News from the DNR Office of Communications

Diamond Jim Still On The Loose! Now Worth $25,000!

Waldorf Man Catches $500 Imposter

Annapolis, MD – John Sparrow from Waldorf, MD caught the second tagged striped bass in the 2009 Maryland Fishing Challenge, which turned out to be a Diamond Jim imposter worth $500. Sparrow was fishing in Cove Point earlier this month when he hooked the prized rockfish, and today at a ceremony in Solomons, MD opened the matching envelope pronouncing it an imposter.

“At this point it’s still anybody’s game to win,” said 2009 Fishing Challenge Organizer Marty Gary. “With the Fishing Challenge, when you get new people out on the water with their families, enjoying nature, everyone wins.”

Over the summer, three batches of 50 specially tagged striped bass – one authentic Diamond Jim and 49 imposters – are being released into the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Since July’s Diamond Jim eluded capture during its validity period, the current Diamond Jim -- which was released today -- is now worth $25,000. Also still on the loose are more than 145 imposters worth $500 each.

"It's an impostor. We ate him, he made a good dinner, but Diamond Jim is still out there,” said Sparrow. “It’s been fun and I can’t wait for the drawing.”

Created to promote recreational fishing in Maryland, recognize angler efforts and inspire natural resources stewardship, the 2009 Maryland Fishing Challenge—which also features a citation component—will run through Labor Day, September 7, 2009. Sparrow—and any angler who catches a prize or citation fish – will also be entered into the final awards ceremony in September, and will be eligible for the grand prizes including a boat, motor and trailer from Bass Pro Shops and thousands of dollars in prizes from Bill's Outdoor Center on Deep Creek Lake.

The Bass Pro Shops in Hanover, MD is now the 88th official Sport Fishing Citation Award Center. The Citation Centers are located across the state of Maryland, and function to certify memorable and notable catches of over 81 species categories. Anglers can now take their qualifying catches to Bass Pro Shops in Arundel Mills Mall to be checked in. In addition to receiving an award citation suitable for framing, anglers will be entered into the 2009 Maryland Fishing Challenge grand prize drawing for a Tracker boat, motor and trailer from Bass Pro Shops and Tracker Boats, which will be randomly selected at a prize ceremony in September.

As an added youth component, children participating in various fishing rodeos across the State may qualify for a unique category and win a guided fishing trip. Last year 12 children won trips donated by Maryland charter boat captains, which taking place throughout the summer.

“Catch a fish” is one of the Maryland Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights, issued by Governor Martin O’Malley in April. 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.

Complete rules are available online at Diamond Jim at or

   July 30, 2009

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 461,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries, and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic, and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at