Governor O'Malley Congratulates Maryland Fishing Challenge Finale Winners & Contestants
Governor Thanks the 1,100+ Anglers & Families in Attendance for Their Stewardship Commitment
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND - Governor Martin O'Malley presented prizes valued at more than $50,000 to lucky anglers at the 2008 Maryland Fishing Challenge finale. More than 1,100 enthusiastic anglers and their families attended the contest's fourth annual closing event held on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay at Sandy Point State Park.
"Maryland anglers make a tremendous 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. "The increased participation by children in this year's contest brings hope not only to the future of this beloved pastime, but to the future of our natural resources."
New life was brought to this year's contest, as participation increased from last year's 224 qualifying entrants to 1,345 anglers from 24 U.S. states, Canada, andBrazil this year. New this year, a youth challenge qualified children, who participated in five community fishing derbies held across the state, to win unique guided fishing trips.
Walking away with the two grand prizes selected by random drawing were Fred Menage of Edgewater, Md. and Edir Sauerbronn Dos Santos of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Menage's catch of a 40.25-inch striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay just below the Thomas Point Lighthouse won him a 2008 Toyota TUNDRA from Central Maryland Toyota. Menage, aged 69, weighed his fish in at 24 lbs. at Marty's Tackle in Mayo. Md.
"It was beautiful and delicious," said Menage, describing his catch. "I've been fishing my whole life and this one turned out to be my lucky fish. It's unbelievable and so very exciting that I won this Toyota truck. It will be the first truck I've ever owned."
Dos Santos' first catch ever in the Chesapeake Bay, a 42-inch striped bass caught aboard the Beach Comber out of Chesapeake Beach, Md. landed him a TRACKER boat, trailer and motor package from Bass Pro Shops. Dos Santos was represented by his son-in-law Eric Hoffman of Dundalk, Md. today, who was also aboard for the lucky catch.
"Fishing is a great family activity that enables us all to get out on the water for some good, safe fun," said Hoffman. "Each of us caught great sized fish that day during our families' fishing trip aboard a local charterboat. We are looking forward to going out more on this gorgeous new boat."
Additional finalists, Hunter Betz, an 11-year old angler from York, Pa., Mike Currie of Leonardtown, Md. and James Harrison of Annapolis, Md. won Bill's Outdoor Center prize packages worth $1,500 each, and a $2,500 Boater's World gift card, respectively. A TAG Heuer Formula 1 watch valued at more than $800 was also awarded by Smyth Jewelers to Nathaniel Rowe of Hagerstown, Md.
Lucky young anglers from across the state were awarded guided fishing trips:
- Neil Villaneuve of Rosedale, Md.
- Jessica Sheets of Jessup, Md.
- Christian Connally of Bowie, Md.
- Jacob Toomey of Pittsville, Md.
- Layne Dittmar of Baltimore, Md.
- Lacie Thomas of Baltimore, Md.
- Nyja Morris of Clinton, Md.
- Paul Anderson of Bowie, Md.
- Morgan Rose of Salisbury, Md.
- Nicole Bertazon of Halethorpe, Md.
- Donald Jones, Jr. of Baltimore, Md.
The guided youth fishing trips were donated by:
- Val Lynch of the Ocean City Marlin Club (for four kids and four mentors)
- Maryland Charter Boat Association, Inc. (for three kids and three mentors)
- Bill's Outdoor Center on Deep Creek Lake in Western Maryland (for 2 kids and 2 mentors)
- Ed Liccionne and David Sutherland of the Maryland Legislative Sportsman's Foundation
- Avid fly fisherman and co-author of the Guide to Maryland Trout Fishing Larry Coburn of Laurel, Md.
- ESPN featured guide, Captain "Walleye" Pete Dahlberg of St. Leonard, Md.
- Steve Linhard of Annapolis, Md.
- Ed Keller's of Hagerstown, Md.'s Potomac Guide Service
- Andy Andrewjeski off Deep Creek Lake in Western Maryland
"We hope our annual fishing challenge gave first time and experienced anglers an incentive to take advantage of Maryland's great fishing opportunities, and particularly to share their passion for the sport with the next generation," said DNR Deputy Secretary Eric Schwaab.
Organized by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the 2008 Maryland Fishing Challenge ran from Saturday, April 12 through Labor Day, September 1. While the contest offered 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 Diamond Jim, the bay's most famous fish eluded anglers again this year. All prizes for the Challenge were donated.
More than 60 species of fish were citation-eligible, including large and smallmouth bass, trout, walleye, musky and pan fish 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 ocean-side.
"We are also very luck to have our Governor, Martin O'Malley, who from day one, rolled up his sleeves and went to work for Maryland's fishermen and our environment, particularly the Chesapeake Bay," added Schwaab. "It is thanks to his commitment to our children and our environment that we are rebuilding our beleaguered Chesapeake Bay blue crab population, charting a new, sustainable course for fisheries management, and strategically targeting our conservation dollars to get the maximum attainable results for taxpayers."
Governor O'Malley continues to make conserving and restoring our natural resources a priority though a more balanced budget that includes an additional $25 million in funding for Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts; fully funding Program Open Space; an additional $750,000 to improve fisheries management and restore habitat; an enhancement of more than $4 million to ensure sustainable management and quality outdoor recreational opportunities in our state parks; and $3 million for new Chesapeake Bay oyster and habitat restoration projects.
Photos from the event will be posted next week at www.govpics.maryland.gov/.
The 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 http://www.DNR.Maryland.gov.
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