With 100 tagged redfish swimming along the coast this year for the CCA-Louisiana STAR — instead of the usual 50 — tournament director Rad Trascher has been providing some serious hints on social media with pictures where tagged redfish had been released.
Jason Toombs saw one of the STAR Tournament’s Facebook posts on May 23 showing a tagged red with red and green channel markers in the background — and instantly knew the spot.
“I knew exactly where it was,” said Toombs, referring to the south entrance of The Pen off the Barataria Waterway. “I live on the bayou down here in Lafitte. Any time I go fishing I pass that spot.”
Toombs headed there Friday afternoon after work — and literally about 500 feet from where the CCA photo was taken — reeled in the first STAR-tagged redfish by a registered angler this year, staking his claim to the grand prize 2017 Chevy Silverado pickup truck (pending a polygraph exam.)
“I started whooping and hollering and screaming. The guys next to me looked at me like I was crazy and didn’t understand,” Toombs said with a chuckle. “I had told them about the CCA tournament and said, ‘I'm only here for one fish.’
“Sure enough, that was the one I was looking for.”
How the fish was actually caught reads more like a fairy tale than a fish story.
“It was my last cast, and my last half of a shrimp — my last piece of bait on the boat,” said Toombs, who had been fishing in a whirlpool in an eddy at the pilings near the entrance to The Pen. “I threw it over the buoys up against the rocks just to see what would happen. I felt it when it went down and realized she had some weight to her.
“I pulled her in, got her close to the buoy and then went over the buoy cable, and when I flung her into the boat that’s when I realized she had the red tag.”
Seeing the red 2017 CCA Louisiana STAR Tournament tag was almost unbelievable, he said.
“I was excited. I immediately grabbed my phone and was shaking like crazy,” he said. “Before I even took the hook out of the fish’s mouth, I started taking pictures and texting a couple of my buddies saying, ‘I got it, I got it. I’m on my way in.’”
Joe’s Landing in Lafitte was closed when Toombs got back to the dock, but a CCA board member certified the tag number Friday night and instructed him to return to Joe’s Saturday morning to certify the fish.
Trascher also reported another tagged redfish was caught in Lafitte near Lake Salvador on Friday by an unregistered angler. On Saturday morning, yet another unregistered angler caught a tagged red on the Rockefeller Refuge.
“You need to get registered,” Trascher said. “They’re getting caught left and right. With 100 tagged redfish, there are still 97 out there and a lot of prizes up for grabs.”
Trascher requested that even unregistered anglers notify CCA of a tagged catch if possible, to help keep track of the 97 remaining fish swimming along the coast.
Unfortunately, Toombs was not a subscriber to Louisiana Sportsman magazine, so the $10,000 bonus prize is still available to the first STAR-registered angler who catches a tagged redfish and is also a current subscriber.
Anglers must have subscribed to Louisiana Sportsman at least one day prior to catching any eligible tagged redfish to claim the bonus, so don't put off subscribing.
For details, updated tournament rules or to register, click here.