The largest family friendly saltwater fishing competition in Florida — The CCA Florida STAR, presented by Yamaha — kicked off on May 27.
With more than $500,000 in prizes and scholarships, the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) is using the social media-based, 101-day event to educate the public on the importance of protecting Florida’s marine resources.
Recognized as a “catch, photo and release” competition, STAR’s smartphone app eliminates the requirement for anglers to harvest or capture and transport fish. Registered anglers submit a photo of their catch on a free official measuring device via the app directly from the boat, dock or ramp. Once photographed, catches may be immediately released back into their natural habitat.
“Our state’s natural resources and fisheries are here for our enjoyment, but we understand that smart angling will preserve these resources for the future,” stated Brian Gorski, executive director of CCA Florida. “The STAR event is a fantastic way to provide a fun competition with amazing prizes, protect our fish populations and generate critical data in the process.”
The event’s Conservation Division is designed to reward anglers who provide the most catch data on all fish caught and released, no matter what species or size. The conservation community and organizations like the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, Snook and Game Fish Foundation, University of Florida and others use the data to make science-based decisions on habitat management, stock assessment, and other relevant issues.
In STAR’s signature division, officials will release an average of four tagged redfish per coastal county throughout Florida. Registered adult anglers catching the first six tagged redfish, and using the STAR app to record their catch, are eligible for their choice of prizes including a new GMC Sierra 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 will be eligible to participate in the 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.
A new division of the 2017 STAR event, the Costa Kick Plastic Trash Division rewards participants who gather trash and debris from waterways and submit a photo entry with the 2017 free official measuring device. As with other divisions, participants will be eligible for 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 are spotted seatrout, snook, sheepshead, non-tagged redfish, cobia, dolphin, and kingfish. Division winners are determined by a random drawing, a format that encourages participants of all ages to protect and conserve Florida’s fisheries. The STAR Youth Scholarship Division offers the opportunity to win one of twelve scholarships totaling $100,000. The event runs from Memorial Day, May 27 to Labor Day, Sept. 4 at 5 p.m.
In 2016, more than 5,000 anglers registered for STAR. More than 150 tagged redfish were released throughout the state’s coastal waters, with more than 20 caught and submitted. For more information on STAR, or to register, visit www.ccaflstar.com.