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$25,000 Diamond Jim on the Loose

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$25,000 Diamond Jim on the Loose
More than $50,000 in prizes up for grabs during this year's Fishing Challenge

The Diamond Jim component of the 2013 Maryland Fishing Challenge entered its final phase today when Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) biologists and teams of young anglers caught, tagged and released around 200 striped bass into the Chesapeake Bay. One of the tagged fish is the official Diamond Jim worth as much as $25,000 to the angler who catches him between August 1 and midnight September 2, with the other tagged imposter rockfish worth at least $500 each.

"With summer upon us, and the Maryland Fishing Challenge in its prime, now is the perfect time for anglers of all ages and skill levels to get outside, cast a line and enjoy the diverse, high quality fishing opportunities our State has to offer," said Governor Martin O'Malley.

Over the summer, approximately 600 imposters and one genuine Diamond Jim will be pursued by anglers. Each month Diamond Jim goes uncaught the bounty increases - from $10,000 in June, to $20,000 in July, and $25,000 in August. The contest features a guaranteed $25,000 payout, so if Diamond Jim is not caught by midnight Labor Day, the cash prize will be split equally among those who catch imposters.

The first angler to catch Diamond Jim will also receive a set of one-carat diamond stud earrings from Zachary's Jewelers in Annapolis, and a stack of $1,000 gift cards from participating Maryland tackle shops such as Anglers, AllTackle, Fishbones, Clyde's, Marty's, and Herb's Tackle Shop. Additionally, Zachary's is providing five- to six- carat blue topaz charms for anglers who catch imposter fish. DNR officials will reveal the tag number of the authentic Diamond Jim fish at the Maryland Fishing Challenge Finale, which will be held in conjunction with the Maryland Seafood Festival at Sandy Point State Park on September 7, 2013.

Now in its ninth year, the challenge showcases Maryland as a premier sport fishing destination with accessible, affordable, diverse and high-quality opportunities for anglers of all ages. Anyone who catches and registers a Maryland Angler Award-eligible sport fish in any of the three categories - nontidal, Chesapeake Bay and coastal - will receive a certificate of achievement and free passes to the finale where they will have the chance to win great door prizes.

Prizes include a boat, trailer and motor package from Tracker Marine; a Bahamas vacation package from the World Fishing Network; tackle packages from Bill's Outdoor Center and Bass Pro Shops; Heat Gear from Under Armour; and fishing gear from a number of local tackle shops. Combined with the prizes for the Diamond Jim component of the contest, the total potential prize value of the year-long contest is more than $50,000.

To be eligible for the contest, all fish must be caught recreationally by rod and reel.

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.