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Siesta Key Thursday, Jul. 21, 2011 6 years ago

Teenager hooks winning tarpon

by: Loren Mayo Black Tie Editor

It was Trevor Cowieson’s turn to tussle with muscle.

The 17-year-old and his partner, Alex Kompothrecras, had been fishing for five weeks in the Sarasota Sportfishing Angler’s Club 81st annual Tarpon Tournament.

With two years of experience under his belt, Cowieson knew that catching a tarpon takes more than just casting a line in the water — it requires plenty of patience, a strong arm and a couple friends to provide some entertainment.

On the final day of the tournament, the Fish Off, held Saturday, July 9, Cowieson could feel the adrenaline pumping. He fought his first tarpon for nearly an hour, but it managed to get away. After 30 minutes, he hooked a second and struggled for two hours bring it in.

“It was hard; they jump a lot and the fish is pretty much all muscle,” Cowieson said. “They just fight until they’re pretty much out of breath. You have a hard sponge you rub on the lip, then we revive the fish and let it go.”

When the guys brought the fish onto the boat, they took its measurements and a DNA sample. The girth of the fish was 34.5 inches and it weighed between 125 and 130 pounds. They released the tarpon at 11:58 a.m., at Point of Rocks.

The tournament’s prizes for catching the biggest tarpon are $1,000, a painting and two tarpon rods and reels. Cowieson is the youngest person to capture top honors in the event.

“When you hook a fish that weighs as much as you and you get to reel it in, it’s not an easy fight, and it’s challenging, he said. “Coming into it, I didn’t even think we were going to catch a fish. I guess we just got lucky.”

Contact Loren Mayo at [email protected].

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