STARs in the Making – How to win the CCA STAR

Follow the lead of these anglers, and you’ve got the inside track to a new boat during the 2013 STAR.

The 2013 Coastal Conservation Association STAR tournament kicks off this month, and if you plan on fishing at all this summer, you’re taking a big risk by not entering.

The greatest thing about this sport we all love is that anybody on any day can catch a fish that others will be talking about for weeks. That talk will be a lot more satisfying for you if it results in a brand-new boat.

That’s precisely what happened last summer for Troy Thibodeaux, Kevin Horton, Bootsie Toups and Dr. Bob Weiss. They each took home an 1810 Nautic Star bay boat for first registering for the STAR and then catching the biggest trout in each region.

Thibodeaux caught the heaviest speckled trout of the entire 2012 tournament when he boated an 8.16-pound speck during a late-May outing to the southern end of Calcasieu Lake.

“It was 7:30,” Thibodeaux said. “We had gotten there, and the bite was off, and all of a sudden, slicks started popping and the fish started biting.

“That (winning) fish was the first one of the morning.”

Thibodeaux was throwing a chartreuse-hologram Rapala Skitter Walk, and he knew from the get-go that this wasn’t a school speck.

“He hit like a big fish, but I didn’t realize just how big he was until he got closer by the boat,” Thibodeaux said. “That’s when I told my buddy, ‘Get the net! This is a really big fish!’

“When he was out just a little ways from the boat, I saw how big he was. I knew it was a big fish when I started fighting him.

“I thought it was about 5, 6 pounds, but when I got him up by the boat, that’s when I saw that he was a really big fish.”

Time seemed to stand still for Thibodeaux as nothing but thin line and treble hooks kept him attached to a fish that would earn him a high-dollar bay boat.

“(The fight) didn’t really take that long, but it seemed like forever,” he said. “I took my time with it.”

After getting the monster in the boat, the anglers kept fishing, but it was hard to take their minds off of what had just happened.

“We didn’t really catch that many more fish,” Thibodeaux said. “We came in, left them biting — the bite actually turned on right there.

“We left them biting to try to weigh the fish in alive. We put him in the livewell, and we took off. We went to Calcasieu Point, and we were able to weigh the fish there and release it alive.”

Thibodeaux certainly earned the fish. He’s an avid angler who fishes Calcasieu Lake at least once a week and regularly targets trophy trout. The lake is only 15 minutes from his Sulphur home.

He had scouted the area in preparation for the STAR.

“About two weeks before, I had caught a couple of good fish going through there, and then we had gone back a week later, and my buddy I was fishing with actually caught one right before the (STAR) that weighed 7 pounds,” Thibodeaux said.

Although the 8.16-pounder Thibodeaux caught was his most-rewarding speckled trout, it wasn’t his biggest.

“The biggest one I’ve ever caught was 9.4 on a digital scale, probably 8 years ago, I guess,” he said.

About Todd Masson 688 Articles
Todd Masson has covered outdoors in Louisiana for a quarter century, and is host of the Marsh Man Masson channel on YouTube.

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