Like the old saying goes, timing is everything.
Less than 24 hours after registering for the Louisiana Coastal Conservation Association’s STAR Tournament, Raymond Champagne reeled in a tagged redfish Tuesday morning along the Fourchon barges to win the 2016 grand prize: a brand new $40,000 Chevy Silverado pickup truck.
Champagne, 54, of Baton Rouge, was fishing with his daughter Alexis in his 20-foot Xpress boat when the tagged redfish swallowed a live shrimp under a popping cork, according to STAR Tournament Director Rad Trascher.
“He said he’s registered for the STAR for years,” Trascher said. “He registered last night because he saw the seas were going to be less than 1 foot this morning…
“He had his daughter register him online last night, and he catches the fish this morning.”
But Champagne is not a current Louisiana Sportsman magazine subscriber, so the $10,000 bonus prize is still available for the first STAR-registered angler who catches a tagged redfish and is also a current subscriber to the magazine.
“He has been a subscriber in the past, and he said he’s going to renew,” Trascher said. “So the $10,000 bonus is still on the table.”
Anglers must have subscribed to Louisiana Sportsman magazine at least one day prior to catching any eligible tagged redfish to claim this bonus, so don't put off subscribing.That means if you catch a tagged redfish this Saturday, June 4 — you must have subscribed to the magazine by Friday, June 3.
Trascher said Champagne caught the redfish about 9:30 today, and brought it to Port Fourchon Marina for weigh-in. The truck will be awarded pending a polygraph examination and further verification.
“I released it in the canal near Moran’s, so that redfish got out on the outside in the last three weeks,” Trascher said. “He traveled a pretty good ways — a couple of miles.”
Tuesday morning’s catch wraps up a busy weekend for the STAR Tournament, which cranked up Saturday and runs through 5 p.m. on Labor Day, Sept. 5.
“Every year, it seems like on Memorial Day Weekend we kind of kick it off with a bang,” Trascher said. “We always have tagged redfish caught. On Sunday, we had a tagged redfish caught at Queen Bess island by an unregistered angler, and on Tuesday we have someone that’s going to win a truck.
“So we’re four days in, and we’ve already shelled out 40 grand.”
Trascher said Champagne and his daughter wasted no time in heading in once the tagged redfish was safe and secure onboard.
“He said they already had a good box of trout, so they threw the rest of their shrimp overboard and went straight to the marina,” he said. “They didn’t even finish.”
The next nine registered anglers who catch a tagged redfish will win a 2110 Sport NauticStar boat, with a 150 hp Mercury 4-stroke engine.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars in prizes are available in multiple STAR divisions, including tagged speckled trout, offshore and bank fishing.
Entry fee for the CCA STAR is $30, and youths 17 and under can enter for free. But you must also be a CCA member to enter — membership is $30 for adults, $15 for spouses, and $10 for youths.