The Chesapeake Bay’s unique fishing tournament, the Rod and Reef Slam, wrapped up this past weekend with 35 participating anglers catching more than 130 fish, including 19 different species, over restored oyster reefs.
Unlike traditional fishing tournaments, in the Rod and Reef Slam anglers are trying to catch the most different species over oyster reefs to showcase the diversity of species that use oyster reefs for habitat.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), Coastal Conservation Association Maryland (CCA), and Chesapeake Oyster Alliance (COA) are proud to announce the following overall and division winners in the catch-and-release fishing tournament that ran from Oct. 8 to 16:
- Overall: Chris Morgan, of Drayden, who caught 12 different species of fish ranging from black sea bass, lizardfish and Northern puffer to white perch, toadfish, and spot.
- Powerboat: Herb Floyd, of Trappe, who caught 11 different species, and was the only angler among the winners to catch a pumpkinseed and spotted seatrout.
- Kayak: Ronnie Kirin, of Crownsville, broke a 5-way tie between anglers who all caught three species in the kayak division thanks to his largest three fish—striped bass, white perch, and spot—totaling 39.5 inches in length.
- Youth: Parker Barniea, of Annapolis, edged out other competitors ages 17 and under by catching three different species—bluegill, white perch, and spot.
- Invasive Species: Matthew Shoultz, of Forest Hill, took home the title in this division by landing a 38-inch blue catfish, the longest fish caught in the tournament.
The most common fish caught during the tournament was white perch, followed by spot, then striped bass. The hardest-to-catch fish included pumpkinseed, Northern puffer, lizardfish, and bluegill; only one of each these species were caught during the tournament.
Other species caught by anglers during the Rod and Reef Slam were black sea bass, blue catfish, kingfish, pigfish, sand perch, spotted seatrout, summer flounder, and toadfish.
The winning anglers as well as second and third place in each division received prizes such as All Tackle gift certificates, Under Armour apparel, Engel coolers, fishing rods and reels, Costa sunglasses, Ike Jime tools, and other items.
“Each year this tournament continues to grow and with that comes a brighter spotlight on the importance of oyster reefs for fish habitat,” said David Sikorski, CCA’s Maryland Executive Director. “We’d like to thank all the anglers who participated and we hope they share their experiences with others so we can continue this tournament that joins together recreational anglers and conservation practices.”
The winners were first announced at the tournament after-party at CBF’s Philip Merril Environmental Center in Annapolis on Oct. 16.
“CBF is proud to partner with CCA to continue to organize and host this tournament that’s about far more than just catching fish,” said Allison Colden, CBF’s Maryland Senior Fisheries Scientist. “We encourage anglers everywhere to learn more about how efforts to restore oyster reefs in the Chesapeake Bay will help increase the populations of many different species of fish. Congratulations to all the winners and thanks to everyone who helped make the tournament possible.”