Lucky anglers are catching CCA STAR tagged reds

Cuong Nguyen caught this tagged red while fishing at the Galveston jetties last

As of this week, three lucky anglers who were signed up for the CCA STAR tourney have caught tagged redfish. Each of them has won a Ford truck, and a 23-foot Haynie boat, motor and trailer.

“So far five tagged redfish have been caught, but only three are confirmed as winners at this time,” says Jina Rice, with the STAR tourney. “The other two were re-released by the anglers that caught them, so the good news is there are 57 tagged redfish still out there. Two more truck, boat, motor and trailer packages will be given away. The next five tagged reds caught by STAR anglers will win a boat, motor and trailer prize package. For young anglers not of legal driving age who reel in a famous tagged red, they will receive the boat package plus a $20,000 college scholarship, in lieu of the truck.”

Last year, 13 tagged redfish were caught, but only four anglers claimed prizes. The others, unfortunately, were not registered for the CCA Texas STAR.

Katy angler Cuong Nguyen is the latest STAR angler to catch a tagged red. He and some friends were fishing the Galveston jetties when the tagged red was caught, along with plenty of trout.

“Within no time, Nguyen caught nine solid trout,” says Rice. “In addition, the friends’ combined catch yielded 13 sheepshead and three puppy drum. By 10 a.m., the action slowed down considerably. One of the friends wanted to move to a different spot, but Nguyen suggested staying because he believed the fish would come back around. A little time went by, then Nguyen landed a 22-inch trout. About 10 minutes later, Nguyen caught another fish. As he reeled in the fish to about 10 feet away from the boat, he saw that it was a red. Then, much to his amazement, he realized the fish had a tag.”

“The greatest part about this fishing trip was that it was on my birthday,” said Nguyen. “I still can’t believe it. … How sweet it is!”

Other fish can net big rewards in the tournament. STAR contestants who catch the heaviest trout in the north, central and southern regions of the Texas Coast will each take home a 21-foot Shoalwater, motor and trailer. STAR anglers who land the heaviest kingfish, dorado or ling in the Offshore Division will each win a Polaris Ranger and trailer. In the Inshore Division anglers catching the heaviest flounder, gafftop and sheepshead will win an 18-foot Blue Wave boat, motor and trailer.

The STAR Scholarship Divisions offer a total of 10 college scholarships in $20,000 and $50,000 increments. STAR participants, ages 6-10, who catch the largest flounder, sheepshead or gafftop will each be awarded a $50,000 college scholarship. Participants 11-17 years of age who catch the largest flounder, sheepshead or gafftop, as well as the largest speckled trout in each of the three Texas Coast regions (north, central and south), will each be awarded a $20,000 college scholarship.

“In addition to these nine scholarship offerings, participants ages 6-17 years old in 2015 are eligible for a bonus drawing that will net one lucky youth a $20,000 college scholarship even if the participant never wets a line or enters a single fish during the entire tournament,” says Rice.

Visit www.ccamembership.org to get signed up today. For more information, including a list of weigh-in stations, instant-entry registration locations in your area and weekly leader board updates, go to www.startournament.org.

Calcasieu Lake trout hot under the birds

Guide Buddy Oaks reports that they had excellent catches of reds at the jetties, and good numbers of trout on live shrimp over the past several days.

“Most fish are coming to the dock from the south end of the lake on live shrimp under a popping cork,” says Oaks. “Some guides were castnetting for pogies to attack the redfish roaming along the big jetties. There are huge flocks of diving seagulls all over the main lake as well as West Cove. Most of the fish under the birds are on the small side but there are some solid ones too.”

Get the latest Texas quail news via YouTube videos

Dale Rollins, executive director for the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch, has announced the launch of a new YouTube Channel aimed directly at educating the public about the ranch’s scientific undertakings. In addition, quail hunting video tips will also be part of the mix.

While the videos are hosted on YouTube, the ranch has created a custom Web address that makes finding the channel easy: www.quailvideos.com.

One of the newest videos, Addressing the Eye Worm Threat in Bobwhite Quail, showcases the depths to which researchers are engaged to unlock the mystery of the quail decline.

“The point of the video is to show the work we’ve done on the eye worm,” says Rollins. “This kind of research doesn’t take place overnight, and we have to do a lot of diligence.”

The video goes into detail about the eye worm study and how scientists are seeking to unravel the underlying causes of the bobwhite quail’s demise. While historically, the decline has been attributed to loss of habitat by biologists, Rollins says that their research may point to something beyond habitat.

“There are places in the Texas Rolling Plains where habitat is as good as it ever has been. But some of those places don’t have quail,” he explains. “So the next question has to be, is there an ‘X’ factor? Is there something beyond precipitation and habitat that’s affecting bobwhite quail?”

Rollins says that many biologists point to the idea that if you have rain, you’ll have quail.

“That’s still a very valid point,” he admits. “But there are certain counter-instances that make you question that line of thinking. The disappearance of the blue quail in the 1980s is one of those instances,” Rollins says, referring to the unexplained loss of scaled quail throughout much of their range in the Texas Rolling Plains.

“I can’t explain that disappearance in any fashion if I don’t include disease as one of the possible culprits for the disappearance.”

 

Robert Sloan can be reached by e-mail at sloan288 [at] aol [dot] com.

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