The Louisiana Saltwater Series Redfish Championship held on Oct. 5 and 6, came to an exciting finale with awards going to the Team of the Year, Youth of the Year and Tournament Champions.
In their third year competing in the LASS, Luke Landry and Nash Roberts, both of the New Orleans area, took home top honors with a four-fish total weight of 31.96 pounds. After fishing the sand bars on both days, Landry and Roberts landed their trophy-winning fish in deep water. “Due to the wind Friday, the sand bars had dirty water, so we turned to the deep water fish,” explained Landry. “On day two, we returned to the deep water fish. The bite was slower, but two large reds sealed the deal.”
The LASS continues to draw redfish anglers from Texas to Florida and beyond, offering two-angler teams the opportunity to compete in six regular season events. Low entry fees for the one-day, regular season tournaments allows anglers to fish close to home and minimize expenses, while still being part of a premier inshore, catch and release redfish tournament organization.
“We’ve created a fun, competitive tournament circuit that’s affordable for the weekend fisherman. The format is one-day and the local stops make it feasible for any Louisiana angler to make the tournaments without investing a lot of time and money,” explained LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina.
Teams fishing any four of the LASS’s six regular-season events or finishing within payout are automatically qualified for the no-entry championship event, pitting qualifiers for a combined payout of over $6,000 in cash and prizes.
As the tournament continues to grow, the series becomes more and more lucrative with each year, with a possible $73,000 in payouts over the course of the series.
Tournament anglers weren’t the only ones to win big this season. The Department tagged and released over 1,000 redfish throughout 2012 series, tagging 208 in the championship event alone, the largest single-event total thus far.
The Department has been tagging fish for years as part of the Louisiana Cooperative Sport Fish Tagging Program. Through the program, volunteer anglers provide information that is difficult, often impossible, and expensive to obtain by other means. The impact the LASS tournament series has made on the program is astonishing, with the annual number of tagged fish nearly tripling since 2010.
The duo of Kim Norton and Charlie Howell were honored at the championship for their tagging efforts with a total of 29 tagged redfish during the 2012 series.
Taking home the Team of the Year Award were the familiar faces of Sean O’Connell and Joshua Roming, who went home with cash in their pockets nearly every tournament this year.
Christopher McElveen proves that tournament fishing isn’t just for the old folks, going home with the Youth of the Year Award. Even at his young age, his 9.3 pound catch blew many of the adult competitors out of the water. Also competing in the youth division was Kendall Gibbs with an 8.21 pound fish.
The conservation-based tournament also offers multiple ways to win including awards for the most extra fish brought in for tagging and the lightest stringer.
Information on the 2013 Louisiana Saltwater Series will soon be available at lasaltwaterseries.com.
Image courtesy Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries