But Dr. David Nelson, of Rockwell, Texas was not registered for the tournament and forfeited the brand new 21-foot Nautic Star boat, 150-horsepower four-stroke Mercury and the Mike Gerald's trailer he would have collected.
"I couldn't believe the mistake I had made when I saw the fish. I was actually a card-carrying member when it was GCCA and I lived in New Orleans," Nelson said. "I just asked for a CCA and STAR lifetime membership just so it doesn't happen again."
Nelson was fishing with Capt. Kenny Kreeger, who immediately told him about the tag. Kreeger should know: he caught a tagged redfish in 1999 which provided him a new boat and a way to start his charter business.
"What are the chances of seeing two tagged redfish coming on your boat in a lifetime? Well, it happened to me," Kreeger said. "Not to mention, it would have been the second winner this year to bring the fish to Rigolets Marina, but CCA assures me that there are plenty left in our area."
Four of the fifty tagged redfish released for the tournament have been caught, according to the CCA. There are still eight Nautic Star and Mercury boat packages to be given away in the Tagged Redfish Division.
"There are 46 tagged redfish still swimming across the state," said Rad Trascher, STAR Tournament Director for CCA Louisiana. "So it's not too late to get registered. You don't want to eat a $30,000 fish."
For more information on the STAR tournament, or to join CCA Louisiana, click here. The tournament ends on Labor Day, Sept. 2.