“What started out as a normal summer quickly transformed into a blast furnace of unfavorable conditions all along the coast, and anglers were challenged to adapt. Nevertheless, the 2023 CCA Texas STAR continued its longstanding tradition of celebrating the magnificent resources of our state and we salute all the anglers who took part in the tournament this year.”
What a crazy ride for Texas fishing in 2023!
What started out as a normal summer quickly transformed into a blast furnace of unfavorable conditions all along the coast, and anglers were challenged to adapt. Nevertheless, the 2023 CCA Texas STAR continued its longstanding tradition of celebrating the magnificent resources of our state and we salute all the anglers who took part in the tournament this year. Every angler who joins CCA and participates in STAR plays an integral part in helping this organization stay at the forefront of conservation issues that ensure we can continue to enjoy our coastal resources for generations to come. We all know how addictive it is when a hungry redfish slams our spoon or an angry speckled trout explodes on a topwater. Thanks to your participation and support, scenes like those will continue to play out for countless anglers and we will always be thankful for the members who care enough to support the worthy mission of CCA Texas.
Out on the water this summer, make no doubt about it, days and days of temperatures above 100 degrees in many places made it pretty sporty to endure a full day on the water, but CCA members are known for doing whatever it takes to make just one more cast, and that perseverance paid off in 2023. This year, 30 percent more STAR-tagged redfish were caught up and down the coast, from Sabine to South Padre. Winners claimed seven of the 10 red-tag prizes offered (five Ford/Haynie/Mercury truck boat combos and three of the Haynie/Mercury boat packages). All the blue-tag prizes for Tran Sport/Mercury combos were claimed by winners. Of the 120 tagged redfish released, almost 25 percent were caught – which is an incredible number! Interestingly, of the fish caught, red tag catches outnumbered blue tag catches by a three-to-one margin—even though a red- and a blue-tagged fish were released at the same time at every location by our CCA Release Team volunteers. 2023 was just full of surprises!
With another year of STAR in the books, we are so proud and grateful to announce that $7,475,000 in scholarships has been awarded to kids over the history of the tournament. For many of these kids, these scholarships change the course of their lives and that is a powerful thing for all of us to be a part of. We fish because we love it, but for some of these kids, the simple act of fishing in STAR is a life-changing event. And we’ve made sure that these scholarships are as flexible as possible to address different needs. No longer are these scholarships for accredited colleges and universities only. Instead, all graduating high school seniors can apply their scholarships to accredited technical or trade schools and vocational training programs if they wish. When you see what an incredible difference those scholarships can make, it makes a lot of sense to enter the kids or grandkids under 17 for $10 to fish STAR. Even if they don’t catch a winner, they are automatically entered in a drawing for a $25,000 scholarship no matter what.
We are proud of the impact STAR has for many anglers and we can all take pride in the amazing work that CCA Texas continues to do. The chapter recently committed $5 million for oyster reef restoration along our coast, which is perhaps the single most impactful effort we can make to support our coastal ecosystem. This is an initiative that will provide untold benefits for Texas bays and estuaries, and safe-guard one of our most productive marine habitats. When you fish STAR, you support efforts like this and countless others. The future has never looked brighter for the Texas coastline.
NOW IS THE BEST TIME TO CHECK THE BOX!
With 2023 STAR behind us, it is of course time to set our sights on 2024, and we are continuing to offer participants even more incentive to get registered early. Everyone who enters the 2024 STAR between now and Dec. 15 gets TWO chances in a drawing to win a 21-foot Dargel Skout/Mercury 150HP engine/McClain trailer boat package. The Double Early Bird entry period doubles your odds of taking home the prize package and eliminates the chances of forgetting to register before you take that first fishing trip next summer. Remember, after you see the tag it’s too late to register and win, so don’t leave anything to chance – enter the 2024 STAR Double Early Bird and be set for another exciting summer of fishing in 2024!
Thank you all for a great 2023 and we look forward to seeing you back out on in the water next year!