SOLOMONS, Md. – Three years ago, knowing the attraction of catching giant striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay has for anglers in the mid-Atlantic states, a group of people hit upon an idea to benefit the Greenwell Foundation – a non-profit organization supporting Greenwell State Park along the Patuxent River -- and other organizations by combining the fishing with a charitable cause.
As a result, the "Monster Rockfish Tournament" was formed, and this year a new criteria is expected to make the contest the biggest ever. This year, instead of giant rockfish – as striped bass are called on the Chesapeake – being targeted just one day, the tournament will be held Friday and Saturday, Oct. 26 and 27.
If either date results in a blow-out day because of weather, an additional day of fishing will be added Sunday, Oct. 28, which is also the day of the "Monster Rockfish Feastival," featuring a variety of rock fish dishes. Another big change in what has become Maryland's official rockfish tournament and festival is how entries are scored.
In the first two years, the tournament winner and other place winners were determined by the single biggest fish caught, but this year the format has been altered to reward skill and consistency – rather than luck –in determining the prize winners. This year, the winners – including the top prize of what could be in excess of $110,000 – will be determined by the heaviest combined weight of the three biggest fish in a single day.
Tournament contestants must fish by boat and can weigh in at any of the six weigh stations throughout the Maryland waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Four of the six weigh stations -- Point Lookout Marina, Calvert Marina, Breezy Point Marina and Rod and Reel Marina – are located in southern Maryland, and the other two locations are Bay Bridge Marina and Slaughter Creek.
A special attraction to the "Monster Rockfish Tournament" is that one of the sponsors, Creative Concepts Taxidermy, mounts the largest single fish caught tournament wide for the angler that caught it at no charge. All the other fish entered into the tournament are donated to the Greenwell Foundation to be used in the preparation of dishes to be served at the "Monster Rockfish Feastival."
Proceeds from the "Monster Rockfish Tournament" support the Greenwell Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Chesapeake, Leadership Southern Maryland and the Calvert County United. To register for the tournament, anglers are advised to do so on the website at www.MonsterRockfishTournament.com http://www.monsterrockfishtournament.com/ rather than at one of the captains meetings listed on the website.
Some of the dishes that will be available at the "feastival" are rockfish tacos, wine poached rockfish with spinach and cherry tomatoes, rockfish stew and other dishes dedicated to the state fish of Maryland. None anglers may purchase tickets to the event.