SPORTS

OUTDOORS CORNER: CCA Lousiana’s STAR largest and richest saltwater fishing tournament in country

Lyle Johnson
A group of young enthusiasts enjoy the fishing portion of Blind River Boss Gobblers’ JAKE’s Day. The acronym for JAKES is Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics & Sportsmanship.

You’ve gotta be crazy to fish in the saltwater and not have a S.T.A.R. ticket. If you don’t think so just ask Jeffrey LaCoste and his girlfriend Brenda Wasson. Last year they were fishing out of their newly purchased bay boat for the first time early in July. They had their rods rigged up right for live bait and had just arrived at the perfect spot after loading the live well with frisky shrimp and had a couple of beautiful Lake Pontchartrain redfish already in the boat.

The only thing they didn’t have were their tickets to fish the CCA Louisiana S.T.A.R., costing the New Orleans native and life-long angler a chance to have a brand new Chevrolet Silverado to tow their new boat.

“My girlfriend helped me land the fish and made a comment about how pretty it was and that it had a red tag along the dorsal fin,” LaCoste said. “I wish I had known about the tournament and had registered for the S.T.A.R., especially since the truck I’m driving right now is 11 years old and has about 250,000 miles on it.”

Regrettably, this is a story that’s been repeated many times over the years. You see, CCA Louisiana hosts the biggest salt water fishing rodeo on record and each year 50 tagged redfish are released in our southern waters. Any angler registered in the STAR that catches a tagged redfish could win an incredible prize.

In this years tournament the first angler to land a tagged redfish (and has a STAR ticket) will walk away with a Chevy Silverado worth over $30,000. The second tagged redfish will garner a Harley Davidson motorcycle and the next eight would win boat packages. (21-foot Mako with a 150 hp Mercury Optimax)

Touted as one of the largest and richest saltwater fishing tournaments in the country, CCA Louisiana’s STAR (the Statewide Tournament and Anglers’ Rodeo) spans the entire Louisiana Gulf Coast and is open to anglers of every age. This year, it boasts 108 days of competition from Memorial Day Saturday through Labor Day.

Besides the general adult divisions, STAR sports a ladies division, a youth division and even a kayak division. One of the categories that’s a favorite of mine is the bass division; east and west that wins a bass fishing excursion to Lake Guerrero in Mexico. All the STAR info and registration can be obtained by logging on to www.ccalouisiana.com.

Another upcoming event that’s of great interest in our area is the Blind River Boss Gobblers annual Jake’s day event. This National Wild Turkey Federation chapter puts on one of the best youth events anywhere around. The acronym for JAKES is Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics & Sportsmanship.

Like always, this year’s activities will be held at the Ascension Parish Sherriff’s Shooting Range and is open to youth aged 17 and under. There will be all sorts of activities including; archery, fishing, BB gun shooting, clay pigeon shooting with shotguns, turkey calling, etc. Along with the activities many great door prizes that include a shotgun and 2 BB guns will be awarded. All prizes were donated by Cabela’s, the Jakes Day event sponsor.

The event is June 6; registration begins at 7 a.m. and starts at 8 a.m. Lunch will be provided. The event is free to Jakes members; under 15 the cost is $7 to join and 15 thru 17 is $10. Thad Bellow is the event coordinator and can be reached at 225 715-1637 or email him at ctbellow@eatel.net.

I had an opportunity to fish Turner Industries “Big Bass Bash” with a good friend and excellent angler, Scott Buxton. Our anticipation was really high as both of us had been catching fish in Lake Catouatchie. The launch site was Doirion’s in Stephensville, so that made the ride 92 miles one way. We bit the bullet and decided to make the run with Ricky and Carol Mabile and off we went.

I suppose most of you read my column a couple of weeks ago about the incredible fishing in Lake Catouatchie and the prospect of our chances to do well in the tournament was pretty good. Well, that’s why they call it fishing. We probably logged over 200 miles in Scott’s boat and ended up with only one keeper for our efforts. The Lake Catouatchie phenomenon ended for me that day.

The only thing that could have made it worse is for some of the others that made the same journey would have finished well in the event and that happened as well! The team of Carl & Caston Milioto came back from Catouatchie with an 18.18 stringer and took first place honors and $1,250 to boot. They also had a 5.50 big bass that finished second in that division and added another $200 to their take.

Butch Fuentes and Keith Coates boated a five bass limit that weighed 14.12 for a second place finish and an $800 pay day. Finishing 3rd was the team of Victor Calvaruso & Ulric Webre with 13.97 and $550. Fourth went to Ted Mayon Sr & Jr with a 13.23 bag and $400 for their efforts. Rounding out the top 5 was the team of Dwayne Cheney and Joe Hemba with 12.92 and $325. Big Bass went to the team of Kenny Hebert and Alex Perret with a 5.65 lunker that earned them $550.

Oh yea, Ricky & Carol Mabile, the guys we made the ride with caught four fish that tipped the scales at 10.96 and finished 8th place and earned $255 adding insult to injury for the Buxton-Johnson team. We couldn’t even cry about the big ones that got away; we didn’t hook any.

Turner Industries always puts on a great tournament for their employees and this one was no different. Plenty of food and great door prizes were given away for all who attended. Oh yea, we didn’t win the no fish pot or any door prizes either; we had to try and eat our monies worth.

Hey, I’m not complaining, just poking a little fun at myself. A great day on the water with a really good friend is about as good as it gets! Remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. So until next time be safe in the outdoors, have fun and may God truly bless you.

Some youngsters enjoying the finer points of shooting a long bow at JAKE’s Day.