryland has to offer.
The Maryland Fishing Challenge features three components:
- Award Achievers
Anyone fishing legally in Maryland has the opportunity to catch and record an award-winning fish by landing any of more than 80 eligible species categories above a certain minimum size designated by species. If you catch a fish that meets or exceeds the official award size,simply submit your catch to any of the many official award centers (tackle shops) to receive your official entry ticket which clears the way for you to receive your award certificate and your invitation to the Grand Celebration. The entry tickets are available at the award centers with online registration soon to come. Qualifying anglers will be limited to one chance per angler, regardless of the number of awards they receive. Prize winners will be randomly selected from the attendees at the celebration. Catch and Release anglers may also participate by bringing a proper photo to an awards center.
- Diamond Jim -
Diamond Jim is a special component of the Maryland Fishing Challenge that honors Maryland's official State fish, the striped bass and the Chesapeake Bay. Originally established in 1956, the original Diamond Jim Contest featured a single, tagged striped bass released by a Baltimore brewery that rewarded the lucky angler that caught the fish with a cash reward of $25,000. In the modern day contest, there are many tagged fish and $25,000 will be given away so long as at least one of the tagged striped bass are caught and certified by DNR.
During the 2013 Maryland Fishing Challenge, striped bass will be tagged with specially marked chartreuse tags and released into Maryland waters of the Chesapeake Bay during the contest time frame of May 24, 2013 through midnight, September 2, 2013. Each month, specially tagged striped bass will be tagged and released into the Maryland portion of Chesapeake Bay with only one being the authentic Diamond Jim. The remaining tagged striped bass are known as imposters, and are valued at a minimum reward of $500. There is no limit to the number of tagged fish you can catch.
During the months of June, July and August of the Maryland Fishing Challenge, if you catch a striped bass tagged with the special 2013 Diamond Jim chartreuse tag, you could win up to $25,000. During these three months of the tournament, striped bass with special, chartreuse tags will be released - one of the tagged striped bass each month will be worth a minimum of $10,000 if caught in the month it was released or possibly up to $25,000 if the prior months' "Diamond Jim" was not caught.
- JUNE: On or about May 24, 2013, striped bass will be released into the Maryland's Chesapeake Bay. One of the tagged striped bass will be designated the "Diamond Jim" worth $10,000 if caught between May 24th, 2013 through midnight June 30, 2013. The remaining tagged striped bass are known as imposters, worth a minimum of $500 if caught between May 24th, 2013 and September 2, 2013. If the June "Diamond Jim" striped bass is not caught before midnight June 30, 2013, that striped bass becomes an imposter fish, worth at least $500, and a new "Diamond Jim" striped bass is selected from a new group of striped bass which are tagged and released on June 30, 2013 which will be worth $20,000.
- JULY: On or about June 28, 2013, additional striped bass are tagged and released into Maryland's portion of Chesapeake Bay. Again, one of the newly tagged striped bass is "Diamond Jim", and eligible if caught before midnight July 31, 2013, and the remaining fish are known as imposters, each of which is worth a minimum of $500. If the June "Diamond Jim" striped bass is caught, the July Diamond Jim striped bass is worth $10,000 in cash. If the June "Diamond Jim" striped bass is not caught, the July "Diamond Jim" striped bass reward will be worth $20,000.
- AUGUST: On or about July 26, 2013, additional striped bass are tagged and released into Maryland's portion of Chesapeake Bay. Again, only one of the newly tagged striped bass is "Diamond Jim", eligible if caught before midnight on September 2, 2013, and the remaining striped bass are imposters, worth a minimum of $500. If the July "Diamond Jim" striped bass is caught in the specified time frame, the August "Diamond Jim" is worth $10,000. If the June "Diamond Jim " striped bass is caught in the specified time frame and the July "Diamond Jim" is not caught in the specified time frame, the August "Diamond Jim" is worth $20,000. If neither the June or July "Diamond Jim" striped bass are caught in the specified time frame, the final "Diamond Jim" is worth $25,000.
