Competitive fly fishing is all the rage among the growing numbers of under-40 fly anglers nationwide. And among some of us older folks, too. Taking a page from the kayak fishing community, these events combine comradery with learning experiences and shared knowledge, while doing what we all love most - actual fishing!
Well come Saturday, May 25th - the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend - regional fly anglers have options. Not one... not two... but three (!) tournament options to choose from. Fortunately, only two are single-day events, the third is summer-long.
First off, Saturday kicks off the annual CCA STAR tournament. Once again, there's a Fly Fishing Division with two regional divisions, East and West. Each division will award a $1,500 gift card from Academy Sports + Outdoors to the fly angler who catches the heaviest speckled trout. Sponsored by Costa del Mar, the fly fishing division has been very competitive the last few years. To participate, an angler must be a CCA member -and- enroll in the STAR tournament (separate fee). The STAR tournament continues through Labor Day. All rules can be found on www.ccastar.com.
Incidently, while other CCA states have a similiar tournament, only Florida has a Fly Fishing Division. Louisiana CCA members can participate in the Florida STAR if they have a Florida saltwater license and a Florida CCA STAR entry tag. Unlike Louisiana STAR, the FLSTAR is CPR (catch-photo-release) with an approved measuring device. Longest of each species wins. The species list is quite extensive: snook, seatrout, non-tagged redfish, tarpon, grouper, dolphin, and kingfish.
May 25th also is the 10th annual "Bass on the Fly" fly fishing tournament out of Lake Fork, Texas. The BOTF tournament is usually held the first Saturday of May each year,
but was rescheduled this year due to the Bassmasters Elite tournament held that weekend on Lake Fork.
BOTF is a CPR tournament with total inches for five (5) bass. Activities kick off on Friday with free casting clinics, product booths and kayak demos, and the Captains meeting and guide report at 6:00pm that evening. There's also a Big Sunfish tourney from 3:00pm to 6:00pm. Saturday is the main event with lines-in after 6:00am and weigh-in before 2:00pm. Categories include Boat and Non-Boat (kayak, canoe, float tube, bank, etc). The event is open to the public. Entry fee is $70 per person.
Registration and fish entry is through the iAngler app. Anglers who register prior to May 15th are automatically eligible for a drawing for a Sage Smallmouth rod. Proceeds benefit Reel Recovery and the FFI Texas Council. For complete info, go to www.bassonthefly.org.
Also on May 25th, it's the inaugural "PAC Fly Fishing Journey" out of PAC Kayak Rentals in Montegut. This is a weigh-in fly fishing paddle/pedal tournament for two biggest slot reds ($25), with optional calcuttas for Big Red, Leopard Red, and Sheepshead ($5 each). Shotgun launch from the marina at 5:30am with weigh-in from 2:00pm to 3:00pm. Food will be provided at the weigh-in for no extra cost. For more info, go to www.packayakrental.com and click on Fly Fishing Journal.