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Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Daily fishing report
By ED WALKER
Published August 13, 2006
One of the most exciting species during the late summer months is the juvenile tarpon. These miniature versions of the big, migratory tarpon are abundant in many of the North Pinellas rivers, creeks and canals. They are most active during the early morning or late evening, but they are more easily located in the mornings, when the water is calm. Most of the time they will school in deep spots in the main channel and can be seen rolling periodically on the surface. Casting live baits, such as scaled sardines, is the easiest way to hook up, but they will strike flashy artificials such jigs and spoons. Lures with single hooks are preferable because the mouth of a small tarpon can be easily damaged by multiple trebles.
Because most of the backwater tarpon in this area weigh 8 to 30 pounds, they can be targeted with light tackle. Spinning outfits with 8- to 10-pound test line are usually adequate since these fish prefer to fight in open water rather than running for docks or obstructions. A short section of 30- to 40-pound test fluorocarbon shock leader is required to keep abrasive jaw structures from chewing the hook off during the fight. When the fish are really feeding, they can be chummed into a frenzy using live sardines, then caught on fly-casting gear.
Regardless of the tackle, the battle is always incredible with constant head-shaking and mouth-rattling jumps.