ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Thousands of dollars in prize money. That’s the bait Maryland is once again deploying in an effort to get more people fishing.
Alex DeMetrick reports as pasttimes go, fishing is increasingly being passed by.
Reeling in a striped bass is a summer ritual on the Chesapeake, but as rituals go, fishing is not attracting the numbers it once did.
“Participation in fishing has been declining across the United States,” said DNR Fisheries Ecologist Marty Gary.
For the past five years, Maryland has been trying to rekindle interest in the sport by offering prize money. Over the next three months, 600 striped bass with be tagged. One of those tags—nicknamed Diamond Jim—will be worth $10,000. For the charter industry, it’s been a help.
“Absolutely, absolutely,” said charter captain Alex Williams.
Because captains like Williams can find fish. The economy’s made it harder to find customers.
“A lot of people are really leery of what they can do with the money,” Williams said.
But when a tagged fish is worth a minimum $500, interest picks up.
“It’s a good way for families to spend quality time together,” Gary said.
Tax dollars are not used in the fishing contest. The money comes from fishing license fees.