CCA Florida shares details on divisions and prizes for CCA Florida STAR, presented by Yamaha, promoting conservation and family experiences.

Capt. Leiza Fitzgerald kicking off the 2018 CCA Florida Star Tournament- 101 days of fishing.

CCA Florida, the state’s leading organization dedicated to marine fisheries conservation, education and advocacy, shared details on its upcoming signature event – CCA Florida STAR, presented by Yamaha. The 101-day fishing event, offering over $500,000 in prizes, has expanded divisions and is offering new ways for anglers of all ages to walk away with prizes like a brand new truck, boat, motor, trailer packages, all-terrain vehicles, scholarships, coolers, fishing gear, and much more in 17 divisions for 11 species of fish.

CCA Florida STAR is the largest family-friendly saltwater fishing competition in Florida and runs from May 26th to Labor Day, Sept. 3. Unlike traditional fishing tournaments, STAR focuses on conservation and the social media-based event educates 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. The best part? It’s a statewide event, giving you a chance to get out and explore new fishy areas, in and offshore.

Don’t let this happen to you or your friends.

The opening weekend of STAR proved to be exciting with the two STAR tagged redfish caught in Brevard county, one of the “destination counties” where there were eight fish released. Only days after the event kick-off, tagged fish FL 133 was caught on a jighead and live shrimp, not far from where it was released, by a wade fisherman who was very familiar with STAR. He had been following CCA STAR for the last two years, but had not become a CCA member or registered for 2018 STAR. He was not happy with himself and decided to keep the fish to enjoy a very expensive fish dinner.

Registration is open throughout the entire tournament.

A second STAR tagged redfish was caught in Brevard June 2 by a client of Captain Troy Perez. The bad news? The angler was not registered. The good news? The tagged red drum was released back to fight another day. This makes two STAR tagged redfish that have been caught in less than a week! Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your perspective, both fish were caught by unregistered anglers, so all the top prizes are still on the table.

You gotta be in it to win it!

A third STAR tagged redfish was caught in Mayport near Jacksonville. That makes three fish in less than two weeks! A double shot of bad news, the angler had never heard of STAR and therefore was not registered and the fish was harvested.

Don’t wait until it’s too late.

The Panhandle is now on the board with a STAR tagged red. It was caught by a vacationer from South Carolina. FL #504 was caught in Bay County near the Tyndall Bridge. Unfortunately the angler was not aware of or registered for STAR and he harvested the fish.

New details for the 2018 event include:

  • Kids – Continued free registration for current New Tide Members (CCA members) ages 6 – 17.
  • Guides – New opportunities for guides to win in the Tagged Redfish and Tagged Dolphin Divisions.
  • Confirmed prizes in the signature Tagged Redfish Division include a Contender 22 Sport, a GMC Sierra truck, a Pathfinder 2200 TRS, a Hewes Redfisher 16, a Carolina Skiff 21 Ultra and a Cottonmouth Aluminum Bay/Flats boat, all powered by Yamaha. Prizes for the first two youth anglers in this division include a Carolina Skiff 16JVX CC boat, powered with a Yamaha 40 HP motor and trailer.

New divisions include:

  • Tagged Dolphin Division (Mahi Mahi) – 20 tagged dolphin will be released in federal waters, with the first registered angler who catches one eligible to win $10,000 in cash or scholarship.
  • Non-tagged Redfish Division – even non-tagged redfish are eligible for prizes.
  • Grouper Division – special prizes for black, gag, red and scamp grouper.
  • Tarpon Division – one winner of a $10,000 prize package will be determined by a random drawing of all catch photos entered in the drawing. Eligibility requirements include proper handling and resuscitation of the catch.

Other STAR divisions include:

  • Youth Scholarship Division presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors – offering over $100,000 in scholarships from Realtree Fishing, Reel Legends Apparel, Southeastern Environmental Solutions, Talk of the Town Restaurant Group and Pasco County Office of Tourism Development.
  • Conservation and Costa Kick Plastic Trash Division – assisting with data collection for potential use in stock and habitat assessment and helping with trash and debris collection.
  • Lionfish Division – helping with the removal of this invasive species.
  • Open, Ladies, Fly, Kayak and Professional Guides Divisions – targeting various species.

Most 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.

In 2017, over 5,400 anglers participated logging over 12,000 catches. The 2018 awards banquet will be Oct. 20 in Crystal River.

For more information on STAR, or to register, visit the Facebook page or ccaflstar.com.

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