Over $75,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs in Louisiana Saltwater Series tournaments

Includes redfish, speckled trout, yellowfin tuna, tarpon and youth-exclusive tournaments

The 2012 Louisiana Saltwater Series promises to be the biggest and best yet. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ annual catch and release tournament enters its third year, with last year’s competition drawing participants from across the Gulf Coast including Texas and Florida.

“What started out as a small, grassroots tournament has evolved into a regional, elite series with generous sponsors, increasing participants and the outstanding atmosphere of the Louisiana coast that come together to create a superior event that anglers are excited to participate in,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina.

The tournament opens on March 31 and runs through Oct. 20. The 2012 series offers 13 events including redfish, speckled trout, yellowfin tuna, tarpon and youth-exclusive tournaments.

“My dad and I have competed in several redfish tournament trails over the past 10 years, and the Louisiana Saltwater Series is by far the best out there,” said 2011 Team of the Year winner Barnie White. “Combined with a family-oriented format, great payout structure and world-class staff, the series has something for anglers at every skill level.”

Catch and release fishing is fast becoming one of the most efficient ways to collect scientific data. Data collected from the tournament entries will serve as a valuable tool for LDWF fisheries managers and biologists to better understand the life history and habitat of sport fish. Past tournament participants indicated that prior to fishing the series, they were not catch and release anglers but have since become actively involved in the Department’s tagging program.

The LASS kicks off this year with its redfish series in March in Empire, La. The 2012 redfish tournament schedule is as follows:

March 31 Empire, The Delta Marina;

April 28 Lake Charles, Calcasieu Point Landing;

May 19 Lafitte, SeaWay Marina;

June 23 Delacroix, Sweetwater Marina;

July 14 Slidell, Rigolets Marina;

Aug. 25 Cocodrie, Boudreaux’s Marina

Championship Oct. 5 and 6 Venice, Venice Marina.

Each redfish tournament includes two-man teams with a $200 entry fee for each event.  Up to two anglers under 16 are allowed to participate per team. The tournament is a 100 percent payout series. There is a 90 percent payout for the first six events with 10 percent retained for the championship. Payout is determined separately for each event based upon the total number of boats entered.

A youth division is also available for no additional cost to introduce our young anglers to the sport of fishing and to teach the catch-and-release approach to conservation. Youth division participants compete against one another for trophy catch. All anglers in this division will be recognized.

For complete information, including rules, regulations and online registration go to http://www.lasaltwaterseries.com/. A $20 fee for all onsite tournament registrants will be incurred per team. Only cash and checks will be accepted for onsite registrants. A $60 discount is available for those teams interested in pre-registering for all six redfish tournaments by contacting Heather David (225) 763-5415 or Becky Chaney (504) 261-0275.