With only five fishing days left in this year’s Coastal Conservation Association STAR tournament, registered anglers still have a shot at reeling in up to 47 tagged redfish that could still be roaming coastal waters, as well as simply catching a big fish that could move up the leaderboard before time expires at 5 p.m. on Labor Day.
“It never fails,” said Rad Trascher, tournament director. “We always have a lead change for the last weekend in one division, so don’t think it’s over yet.”
Jake Duet claimed the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado pickup on July 14 by being the first registered angler to catch one of the tournament’s 50 tagged redfish, but several remain for the taking, with up to $500,000 in prizes still on the line.
“Forty-seven are still swimming,” Trascher said. “I believe we’ve had six caught by unregistered anglers, but I can only confirm four of those.”
Up to nine eligible anglers catching a CCA-tagged redfish by Monday could win a 21-foot Nautic Star with a 150 hp 4-stroke Mercury outboard and trailer valued at about $30,000, Trascher said.
He also encouraged parents to weigh-in 14-inch trout or flounder caught by their registered children for the youth division, which will award five 14-foot aluminum boats from Cajun Outboards with 15 hp Mercury motors by random drawings from each division.
Kids are limited to one entry per division for a trout and one for a flounder, and all entries will be put in a hopper for the boat drawings.
Parents can weigh-in the fish at an official weigh station, or take pictures of their kids with the fish and a ruler so the length is visible and email Trascher the photo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“On average, you’ll probably be looking at a 1 in 50 shot of your kid winning,” he said. “As long as the fish was caught by 5 p.m. on Labor Day, it’s okay if I receive it Tuesday morning.
“What we’ll do is once we have talked to all weigh stations and collected all photographs by email, we hope to post the leaderboard by Wednesday. That leaderboard will be unofficial until all polygraphs and verifications are done.”
The STAR awards banquet is slated for Oct. 23 in Baton Rouge, where a special celebration is planned to commemorate the tournament’s 20th anniversary in Louisiana.
“Participation this year has been phenomenal. I won’t know the final numbers for a couple of weeks, but as of the end of July, we had more registrations than we did in all of 2013 — and 2013 was our biggest year we’ve ever had,” Trascher said. “So this will definitely be a record breaker.”