The 2018 Coastal Conservation Association’s Louisiana STAR Tournament — which once again features 100 tagged redfish and more than $500,000 in prizes — is slated to begin on Saturday, May 26.

The first 10 STAR-registered anglers who catch one of those tagged reds will have some great prize options, including a 2018 Chevy Silverado pickup, NauticStar boats with Mercury outboards and new this year, Gator-Tail boat, motor and trailer packages. 

“We had five winners and 11 fish caught last year that we know about, so our board was very happy with those results and we’re going to do it again,” said tournament director Rad Trascher. “We’re doubling down once more and putting 100 tagged fish out there, instead of the 50 that we did for the first 22 years of the tournament. 

“We want more people to go home with some great prizes.”

And once again this year, Louisiana Sportsman is sweetening the pot in the Tagged Redfish Division, offering a $10,000 bonus prize to the first STAR-registered angler who catches a tagged red and is also a current subscriber to the magazine. (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.)

New for 2018’s tournament is the elimination of the tagged speckled trout division, Trascher said.

“For the past three years, we didn’t have a single winner catch a tagged trout, so we have shifted that prize money to the Captain’s Division,” he said. 

That means licensed Louisiana charter fishermen now will be able to sign up for the tournament at no cost — and if one of their clients wins, they do, too.

“If one of their clients ends up as a winner on the final leaderboard, that captain will get a $1,500 tackle package, plus be featured in a full-page ad in Tide magazine,” he said.

Interested captains should contact Trascher via email at rad@ccalouisiana.com.

Another change this year: The immediate families of licensed charter fishing guides are now eligible to participate in the tournament.

“They have to pay and register like everybody else, but they’re eligible to win,” Trascher said.

Entering the tournament costs $35, and you must be a current member of CCA to enter, which also costs $35. Spouses can also enter the STAR for $35, but their CCA membership only costs $15. Youth memberships for those 17 and under cost $10, but their tournament entry is free.

The 101-day event concludes on Labor Day, Sept. 3.

For details and a complete look at 2018’s updated rules, visit the STAR website at  www.ccastar.com.