The Louisiana Saltwater Series, hosted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, closed this weekend at Delta Marina in Empire with some monster catches at its championship tournament. The 2010 fishing season was a banner year for the series, to promote the conservation of Louisiana’s saltwater sport fish resources through six tag and release redfish tournaments.
Overall weight determined the grand prize winner going to the team of Bobby Abruscato and Scott Ritter, with a winning total weight of 34.11 pounds, and their largest fish weighing 9.2 pounds. With the win, the duo was awarded a cash prize of over $2,700.
However, this tournament series serves a much larger purpose than hashing our prize money for trophy catches. The department hopes the tournaments will create awareness and participation in their tag and release program.
In its inaugural year, LDWF safely tagged and released 368 redfish caught throughout the series. The results of the tagging will aid conservation efforts for redfish in the future, helping to ensure healthy populations and a successful recreational fishing industry.
“It’s not just the tournament itself, but being able to provide fish for LDWF to tag and hopefully track,” explained participating angler Christopher Bush. “It’s definitely a win-win situation.”
Turnout for the series was excellent, with participation averaging over 30 teams for each tournament and 22 teams qualifying for the championship. These two-angler teams qualified for the no-entry-fee championship by fishing a minimum of three Saltwater Series tournaments.
“In light of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, we were very pleased with overall participation,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina. “We hope that these events will again create enthusiasm for fishing in Louisiana and will unite anglers and their families in this recreational pastime.”
The 2011 Louisiana Saltwater Series hopes to continue to draw redfish anglers from the Gulf Coast, offering two –angler teams the opportunity to compete in six different tournaments, including a championship. With low entry fees, these tournaments allow anglers to fish close to home and compete for cash prizes while simultaneously giving back to the resource through tag and release fishing.
“With the oil spill behind us, we’re excited about the possibilities for next year and anticipate the tournaments to be even larger and more successful,” said Pausina.
Participating anglers can expect a significant increase in cash and prize payouts. The department also plans to add a few changes to the tournament format that should make it even more exciting, including a youth division.
The department urges interested anglers to sign up for the Louisiana Cooperative Marine Sport Fish Tagging Program. Through this program, volunteer anglers provide information that is difficult, often impossible, and expensive to obtain by other means. The target species for LDWF’s tagging program are red drum “redfish” and spotted seatrout “speckled trout.” For additional information, interested anglers can contact email@example.com.
Information about the 2011 Louisiana Saltwater Series will soon be available at lasaltwaterseries.com.
For more information, contact Ashley Wethey at 225-765-5113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Photos and footageavailable upon request.