The kick-off for the inaugural CCA Florida STAR tournament presented by Yamaha was at sunrise on Saturday, May 23, 2015, Memorial Day weekend and the tournament will end at 5 p.m., September 7, 2015, Labor Day offering participants a total of 108 fishing days! This is one of the most angler inclusive tournaments in the state of Florida and will provide all anglers an opportunity to participate. With nearly $500,000 in prizes, and nearing the end of the tournament, STAR has over 3,300 registered anglers, making it Florida’s largest saltwater fishing tournament.
THE FIRST TAGGED REDFISH WAS CAUGHT BY A REGISTERED ANGLER on May 27th! He is the winner of the 2015 GMC Sierra! Jerry Bergeron from the CCA Tampa Chapter caught his STAR tagged redfish in Cockroach Bay. Seeing the yellow tag, he knew this was a catch of a lifetime. Congrats Jerry, and thanks Conley Buick GMC and T.A. Mahoney’s.
That’s right, there are still 110 STAR tagged redfish out there waiting to be caught and 5 of the 6 prize winning STAR tagged redfish still swimming in the gulf. Verified tagged redfish winner number 2 will win a new Hells Bay Waterman, number 3 a Pathfinder 2200TRS, number 4 a Contender 22 Sport and numbers 5 & 6 a boat package of similar value all powered by Yamaha.
There is still time to register for the tournament and catch the next winning STAR tagged redfish or to log your catch in the other STAR divisions. It only takes one day of fishing in order to catch a winning fish. All division winners are chosen by a drawing not by the biggest fish so each entry in each division has an opportunity to win.
STAR got off to a fast start one fish was caught in Chassahowitzka before the tournament even started. Three tagged reds were landed in just the first week of action, Sarasota Bay, St. Joe Bay and the Cottee River.
By the fourth week of STAR there had been another 3 tagged redfish caught Indian Bayou, Chassahowitzka with only one of those being caught by a registered angler and CCA member, it was caught in Cockroach Bay, he won the GMC truck.
On June 21st STAR had a tagged redfish caught in Chokoloskee Bay making that tagged redfish #8. The angler was registered in STAR however they did not know all the rules and released the fish before it was properly verified making the catch ineligible for a boat, motor and trailer package.
Tagged redfish #9 was caught on Thursday June 25th in Pensacola Bay. This fish was caught by a non-registered angler who kept the fish for dinner instead of winning a new Hells Bay Waterman.
Tagged redfish #10 was caught in St Joe Bay on July 3rd the fish was harvested but the angler was found not eligible to win.
Pasco County was home to tagged redfish #11 but would not become the home of the Hells Bay Waterman as this angler was not a CCA member when he caught the STAR tagged red.
#12 also came from Pasco County but again the angler was not registered for STAR nor a CCA member. Tagged redfish
#13 was caught in Franklin County by an angler that was told repeatedly to enter STAR but… he did not.
The 14th tagged redfish was caught from a kayak in North Port. He released the fish. But you guessed it, another angler that was not a CCA member or registered for STAR.
The month of August has started off with another STAR tagged redfish, #15 being caught in Sarasota County. Although this was the first redfish this angler had ever caught or eaten it would be one he would never forget as he was not a member of CCA and was not registered for STAR.
STAR tagged fish #16 was recaptured August 10 by a youth angler who was not registered for STAR. Connor Davis of Palmetto caught the fish on an artificial bait in Manatee County while fishing Palma Sola Bay with his mother and brother. Luckily for STAR the fish was released to be caught again. As a youth angler Connor was not eligible to win in the tagged redfish division we hope to modify this rule next year.
Tagged redfish #17 was CAUGHT and RELEASED on Saturday, August 15th near Weedon Island in Old Tampa Bay. Jason Lambe of Tampa was fishing in his kayak when he hooked and landed what could have been a brand new Hell’s Bay Waterman powered by a Yamaha 70hp four stroke!! That STAR tagged redfish is still swimming in the Tampa Bay waters.
The 2nd fish of the day on August 15 was #18 of the tournament. Two in one day… SERIOUSLY????
If you were already a CCA member and fishing in a redfish tournament wouldn’t you register for STAR for a chance to win a brand new boat? Easy question, right? James Whitaker caught a STAR tagged redfish with a Hell’s Bay Waterman on his back while fishing the Emerald Coast Redfish tournament out of Panama City. James was a CCA member but did not register for STAR. James was also a licensed Charter boat captain and was ineligible to win. The 23” STAR tagged redfish was caught and RELEASED in West Bay. James caught the fish on a Zara Spook topwater plug. He’s still out there for our Panama City anglers to catch, so go get him (if you’re a CCA member and registered for STAR)!
STAR tagged redfish #19 was caught on Saturday, August 22 by an angler in Charlotte Harbor near Pirates Cove.
Adam Dorr was happy to have caught a keeper. He wanted to keep a few fish for dinner. Once he had the fish in the cooler he noticed a yellow tag. He cut the tag off as he thought it was a research tag and called the phone number. Mr. Dorr was not a CCA member nor was he registered for CCA Florida STAR presented by Yamaha.
The 20th STAR tagged redfish was caught in Terra Ceia Bay by an unregistered angler fishing with his brother. They had gone fishing in order to bring home dinner. They never thought it would be a $45,000 meal.
STAR Tagged redfish number 21 was also caught in Terra Ceia Bay by a group of anglers. One hooked, one fought the fish and another landed it but unfortunately the angler who caught the fish was not a CCA member or registered in STAR.
The 22nd STAR tagged redfish was caught in Franklin County near Turkey Point by an angler who was planning on having mullet for dinner but instead cast a gold spoon and caught a tagged red. He was not registered or a CCA member. When he was told that he had just missed out on winning a boat, motor and trailer package valued at $45,000 the angler said “that redfish will be a $45,000 fish dinner, I better eat slowly”.
The last fish that was caught was captured in a cast net and therefore was not eligible but neither of the anglers was CCA members or registered for STAR. This fish, #23 was caught in Walton County in the town of Freeport.
Not only are there still 5 prize winning STAR tagged redfish to be caught offering boat, motor and trailer packages there are also other division prizes in CCA Florida STAR presented by Yamaha which include Bad Boy Buggies Recoil 4×4, River Hawk & Stumpnocker boats, Engel coolers, Power Pole shallow water anchors, Costa Sunglasses, Shimano fishing tackle, Humminbird electronics, MinnKota trolling motors, Raymarine electronics, Bass Pro Shop, Marathon fuel & Simms gift cards, LIVE Watersports paddle boards & so much more – nearly $500,000 worth of prizes in all. And perhaps most exciting of all, youth anglers who are New Tide members fish for FREE and are eligible to win a share of $100,000 in scholarships.
It only takes one day on the water to catch a prize winning fish before Labor Day at 5pm.