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Governor O’Malley Awards Top Prizes At Maryland Fishing Challenge Finale
4 of 5 semi-finalists caught qualifiers in Ocean City waters
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Martin O’Malley awarded $60,000 in prizes to lucky anglers this morning at the 2007 Maryland Fishing Challenge Finale at Sandy Point State Park. Stacie Griffin of WRNR Radio in Annapolis served as emcee, as over 300 enthusiastic anglers, sponsors and fishing enthusiasts gathered on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay for the closing event of the third annual contest.
Fishing around Ocean City proved to be the lucky theme of the day, with four of the five semi-finalists having caught their qualifiers in or near Maryland’s most popular resort town. The five finalists were selected from 128 contestants attending the event by random drawing.
Walking away with the two grand prizes were Bob Spetzler of Berlin (thanks to his proxy, daughter Melissa Spetzler) and Joseph R. Davis, Jr., of Waldorf. Spetzler’s catch of a 24.75-inch flounder at the 4th Street Bulkhead in Ocean City caught him a 2007 Toyota TUNDRA from Central Maryland Toyota valued at $36,000. Davis’ landing of a 66.5-inch wahoo at the “hot dog” off Ocean City landed him a TRACKER boat, trailer and motor package from BassPro Shops valued at $20,000.
“Maryland anglers make a major contribution to our state’s economy and play a significant role in the stewardship of our waterways and our aquatic life,” said Governor O’Malley. “Hopefully, this contest reminds them of how much they are appreciated, and adds a little extra excitement to summer fishing.”
Three other finalists won Bill’s Outdoor Center prize packages worth over $800 each: Mike Mumford of Mechanicsville, whose qualifying fish was a 23.5-inch Spanish mackerel caught off Cedar Point Hollow in the lower Bay; Walter Slotter of Quakertown, PA, who qualified with a 300-plus pound blue marlin he landed off the tip of Poor Man’s Canyon; and Ray Elicker of Red Lion, PA, (represented by proxy Gail Gray), whose qualifying catch was a 29-inch flounder, caught at the Ocean City Inlet.
“We are incredibly grateful to our sponsors -- Toyota of Central Maryland, Bass Pro Shops, Tracker Boats, Bill’s Outdoor World, Boater’s World and Smyth Jewelers,” said Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary, John R. Griffin. “Without their very generous and continuing support, this terrific, summer-long event would not be possible.”
Prior to the grand prize drawing, all qualifying anglers who attended the event received a contest t-shirt and DNR gift bag, and participated in drawings for more than 50 additional prizes, valued at $2,500 from Bill’s Outdoor World. A dozen qualifying children also received Shakespeare rod and real packages courtesy of Bass Pro Shops.
The quote of the day came from Spetzler’s daughter Melissa, who, when asked why her father wasn’t in attendance, responded, “He’s probably fishing!”
A program of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the 2007 Maryland Fishing Challenge ran from Thursday, June 14, through September 3. This year the Search for Diamond Jim continued, with a potential cash prize of up to $25,000 from Boater’s World and a $5,000 diamond from Smyth Jewelers for the capture the Bay’s most famous fish. While only two Diamond Jim “imposters” were caught, any angler who caught and reported the catch of one of 60-species of citation-qualifying fish also became eligible for the grand prize drawing.
A total of 228 anglers qualified this year (a 40 percent increase over 2006), representing 21 Maryland counties, Virginia, Delaware, West Virginia, Florida, New York, Washington, D.C., Georgia and Arkansas. Over 60 species of fish were citation-eligible, 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 on the oceanside.
More than 650,000 anglers fish in Maryland each year – not including children under 16 – with an annual estimated economic impact of $1 billion.
Photos from the event will be posted next week at http://www.govpics.maryland.gov/.
September 24, 20077
Contact: Olivia Campbell
410-260-8016 office I 410-507-7525 cell
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 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 www.dnr.maryland.gov