The first two fishermen to hit the jackpot by reeling in tagged redfish in the CCA/STAR were recently confirmed as winners.
Highlands resident Micah Nethercutt became the first winner in the tournament, reeling in a specially tagged redfish on a rainy afternoon June 25 while fishing San Luis Pass during a weeklong trip to a Jamaica Beach beach house to celebrate a friend’s birthday.
As the friends began to lose daylight, Nethercutt’s line, equipped with squid as bait, took off. Once the redfish was brought into the boat, it did not take too long to figure out it was a winner.
Just two days later, Temple resident Mark Richner became the second winner in the tournament, reeling in his tagged redfish on the morning of June 27 during a guided fishing trip of Baffin Bay.
During a stop just south of Bird Island Basin, Richner and two friends accompanying him on the tour each reeled in redfish within minutes of each other, but it was Richner’s line that brought in the winner.
For brining in the tagged redfish, both men will win a 2014 Ford F-150 Texas Edition XLT SuperCab truck, a Haynie 23-foot Big Foot boat, a Mercury 150 L Pro XS OptiMax motor and a Coastline trailer.
So far, nine tagged redfish have been caught, but only two have been confirmed as winners brought in by properly registered anglers. There are more than 60 tagged redfish still remaining, and the next three confirmed winners will receive the same prize package as Nethercutt and Richner.
The next five tagged redfish winners will receive the same prize package minus the new truck. Anglers younger than the legal driving age who bring in a tagged redfish will be awarded the same package, plus a $20,000 college scholarship in lieu of the truck.
Other prizes for youth anglers include a $50,000 college scholarship for participants ages 6-10 who catch the largest flounder, sheepshead or gafftop, and a $20,000 college scholarship for participants ages 11-17 who catch the largest flounder, sheepshead or gafftop.
Last year’s tournament saw 11 tagged redfish caught, but only six were confirmed as winners.
The tournament serves as the annual membership recruitment drive for CCA Texas.
This year’s tournament began at sunrise May 24 and will conclude Sept. 1 at 5 p.m.
For more information on the tournament or to sign up, visit www.ccamembership.org.
For more information on weigh stations, instant-entry registration locations and weekly tournament leaderboard updates, visit www.startournament.org.