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What's Up Magazine

43.1 Pound Rockfish Wins 28th Annual Championship

May 05, 2011 08:42PM ● By Anonymous

The Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen’s Association (MSSA), the largest sport fishing group in the state, once again hosted this event.

For three days, starting on April 29, anglers from all over the East Coast put their skills to the test as they experienced world class fishing on the Chesapeake Bay and competed for some significant cash prizes and the title of Champion.

This year’s champion in the amateur division is Tom Disney of Severn, Maryland. Disney weighed in a 43.1 pound rockfish on the second day of the tournament at the Rod N Reel docks in Chesapeake Beach. Disney’s catch secured him first place in the overall tournament and many of the additional skill levels bringing his total earnings to $24,825.

Second place went to Dan Rohleder of Centerville, Maryland who weighed in a 43.1 pound fish at Calvert Marina just after 2:00 P.M. on the first day of the tournament. While Rohleder came in second in the main tournament he was also able to secure many of the skill levels as well and will be taking home $32,417.

Third place this year went to the 2010 MSSA Captain of the Year, Bill Kratz III of Millersville, Maryland. Kratz weighed in a 41.15 pound rockfish at Calvert Marina on the last day of the tournament. Kratz is the big money winner this year as he entered all of the skill levels bringing his total earnings to $44,213.

Additionally John Weber of Bushwood, Maryland will also be taking home a considerable amount of money for his 40.4 pound rockfish. Weber entered in several of the skill levels and for that he will cash in for $13,709.

Dave Smith, Executive Director of the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen’s Association (MSSA) said they have increased the prizes in the Kid’s division as well as the Catch and Release division. The top fifteen kids will receive fishing gear and merchandise as well as certificates congratulating them on their catch.

“If we don’t get our youth involved in fishing and the outdoors our sport will be in serious trouble and fishing tournaments provide that opportunity to get kids involved”, Smith said.

For the second year now text messaging was the primary communication between tournament officials and anglers. This new feature is something new to the sport and another example of responsible fishing tournament management. The ability to communicate almost instantaneously with the anglers allows for more released fish.

“Texting is a great opportunity to communicate with our tournament anglers and let them know what they need to have a chance at winning”, Smith said.
The Catch and Release division was popular this year as anglers turned in their catch logs for a chance at some new fishing gear. The winner Chris Long will receive $800 in gift cards from local tackle shops.

Recreational fishing and tournaments in specific generate huge amounts of money for local economies here in Maryland. That was evident by the thousands of people in Chesapeake Beach and Solomons Island this weekend for the tournament, not to mention the thousands that took to the water from all over Maryland to participate in this event.

Professional and Charter Boat Division
For the second year in a row the Champion in the Professional and Charter Boat division went to our own Captain Ed O’Brien. Captain O’Brien runs a charter boat, Semper Fidelis III, out of Chesapeake Beach, Maryland. Captain O’Brien weighed in a 43.6 pound rockfish taking home nearly $6,000.

Second place went to Captain Tony Tolbard who brought in a 40.9 pound fish earning him $1500 as he did not enter additional skill levels.

This year’s big money winner went to third place, Captain Charlie Sisson of Backdraft who entered a 38.75 pound rockfish. Sisson placed 3rd in the main tournament and placed in several of the skill levels including the $500 skill level which alone paid out $5,200. In total Sisson will be taking home $10,633.

All awards and cash will be given out at the awards ceremony on Thursday, May 12 at the Columbian Center in Severna Park starting at 7:00 PM. All tournament anglers are invited as there are still prizes to be given out as “last chance awards” and door prizes. The big winners will receive checks and the Champion will receive the coveted Championship on the Chesapeake trophy.

For more information and a complete list of tournament results please visit All results are unofficial and subject to change until all anglers who have won $5,000 or more pass their polygraph tests. You can also contact Dave Smith at 410-255-5535.