Big changes are in store for the 2015 STAR.

For the first time ever, the Coastal Conservation Association Louisiana STAR Tournament will feature a tagged speckled trout division, where up to four registered anglers will each win $2,500 prize packages for catching the first four tagged speckled trout.

“I went to the board and said, ‘Look, I don’t claim to be a good fisherman, but I fish a lot more than most people,’ said Rad Trascher, STAR Tournament Director for CCA Louisiana.  “‘And I have never caught a trout that could have been on the board last year.’ 

“So I said, ‘Let’s add some luck to it.”

The 108-day tournament will run this year from Saturday, May 23 through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7, and will offer more than $500,000 in prizes, including a brand new 2015 Chevy Silverado to the first registered angler to land a tagged redfish. 

Since this is the first year dealing with tagged speckled trout, tournament officials aren’t sure how many will ultimately be captured, but the four $2,500 prize packs are guaranteed to be given away, Trascher said. 

“The people that catch the first four fish that are registered will win the prizes,” he said. “If four fish are not caught, we’re still going to give them away in random drawings through the registrations.

“We want to test the waters and see how this is going to work. We know we’re going to give away four prizes, and hopefully we’ll have a bunch of fish caught and expand it even further next year.”

In addition to the 2015 Silverado for the first registered angler who lands a tagged redfish, up to nine additional participants who land a tagged red will receive a 21-foot NauticStar boat and Mercury motor, Trascher said.

You must be a CCA member to participate in the tournament, and the STAR registration fee is $30, which can be completed here

“Things are gearing up,” Trascher said. “The early bird drawings will start next week, so that will be 12 weekly drawings that will consist of things like Costa sunglasses, K2 coolers, American Rodsmiths prizes and lots of good, fun stuff.” 

You must be registered to win with a tagged fish, so Trascher urged anglers to get signed up early.

“I think we had eight tagged redfish caught last year, but only one winner because the people weren’t registered,” he said. “There’s been about 25 (unregistered anglers who caught tagged redfish) over the last three years. It averages about eight per year every time.

“You can’t win unless you register.”

Also new for this year’s tournament, which is entering its 21st year, is corporate sponsorship by Chevron, Trascher said.

“They wanted to be community partners. They have come on strong as sponsors of the banquet in Covington, and decided they wanted to take part in STAR as well,” he said.  “They’re just good friends of CCA and conservation, and they’re trying to support Louisiana.”