|Lichtenberger pats his tarpon before the release. Photo: Courtesy of Jackie Otto|
For Erich Lichtenberger, the trick to tarpon fishing is taking some time off. About four years after his last tarpon catch, the Florida angler hooked into a 6 1/2-foot giant near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay. Fishing a threadfin herring on a circle hook with 40-pound line and spinning tackle, Lichtenberger didn't hold anything back. "I had as much pressure as my fat butt could put into that fish," he said. Five jumps and more than two hours later, Lichtenberger brought the fish to boatside for some photos and then released it. With a 47-inch girth, he estimated the fish to weigh 236 pounds. Lichtenberger hopefully won't wait another four years before his next tarpon, but he knows that the bar is high. "How am I ever going to top that fish?"