Two anglers catch tagged redfish, win truck and boat

davidIt pays to enter the 2012 CCA Texas/STAR Tournament. Just ask two lucky anglers who decided to go fishing on Father’s Day.

This past Father’s Day morning started out like most for Sargent resident David Matula and Alice resident Tony Gonzalez.

At 5:30 a.m., Matula, accompanied by his wife, Lisa, and their dogs, headed out of Sargent — First spot was Mitchell’s Cut.

Lisa asked for a fishing rod, but Matula refused telling her, “You’re not entered in the STAR Tournament so you can not touch any of my fishing rods.”  

The tide in Mitchell’s Cut was swift and coming in strong with horrible seaweed, but Matula managed one undersized redfish. The couple tried oyster reef in East Matagorda Bay next, but the bay was chocolate brown and filled with seaweed. One stingray and several hardheads later, Lisa asked her hubby, “Where are we going to try next?”  

The ugly water and terrible fishing had Matula thinking it was time to go home, but Lisa suggested they try the Caney Creek Swing Bridge, and Matula agreed to go take a look. The water at the swing bridge was clearer and there was no seaweed. A boat was already parked next to their fishing spot, but the anglers in the boat very graciously invited the Matula’s to park their boat beside theirs. The boat neighbors had caught two nice keeper redfish and several large black drum, but Matula had not even gotten a bite. He noticed the other boat was fishing with live shrimp. Thankfully, he had some in his live well.

Matula immediately got a bite and told Lisa, “ Get the net and be ready.” As Lisa netted the redfish, Matula saw the tag and yelled out, “It has a tag!” Matula went to his knees trying to verify the year on the tag. He apologized to the other boat for his language, but still could not believe it was a 2012 CCA Tag, number TA364.  

So off to Caney Creek Marine the Matulas went to register the redfish. Since then Lisa hasn’t stopped reminding her husband that if not for her suggestion to go to the swing bridge and keep fishing, he would have missed out on a new truck and boat prize package.

“I will never forget this Father’s Day fishing trip as long as I live,” Matula said.

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TONYOn the same morning down the coast, Gonzalez told his wife he wanted to go fishing for Father’s Day and just relax. Gonzalez invited his two brothers to join him, and the trio arrived at Packery Channel about 6:30 a.m. with two quarts of live shrimp.

After fishing all morning, Gonzalez only had one keeper trout to show for it. Fishing finally picked up around noon, when the group was almost out of bait. After few more undersize trout, Gonzalez was fishing near the rocks when his line went tight.When Gonzalez got the fish close, he saw what appeared to be a green tag and got a little nervous. He reached for his net and dropped his pliers in the water. He shouted one of his brothers, “It has a tag.”  

The brother, of course, thought Gonzalez was joking. After two tries to net the fish and praying hard, Gonzalez managed to get the fish in the net. The green tag ended up being a lot of algae and Gonzalez stared, thinking it was an old tag. After cleaning off the algae, Gonzalez still couldn’t make out the numbers on the tag, so he put the fish on his stringer and fished another 30 minutes until the bait ran out — still not believing it was a current tag. The brothers decided to stop at Official STAR Weigh Station, Roy’s Bait & Tackle, just to check. Good thing they did.

The weigh station confirmed it was 2012 CCA Tag number TA424. Gonzalez and his brother just couldn’t believe it!  Everyone in the store, including Gonzalez, was smiling ear to ear, shaking hands and high fiving.

“It was a great feeling and a very Happy Father’s Day”, said Gonzalez.

So far, four tagged redfish have been caught, but the first two were not registered for the 2012 CCA Texas/STAR. Fortunately for David Matula and Tony Gonzalez they were registered and will be driving home a 2012 loaded Ford F-150 “Texas Edition” XLT SuperCab, pulling a brand new 23-foot Haynie BigFoot boat, rigged with a Mercury 150L OptiMax motor and Coastline trailer the night of the STAR Awards Ceremony in October.

That means there are still 56 tagged redfish still out there swimming around. 

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