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Steve Lomicka promised his 14-year-old stepson James a fishing trip for quite some time. Timing seemed to be the problem, but Sunday everything came together.
Heading out for a day of "catching anything but trout" started out routinely with the three of us stopping at a local grass flat to catch bait. After filling the well with pinfish, scaled sardines and whitebait, we were ready. We planned on targeting Spanish mackerel and maybe, if lucky, a king mackerel or two.
Arriving at our "spot" we were greeted by a family of bottlenose dolphins wreaking havoc on baitfish right where we planned to fish. We wondered if the dolphins had wrecked the area, but we gave it a shot.
The mackerel were everywhere and hammered our baits as quickly as they hit the water.
"Was that a tarpon that rolled?" Lomicka asked. "Didn't see it," I replied. Just then James had another bite. He thought it was a pretty good mackerel or king until a massive fish launched out of the water like a scud missile. A tarpon swallowed his whitebait and was making for the sky. That was the first of six tarpon we hooked on mackerel tackle. We were outgunned, but Lomicka managed to have one on for over 30 minutes until the hook broke. Who would believe it? Went mackerel fishing and tarpon showed up.
-- Capt. Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 510-4376 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.