Starting this weekend, anglers across the Louisiana coast should be on the lookout for a bright red tag in any redfish or speckled trout they catch.
It could be worth a 2015 Chevy Silverado, a NauticStar boat package or a $2,500 tackle package in the 21st CCA Louisiana Statewide Tournament and Angler’s Rodeo that kicks off May 23.
Prizes available during this year’s STAR, which spans the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf coasts, are worth more than $500,000, and the competition extends through 5 p.m. on Labor Day, Sept. 7.
“We have record participation already, so it should be a fun one,” said Rad Trascher, STAR director.
You must be a CCA member to participate, and the cost of the tournament is $30.
The first specially tagged redfish caught and turned in will earn the angler a brand-new 2015 Chevy Silverado, with the next nine anglers who catch tagged redfish during the STAR receiving a 2110 NauticStar rigged out with a 150-horsepower Mercury 4-stroke and a Mike Gerald trailer.
“Last year we had eight (tagged red)fish caught — and only one by a registered angler,” Trascher said. “Don’t be a one of the unlucky anglers who finds out what a $40,000 fish tastes like.”
New to the STAR is the Tagged Speckled Trout Division, in which 50 specially tagged trout will be released across the Louisiana coast — and the first four registered anglers to catch one of these fish will receive a $2,500 tackle package.
And the prizes for this division are guaranteed, which means if four fish are not caught by registered anglers, the packages will be given away by random drawing at the end of the tournament.
Tags for both redfish and speckled trout are red this year, he said.
“The tags all look the same. They have a serial number on them so I know which are in trout and which are in redfish,” Trascher said. “Besides that, it says 2015 Louisiana Star Tournament and it has the phone number to the office, which rolls to my cell phone on weekends.
“Or you can just bring the fish to one of the weigh stations. They are not to make a judgement call on somebody’s CCA membership, so you don’t have to have a membership card to weigh a fish. Just a valid ID, then we verify your membership at the office.”
CCA is also introducing the Tagged Redfish Division to Mississippi waters, with an additional 25 tagged redfish being released off the Magnolia State. The first two registered anglers to catch them will win Polaris Ranger 570s. The Mississippi Speckled Trout Division also returns with some great prizes.
Qualification for the Mississippi Tagged Redfish Division is included when you register for the Louisiana event.
Other divisions and the associated prizes are:
• Speckled trout (four divisions) — the heaviest fish overall wins a NauticStar, Mercury and trailer package. Second-place finishers receive $2,500, while third-place finishers receive $1,000.
• Mangrove snapper —heaviest fish wins a $5,000 offshore tackle package.
• Cobia — heaviest fish wins a $5,000 outdoor tackle package.
• Dorado — heaviest fish wins a $5,000 offshore tackle package.
Red snapper — heaviest fish wins a $5,000 offshore tackle package, and this year the division will be open through Labor Day.
“Now that we have a federal recreational season, a federal charter season and a state season in Louisiana and Mississippi, we’re going to run it for the whole time and whenever the fish is caught, you’ll have to be abiding by those particular rules,” Trascher said.
• Fly fishing (east and west regions) — the heaviest trout in each division wins a $1,500 Academy gift card.
• Kayak (four divisions)— the heaviest trout in each division wins a brand-new Hobie Outback.
• Calcasieu Calcutta — heaviest speckled trout caught, weighed at official weigh station and released alive.
• Sheepshead (east and west regions) — the heaviest fish in each division wins a $1,500 Academy gift card.
• Flounder — heaviest flounder weighed will win a 16-foot Weldbilt with a 40-horsepower Mercury.
• Ladies only — the heaviest speckled trout wins a $2,500 travel voucher.
• Youth (17 years old and younger) — four divisions for speckled trout and flounder measuring at least 14 inches, with a boat, motor and trailer package given away by random drawing in each division.
You must be registered before catching and entering a fish.