- If no authentic "Diamond Jim" striped bass are caught during the contest. Any imposter striped bass which have been caught between May 24, 2013 and September 2, 2013 and are certified by MD DNR officials to have been caught consistent with the rules of the contest will divide $25,000 equally among the anglers qualifying.
- Anyone is eligible except a professional guide, a charter boat captain, crewman of a for-hire boat, or anyone who is licensed to offer fish for sale. All fish registered must be caught on rod and reel. No other person may touch the rod or line until the leader is within grasp or the end of the leader has reached the rod tip. Fish that have been snagged, shot, gaffed, speared, scaled, or mutilated are not eligible. The catch must be lawful. Anglers should be aware of the rules pertaining to fishing and eligible sizes of fish at all time.
A chartreuse tag will be placed on a select number of striped bass that are part of the "Diamond Jim" promotion. If this fish is caught, DO NOT REMOVE THE TAG FROM THE STRIPED BASS. IF THE TAG IS REMOVED, THE FISH WILL NO LONGER BE ELIGIBLE FOR A PRIZES. Call the phone number printed on the tag, and leave a message (the voicemails are retrieved daily). Place the fish on ice or freeze the fish. A DNR Fisheries biologist MUST physically examine the striped bass with the tag still attached for the fish to be eligible. If the tag is removed, the catch will be disqualified. The chartreuse fish tag will have the words ""MD 2012 DIAMOND JIM FISHING CHALLENGE INELIGIBLE IF TAG IS REMOVED - Phone Number- Tag number". It may take several days for an inspection to be conducted, so PLEASE FREEZE OR ICE YOUR FISH WITHOUT REMOVING THE TAG.
If the MD DNR official(s) inspect and certify your fish as eligible, the angler who caught the tagged striped bass will be required to sign a certificate of recapture which contains an under penalty of perjury statement. If the angler is under the age of 18, the legal guardian will also be required to sign the certificate of recapture form. Upon signing this certification form, MD DNR officials will conduct an investigation including, but not limited to, requiring the winner and a witness to the catch to complete a DNR NRP polygraph examination before the prize is awarded.
By participating in the 2013 Maryland Fishing Challenge, you agree to be mentioned by name in the media (i.e. newspaper, television, radio, internet, etc.) and photographed for use during Fishing Challenge promotions. Each winner is responsible for paying any and all taxes on any prize(s) won. You must provide your contact information (and those of your parent or guardian, if you are under 18 years of age) and your fishing license (if applicable) at the time of the inspection. DNR must certify that you are qualified before your name will be entered into the final prize drawing.
- Maryland Fishing Challenge (MFC) Youth Component
MFC partners and/or sponsors host youth fishing events across the state where anglers under the age of 16 may be chosen to advance to the Grand Awards Celebration on September 8th, 2013 with a chance to take home a prize donated by one of the Maryland Fishing Challenge sponsors as well as other opportunities offered by supporting Maryland Fishing Challenge partners. In 2012, 19 youth anglers advanced to the awards event and won prizes including tackle packages from Bill's Outdoor Center and Bass Pro Shops and a fishing outfits donated by Alltackle, Marty's Sporting Goods, Anglers Sporting Goods, Fish Bones Bait & Tackle, Clyde's Sport Shop, Tochterman's and Herb's Tackle Shop. These events are in addition to the nearly 65 youth fishing rodeo events held annually by local community and fishing organizations, these rodeo events are not a MFC Youth Component. For a full listing of MFC partnered events please check out the table of events. Also be sure to visit the Maryland Youth Fishing Club website for additional information on youth fishing events.
The annual contest ends at midnight on Labor Day each year. The following Maryland Fishing Challenge begins at 12:01 a.m. the next day.
For more information about the citation award program contact Keith Lockwood at firstname.lastname@example.org and (410) 226-0078, Ext 107. For additional information regarding the Maryland Fishing Challenge contact Marty Gary at email@example.com.