Chester residents Todd Riggs and his son Gabe teamed to win the 12th annual Back River Restoration Committee Rockfish Tournament on Saturday, Sept. 7.
Fishing aboard Bait Me, Gabe reeled in a 36 1/8-inch striped bass to win the $3,500 top prize.
“We caught the winning fish at 7:10 a.m. trolling surgical hoses,” said Todd, the boat captain, in an email. “I'd rather not say where as we’re approaching another tournament.”
Also fishing aboard the boat was Don Cocnavitch, serving as 2nd Mate.
“Our 1st place fish was the largest fish ever caught in the tournament’s history, according to BRRC coordinator Larry Farinetti,” Todd said.
The Back River Restoration Committee is working to restore the tidal portion of the Back River watershed, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. The river was known for years as one of the most polluted rivers in Maryland, but is rebounding with the help of volunteers and upgrades to waste water treatment facilities.
Herring Run, Red House Run, and Stemmers Run empty into Back River. Each of these streams travel through some of the most urbanized and industrialized sections of Baltimore. All proceeds of the tournament go directly for cleanup and restoration efforts on the river.
Gabe Riggs also took first place in the tournament’s youth angler division by catching a 27 5/8-inch rockfish.
Check-in was at Weaver’s Marine Service on Back River with an after-fishing party, including a bull roast and DJ.
Rounding out the winners were:
Robert Edward (32 3/4 inches), second place, $1,500; Mike O’Hare (32 1/2 inches), third place, $1,000.
Joey Fitzwater (24 3/8 inches), second place; Aiden Martin (22 9/16 inches), third place.