Orlando, FL – Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) Florida STAR, a 101-day, conservation-minded tournament, begins Saturday, May 27.
Recognized as a “catch, photo and release” competition, registered anglers must use STAR’s smart-phone app, eliminating the requirement for anglers to harvest or capture and transport fish back to the docks. It’s touted as the largest family friendly saltwater-fishing competitions in Florida and includes up to $500,000 in prizes and scholarships.
Brian Gorski, CCA Florida’s executive director, called the tournament “a fantastic way to provide a fun competition with amazing prizes, protect our fish populations and generate critical date for research in the process.”
The Conservation Division rewards anglers who provide the most catch data on all fish released, no matter species or size. Organizations like the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, Snook and Game Fish Foundation, University of Florida and others use the data for science-based decisions on habitat management, stock assessment and more issues.
In the event’s Signature Division, four tagged redfish will be released in each of Florida’s coastal counties. The first six who catch a tagged redfish using the STAR app to record the catch are eligible for their choice of prizes, including a new GMC Sierra Pickup or one of several Yamaha-powered boat packages including a Contender 22 Sport, Pathfinder 2200TRS, Maverick HPX-S, Sea Hunt 225 Ultra or the Carolina Skiff 21 Sport & Fish.
Youth anglers can participate tagged redfish division, with the first two winners taking home a Carolina Skiff 16 JVX CC powered by a 40hp Yamaha and a Road King trailer.
The Costa Kick Plastic Trash Division will debut at the 2017 tournament. The division rewards participants who gather trash and debris from waterways and submit a photo entry with the free official measuring device on the app. Participants will be entered into a random drawing at the end of the 101-days of STAR for a $500 cash prize.
Other divisions include Open, Ladies, Fly, Kayak, Lionfish and Professional Guides. Eligible species in these divisions are spotted seatrout, snook, sheepshead, non-tagged redfish, cobia, dolphin (mahi mahi) and kingfish. Division winners are determined by a random drawing, and the STAR Youth Scholarship Division offers the opportunity to win one of twelve scholarships totaling $100,000. The event officially runs until September 4 (Labor Day) at 5 p.m.
In 2016, over 5,000 anglers registered for the tournament and more than 150 tagged redfish were released throughout the state’s coastal waters, with more than 20 caught and submitted via the app. For more information, or to register, visit the event’s website or the Facebook page.