, Port Arthur, Texas


May 25, 2013

Chester Moore column: STAR tournament kicks off summer season

PORT ARTHUR —  The state’s largest (and longest) tournament, the State of Texas Angler’s Rodeo (STAR) runs May 25-Sept. 2 and offers anglers a chance at some huge prizes.

   STAR is the annual membership recruitment drive for the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) Texas

    “The tournament spans the entire Texas Gulf Coast and offers current CCA Texas members the chance to win over $1,000,000 in prizes and scholarships. Fishing categories include speckled trout, flounder, sheepshead, gafftop, dorado, king Mackerel and ling (cobia).”

    “There is also a special tagged redfish division in which winners receive complete boat and truck combos. In order to ensure a fair and impartial outcome, the tournament is professionally directed. It is also zero-budgeted, which means that the money raised is put back into the event in the form of media, prizes and more scholarships.”

    The first five tagged redfish weighed in win a 2013 Ford F150 “Texas Edition” connected to a Haynie 23 Bigfoot with a Mercury 150 L Pro XS Optimax and Coastline Trailer

    The next five tagged redfish weighed in win a Haynie 23 Bigfoot with a Mercury 150 L Pro XS OptiMax and Coastline Trailer.

    The largest trout in each division (Upper, Middle, Lower Coast) will win a 22’ Shoalwater Legend with Mercury 150 L Pro XS OptiMax and McClain Trailer

    The largest gafftop will take home a Bluewave 180 V-Bay with Mercury 115 L OptiMax and McClain Trailer. Ditto for the flounder and sheepshead divisions.

    The largest kingfish, dorado and ling will earn an Explorer by Dargel 216 Blue Water Series with Mercury 200 XL OptiMax and McClain Trailer.

    The most exciting thing for many parents is the youth division where hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships can be earned.

    One $50,000 college scholarship will be awarded for catching the largest flounder in this division (ages 6-10). One $50,000 college scholarship will be awarded for catching the largest gafftop in this division (ages 6-10).

    One $50,000 college scholarship will be awarded for catching the largest sheepshead in this division (ages 6-10).

    Three $20,000 college scholarships will be awarded for catching the largest speckled trout (6 lb. minimum) in each of the Upper, Middle and Lower Coasts for kids 11-17.

    Three $20,000 college scholarships will be awarded for catching the largest flounder (18″ minimum), gafftop or sheepshead in this division for kids 11-17.

    Our area is blessed to have several weigh stations including Peggy’s on the Bayou in Bridge City, SGS Causeway on Pleasure Island and Sportman’s Supply in Sabine Pass.

    This will be a truly interesting year for the tournament as flounder populations are on the rise and so is the size of fish. I predict it will take a nine-pounder to win this year.

    Also look for Sabine Lake to be a real factor in the Upper Coast trout division. That usually goes to the Galveston Area or a little south of there but we have been red hot for big trout.

    As unique catches are posted we will post them on these pages where you continue to get the most comprehensive outdoors coverage found anywhere.


    Anglers wanting to get an idea on what is going on in the local fishing scene should drop by the Saltwater Angler's League of Texas (SALT) Clubhouse on Pleasure Island this afternoon.The cut-off for weigh-in is 3 p.m.

(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at You can watch his Web series online at

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  • Bassmaster Elites are coming back

    The Bassmaster Elite Series returns to Southeast Texas in March 2015 to fish out of Orange.
    The announcement was made last week, ahead of Bassmaster’s official tournament schedule announcement and the buzz is already strong in Southeast Texas and beyond.
    I was in Orlando, Fla. attending the ICAST (fishing trade) show and talked with a number of top anglers including Kevin VanDam, Mike Iaconelli and Shaw Grigsby who said it was no surprise they would return considering the massive turnout for the weigh-ins and that the area welcomed them in a very special way.
    It’s far too early to speculate anything like who the top contenders will be or how the fishing will be but there are some things to keep in mind and to look for over the next few months and into the event itself.
    • Prefishing-There is a pre-fishing cutoff that usually extends to right before the Bassmaster Classic and I fully expect most of the anglers in the Elites to come back and prefish.
    Last go-round probably 2/3 of the field fished the area but this time I expect that to be just about everyone. Many of the anglers that did not pre-fish told me they expected to have a lot of water to fish but the sheer volume and diversity was almost overwhelming.
    Beginning probably in the early fall we will see many anglers fishing local waters to get a better idea on how to approach the area.
    • East to West Runs-The Elite anglers fished far and wide but I expect even more running next go-round. After launching from the Simmons Drive Boat Ramp in Orange angler Bill Lowen ran down the Intracoastal, across Galveston Bay and fished in the Clear Lake area and placed in the top 12. The more adventurous anglers will try super long runs, in my opinion, even longer than last time to try and score on big fish. The Intracoastal Canal system makes that possible.
    • Sabine River -Very few of the anglers actually fished in the Sabine River despite the event being called the “Sabine River Challenge”. I think that will change with more anglers running as far north as they can to find pockets of fish that receive little pressure and perhaps a four or five-pounder to push them over the top.
    • Bigger Turnout-Last year some 34,000 people attended the event which set a Bassmaster record for an Elite event.
     It was broken a couple of weeks later in New York but I fully expect the 2015 tournament to draw 40,000 plus. The reason they are coming back is not for the stellar fishing because while we have lots of bass, everyone knows our fishery cannot compare to Toledo Bend for example.
    The support from the public however was amazing and that is what is bringing the top anglers on the planet to fish our area.
    We will have the very best coverage of the event beginning now and leading up to it with exclusive interviews with all of the top pros with not only their thoughts on the big event but with unique tips on how you can catch more fish.
    It’s an exciting time and I look forward to bringing you special coverage on a special event.
    (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at or watch him on “God’ Outdoors with Chester Moore” Saturdays at 10 a.m. on

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From the Fieldhouse blog