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Strike Zone
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That Last Cast
by Nick Honachefsky
The winding, 4 1/2-mile wild-goose chase the tarpon took through bridges, channels, and docks.

This past week I attended an outdoor writer’s gathering in Jensen Beach, Florida, organized by D.O.A. Lures and hosted by River Palms Fish Camp. The mornings and afternoons were filled with sightcasting opportunities for snook, seatrout, and redfish, and by all accounts, the fishing was pretty darn good. After fishing, the writers would either nap, retire to the bar, or grab some dinner, then hit the sheets for an early-morning rise.

But for me, a day’s fishing wasn’t enough -- I had to continue and fish through the night. Already tired and worn out from spending time on the flats in searing sunshine all day, Fred Ciamotto of the local tackle shop Snook Nook and I hatched a plan to hit the docks for some night time snook and trout fishing. The snook were snobby and didn’t cooperate, and we did pull on a couple of trout, but nothing of monumental size. At 11:30 p.m. we decided to call it quits, as we were both pretty exhausted and besides, I had to depart at 5:00 a.m. for a three-hour drive to get back to work.

But on the way back to the boat ramp, we saw trout jumping in the spotlights of the causeway bridge and couldn’t help ourselves. One more cast was decided, and with a flick of the wrist from an ultralight 1000 class reel spooled with 20-pound test latched to a light action rod, I flipped a DOA shrimp into the shadow-line.

All I can tell you from there is that after 2 1/2 hours of brutal battle, 4 1/2 miles of running, gunning and chasing through bridge pilings, docks and channels, three Miller Lites, one busted-up 1000 reel, and some insanely good luck, a 125-pound tarpon was finally released at boatside. 

Point is, when you decide to make that last cast, its not an investment to be taken lightly. You must be prepared to follow it to the end, wherever it may take you. Just be sure you land the fish before work starts.