© St. Petersburg Times, published November 10, 2002
Steve Lomicka promised his 14-year-old stepson, James, a fishing trip for quite some time. Timing was a problem, but one Sunday it came together.
Heading out for a day of "catching anything but trout" started routinely with the three of us stopping at a grass flat to catch bait. After a few throws of the bait net and with a
livewell full of pinfish, scaled sardines and whitebait, we were ready.
We planned on targeting Spanish mackerel and maybe some king mackerel, if we were lucky.
At our spot there were bottlenosed dolphin wreaking havoc on baitfish where we planned to fish. We wondered if the feeding dolphin had ruined the fishing in the area, but we gave it a shot.
Good thing, because the mackerel were everywhere, hammering our baits as quickly as they hit the water.
"Was that a tarpon that rolled?" Steve asked.
"Didn't see it," I said.
Just then James had another bite and thought it was a good Spanish mackerel or king until his eyes and face lit up at the sight of a massive fish launching out of the water like a missile. A tarpon had swallowed his whitebait and made for the sky.
"Wow! Did you see that?" we all said.
That was the beginning of six tarpon hooked on mackerel tackle. We were outgunned, but Lomicka managed to battle one for more than 30 minutes until the hook broke.
Who would believe it? Went mackerel fishing, and the 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 email@example.com.