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By Jay Mastry
© St. Petersburg Times, published August 1, 2000
While many tarpon were caught and released Sunday, Mark Mastry's 109-pounder captured the grand prize in the 66th Annual Suncoast Tarpon Roundup's Junior Division "Finale Day."
Twenty-six kids 14 years old and younger qualified by either releasing a fish or weighing one over the 100-pound minimum during the 10-week event.
Mastry, using fresh shad on the bottom, landed the silver king after an hour battle while fishing with his father, Larry, a tackle-shop owner.
Other juniors reported catches near Egmont Key, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, the Manatee River and Anna Maria. Cody Chivas, 11, fishing approximately 6 miles off Indian Rocks Beach, battled an estimated 150-pounder 3 1/2 hours before the monster wore through the line. Jason McGrath, 13, hooked a fish with little time left before the 2 p.m. deadline. In a desperate attempt to gaff the "green" fish, John Young was pulled overboard and the fish broke off.
This weekend's regular-division fish-off should be a good one. Normal weather patterns hopefully will allow us to once again fish the beaches.
Keep an eye on all those spots where the fish showed up earlier this season because, if history repeats itself, they'll likely show up again as we enter the later stages of the run.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.
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