Orlando, FL – June 5, 2017 – CCA Florida, the state’s leading organization dedicated to marine fisheries conservation, education and advocacy, today shared details on the first winner in the nonprofit’s signature event - CCA Florida STAR, presented by Yamaha. While two of the event’s tagged redfish were caught, only one angler was registered to win, and will walk away with a $55k+ prize package from Maverick Boat Group and Yamaha Outboards.
Monticello resident Benjamin Gavins caught a 19” STAR tagged redfish (tag FL637) on June 1 near Lanark Village in Franklin County. A CCA Florida member since 2013, Gavins was shocked to see the tag on his catch, and immediately notified the organization, per event regulations. “Frankly, I was stunned when I saw the green tag on that beautiful little red,” stated Gavins. “This is my third year fishing the STAR event and it continues to be the most enjoyable fishing competition I have ever entered, and it’s all to support the conservation of our precious marine resources. I call that a win-win.” Of the event’s major prizes, Gavins chose the 2017 Pathfinder 2200 TRS bay boat.
A second STAR tagged redfish, tag FL704, was also caught on June 1, but in Sisters Creek near Jacksonville. At the time of his catch, the angler was neither a CCA Florida member or registered for the STAR event, and is ineligible for any prize package.
CCA Florida STAR, presented by Yamaha, is the largest family-friendly saltwater fishing competition in Florida and kicked-off on Saturday, May 27. Unlike traditional fishing tournaments, STAR focuses on conservation and offers up to $500,000 in prizes and scholarships. CCA Florida is using the social media-based, 101-day event to educate the public on the importance of protecting Florida’s marine resources. Recognized as a ‘catch, photo and release’ competition, STAR’s smart phone app eliminates the requirement for anglers to harvest or capture and transport fish. “Our state’s natural resources and fisheries are here for our enjoyment, and we understand that smart fishing will preserve these resources for the future,” said Brian Gorski, CCA Florida Executive Director.
Prizes in the event’s STAR Signature Division include a new GMC Sierra Pickup or one of several Yamaha-powered boat packages including a Contender 22 Sport, Pathfinder 2200 TRS, Maverick HPX-S, Sea Hunt 225 Ultra or the Carolina Skiff 21 Sport & Fish. Youth anglers will be eligible to participate in the tagged redfish division with the first two winners taking home a Carolina Skiff 16 JVX CC powered by a 40hp Yamaha.
The STAR Youth Scholarship Division presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors offers the opportunity to win one of twelve scholarships totaling $100,000. Other divisions include Conservation and Costa Kick Plastic, which encourage trash and debris collection, Open, Ladies, Fly, Kayak, Lionfish and Professional Guides. Eligible species are spotted seatrout, snook, sheepshead, non-tagged redfish, cobia, dolphin (mahi mahi) and kingfish. Division winners are determined by a random drawing, a format that encourages participants of all ages to protect and conserve Florida’s fisheries for future generations.