Brent Castille’s older brother Reed had already caught two redfish Wednesday morning on Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, and he didn’t even have a bite.
But when the pair motored over to a different canal and got positioned over a shell pad, Brent decided to make a few casts with a dead shrimp on a jighead while his brother was busy tending to the anchor.
He didn’t know it then, but the bite he was about to get around 8:45 this morning would be the most valuable of his life.
“We got to the spot and the wind was blowing, and he was setting up the anchor,” said Castille, 58, of Lafayette. “I threw out and I really wasn’t paying attention. I had a bunch of slack in my line. I felt a couple of bites and I reeled down, and I felt my line tighten up.
“He had swallowed it.”
After the fish made a couple of runs, Reed netted it aboard and immediately noticed a red tag in the fish’s back.
“We had been joking about catching a tagged redfish with the family. There were a couple of (tagged) fish caught there already, and one had been released,” said Castille, who retired from the Lafayette City Parish Government’s engineering department three years ago. “My eyes aren’t too good. The tag was red with black algae on it, and I thought maybe it was an old fish from years ago and we started wiping it off.
“My brother read it and said, ‘2017 CCA Star,’ and I just sat down. It was unreal. I could never imagine. I’m still all shook up.”
They put one more croaker in the boat before calling it a day and heading over to Gulfway Sporting Goods in Kaplan to fill out tournament paperwork and get the tag verified.
Pending further investigation and a polygraph examination, Castille will receive a 2017 Chevy Colorado pickup for catching the second tagged redfish in this year’s STAR Tournament.
Lafitte’s Jason Toombs caught the first tagged redfish June 2 in the Pen, and is already in line to receive a 2017 Chevy Silverado truck.
Unfortunately, Castille 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.
Rad Trascher, CCA STAR tournament director, said 94 tagged redfish remain swimming along the Louisiana coast, and up to the next eight STAR-registered anglers who catch one will receive a 21-foot Nautic Star boat with a trailer package and a 150 Mercury outboard.
For details, updated tournament rules or to register, click here.