A TAIL OF THREE WINNERS
FLORIDA – Cliff Herring took home a brand new GMC Sierra pickup truck.
I moved to Florida three years ago from Texas and had fished the STAR Tournament there with little success. I knew when I moved to Florida I would be fishing STAR there too – I really wanted that new truck. I am over 60 years old and fish solo from a kayak and was a little challenged with the technology of a catch photo format, but I just knew I was going to catch one of those tagged redfish. Every day I would say to my wife, ‘I’m going to go catch my new truck,’ and every day I would come home with great fish stories but not of a tagged redfish. Not until that wonderful day in June.
My daughters were home for Father’s Day and asked me what I wanted. I told then just to give me cash so I could buy live shrimp for all my fishing excursions and that’s what they did. I set out and used the live shrimp my daughters’ gift had bought me and paddled out to one of my favorite areas. The first cast was a nice redfish and as I got him close to the ‘yak I checked. No tag. Next cast, another redfish. As I am fighting it to the side of my kayak I am amazed to see a tag. Now it is real!
I need to land the fish, get the measuring device out, get my phone out which is stowed in a plastic bag and then get a live fish in a picture with the device and I only have two hands. I get it done without dropping anything and release the redfish, but now must paddle back to an area where I have service to call the STAR hotline and send the photo.
I could not believe it. I had finally done it. I had caught my new truck just like I told my wife I would! Did I need that truck! Mine had more than 220,000 miles. Thank you to my wife and daughters for putting up with me and to CCA Florida for such an amazing competition and for all the great work the organization does.
“I never expected in a million years to catch a tagged fish, just keep fishing because you never know,” he says.
TEXAS – Dom Lopez, 19, of Corpus Christi took home a Ford F-150, 23-foot Haynie Bigfoot, Mercury outboard, and Coastline trailer combo.
When I was 8 years old my father caught a tagged redfish while wade fishing with a friend, and, sadly, he was not a member so we were not able to win the truck and boat package. Ever since that day we both have been members of CCA and we have always talked about getting a boat so that we could go out to wade different areas and just enjoy being on the water.
On June 7, 2019, my luck changed for the best. I had asked everyone I knew to go fish, but everyone was busy except my grandpa, so we went out on a little wade fishing trip. My grandpa hadn’t fished in two years so I figured it would be really nice to take him. While we are fishing, I see a good friend of mine out there as well.
My first cast and I hook up on a nice red, and as I bring him up to the net I looked to see if he was “the one,” but he didn’t have a tag. I look over to my grandpa and he is hooked up on a nice redfish that was about 26 inches. Two casts later I hook up on another nice redfish. As I’m fighting it, I see the tag, and my whole body just went numb. I slowly netted the fish, and it was a feeling I will never forget as I walk over to my grandpa.
“We have to go home,” I said to him.
“Why? We just got here,” he answered.
I showed him the fish and he shouted and gave me a big hug. My friend Colton was there fishing by us as well and I shouted over to him that I caught a tagged redfish. He couldn’t believe it. It was the accomplishment of a lifetime. My father and I have talked about it for years, and finally, I did it.
LOUISIANA – Ty Trosclair, 17, of Grand Chenier took home a 2140 Nautic Star and Mercury Outboard boat package
In 2018, Ty Trosclair, his dad and friend were fishing the banks of Rockefeller Refuge when he landed the redfish of a lifetime. Their target of the day was trout but shortly into the outing, Ty brought the red tagged redfish to shore.
“They were fishing there for about 45 minutes when I went to check on them,” Ty’s dad Scooter Trosclair commented. “Just when I put my line in the water nearby, Ty had set the hook on a redfish.”
It was then that Ty realized the redfish he was bringing in had a red tag in it.
“That’s when I threw my pole down and went over to make sure Ty didn’t lose this one,” Scooter said.
Ty landing this tagged redfish was a déjà vu moment for him as he caught a tagged redfish the previous year but was not registered for STAR. He made sure he was registered after that.
“I wasn’t going to make that mistake again,” Ty said.
“It was the year of redemption,” said STAR Tournament Director Rad Trascher. “Ty was the second angler that year to win who has caught a tagged redfish in the past but wasn’t registered for the tournament. You know that young man had a blast in his new Nautic Star and Mercury boat.”