The very popular Coastal Conservation Association STAR tournament starts Saturday, May 25, and runs through Sept. 2. If you’ll be fishing this tournament like thousands of other anglers across Texas, now is the time hit Sabine Lake and maybe catch a tagged red — or better yet, a double-digit trout.
In order to win one of the $1 million in prizes being offered in Texas’ largest, richest, summer-long saltwater fishing event, an angler must be a current member of CCA, in addition to being registered as a 2013 Texas STAR entrant.
“This year’s contestants have a chance at winning over 100 prizes including trucks, boats, motors, trailers and college scholarships,” says Bill Kinney, tourney director. “The STAR tournament entry fee is still an awesome bargain at only $20 for ages 18 and up. Membership fee is $25 annually, plus $20 (for the) STAR Tournament for a total of $45.
Fishing on Sabine Lake has been red hot the past couple of weeks, and it’s prime time to hit the water and make a prize-winning catch. The jetties are on, flounder are good in the pass, and trout and reds are excellent all over the lake. During the past four weeks, several trout weighing from 7 to just over 10 pounds have been caught. Most have been on topwater plugs. Many of the heaviest trout have been fooled with bone-colored, one knocker Super Spooks. The No. 1 lure for both flounder and reds is a soft plastic swim bait with a paddle tail. The 4-inch Yum Mud Minnows have been very good at the jetties for both reds and trout. Top colors are Houdini and pearl/silver flake.
Big trout are also being caught on East Galveston Bay and along the west shoreline of Trinity Bay by waders fishing Super Spook Jr. lures in chrome/blue, and slow sinking MirrOlures in pink/yellow and red/white.
The one thing you don’t want to do is go fishing before signing up for the STAR. This is the 24th year of the STAR, and each year there are many anglers who catch tagged reds and big trout that aren’t entered in the tourney. You never know when you’re going to reel in something like a tagged red that’s worth a truck/boat/motor and trailer.
“The Texas Ford Dealers Redfish Division is very popular,” says Gina Rice, director of operations. “Texas Ford dealers will again give each of the first five registered STAR participants who catch tagged redfish a new truck. Haynie Boats returns with the Haynie 23 Bigfoot rigged with a Mercury 150. A Coastline Trailer completes the package. The next five weighed in will receive the same boat, motor and trailer packages.”
For young anglers ages 6-17, the “New Tide” membership fee remains $10 annually, and the STAR entry fee is free. CCA “New Tide” members will continue to have the opportunity to win huge scholarships to fund their college education for just the price of a $10 CCA “New Tide” membership.
“In the past 18 years, $4,635,000 in college scholarships has been awarded to fisher-kids across the state,” says Kinney. “And 2012 continues to offer plenty of reason for everyone to round up their kids, a rod and reel, and head for the water.”
In the heaviest trout division, winners in the upper, middle and lower coast regions will take home the Shoalwater 22-foot Legend, powered with a Mercury 150, and McClain trailer.
“If you’re not sure a trout is heavy enough to qualify, consider this easy rule-of-thumb,” says Kinney. “If the length is less than 27 inches, chances are it won’t meet the 8-pound minimum weight requirement. Unless you intend to mount your fish as a personal best, why not think about releasing anything that might not make the cut so she can re-seed the bays?”
In the offshore division, anglers who catch the heaviest kingfish, dorado or ling will each win an Explorer boat with a Mercury 200 outboard and McClain trailer.
Each winner that reels in the heaviest flounder, gafftop and sheepshead will win a Blue Wave 180 V Bay boat rigged with a Mercury 115 outboard and McClain trailer.
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.
CCA Texas is a nonprofit organization of sportfishing enthusiasts and conservationist working to save the natural resources of Texas coastal waters. The CCA Texas webpage can be found at www.ccatexas.org .