Get set for the popular CCA STAR fishing tourney

CCA Texas STAR officials will release 60 tagged redfish.

Saturday, May 23, is the big event for thousands of fishermen along the Texas Gulf Coast. It’s the first day of the very popular CCA STAR tournament. What makes this tourney so popular? Well, to begin with, 60 tagged reds will be released from Sabine Lake to South Padre Island. The first five of those tagged reds caught is worth a truck, boat, motor and trailer.

This is a tourney that is cheap to enter and is big time fun for kids and adults.

“The STAR fishing tournament drew approximately 48,000 participants to the Texas coast in 2014, making it one of the world’s largest saltwater fishing tournaments,” says Jina Rice, director of operations for STAR. “This year’s event begins at sunrise on Saturday, May 23, and ends on Labor Day, Sept. 7 at 5 p.m.”

“Since redfish can grow up to one inch per month, we are releasing fish that meet all the state regulations,” said Bill Kinney, tournament director.

Keeper-sized prizes can be claimed by STAR anglers who bring in the first 10 tagged redfish. The first five winners will drive home in a 2015 loaded Ford F-150 “Texas Edition” XLT SuperCab pulling a brand new 23-foot Haynie BigFoot boat rigged with a Mercury 150 motor and Coastline trailer. The next five tagged redfish winners will each claim a 23-foot Haynie BigFoot boat with a Mercury 150 motor and Coastline trailer.

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

One thing is certain: You can’t win if you don’t enter.

STAR contestants who catch the heaviest speckled trout in the north, central and southern regions of the Texas Coast will each take home the Shoalwater 21-foot Cat powered with a Mercury, and a McClain trailer. STAR blue water anglers who land the heaviest kingfish, dorado and ling in the offshore division will each win a Polaris Ranger and trailer. In the inshore division, a Blue Wave boat, Mercury motor and McClain trailer will also be given to the anglers for netting the heaviest flounder, gafftop and sheepshead.

“In hopes of luring more youth to the sport of fishing, the STAR Scholarship Divisions offer a total of 10 college scholarships in $20,000 and $50,000 increments,” says Rice. “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, 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.”

As a reminder, anglers under 18 years are eligible to win the scholarships and all other prizes (truck/boat packages and boat packages) offered by CCA Texas STAR tournament.

To sign up right this very minute, go to www.ccamembership.org. You’ll make it just in time for the May 22 Early Bird Drawings deadline.

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.

Catfish outlaws meet the game wardens

A Polk County game warden patrolling the Trinity River below the Lake Livingston Dam recently found two individuals who had exceeded the daily bag limit for blue catfish by 26 fish. Several cases and civil restitution are pending.

Game wardens patrolling Falcon Lake conducted a water safety inspection on a boat on which four men were fishing. During the inspection, the wardens noticed freshly cut catfish chunks on top of an ice chest. The men told the wardens the fishing slowed down so they decided to catch an alligator gar, but since they hadn’t brought any bait to catch a gar, they decided to use a catfish they caught earlier in the day as bait. The wardens asked all four men to reel in their lines and saw more catfish chunks on their hooks. The wardens, while pulling out their ticket books, educated all four men about not using game fish as bait.

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