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Grand prize escapes nine anglers in Maryland Fishing Challenge finale

By Don Markus, The Baltimore Sun

5:15 PM EDT, September 8, 2012

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The big one got away again at Saturday's Maryland Fishing Challenge finale in Annapolis.

For the eighth straight year since the contest was established, no anglers caught the special Diamond Jim striped bass worth a $25,000 prize.

Though the $25,000 striped bass wasn't caught, it marks the second year in which the Jim Diamond prize money was split among those who caught a fish carrying the designated tag.

Instead, the nine anglers who caught fish that were tagged in the popular Maryland Department of Natural Resources' contest took home nearly $2,800 each.

The big winner during the finale which attracted a crowd of around 2,000 to Sandy Point State Park, was John Veil of Annapolis.

Veil, whose 13.5 pound white perch gained him entrance into the grand prize drawing, won a boat, a motor and a trailer from Bass Pro Shops and Tracker Boats.

Another big winner was Pennsylvania angler John Schultz, who described himself as a relative newcomer to the sport after winning an all-expenses paid trip to the Bimini Game Club in the Bahamas. The World Fishing Network provided the trip.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, three genuine Diamond Jims and 375 imposters were released into the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries this summer.

The value of the Diamond Jim increased from $10,000 in June to eventually $25,000.

This year's contest also honored the career and accomplishments of Hall of Fame angler Lefty Kreh. A former outdoors columnist for the Baltimore Sun, the now 87-year-old Kreh had a fishing trail named after him in the Hereford area of Gunpowder Falls State Park earlier this year.

don.markus@baltsun.com

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