Saltwater newbie: Fishing enthusiast and retired St. Petersburg College math professor Karl Fryer was excited about taking his vacationing 12-year-old nephew, Jeremy Bennett, fishing. Before our trip, the biggest fish Bennett ever caught was a 5-inch freshwater trout, and Fryer really wanted to the boy to catch something bigger.
Setting up: We stopped on a grass flat to fill the live well with whitebait (scaled sardines) and small pinfish before heading to a spot off Blind Pass. This small patch of bottom is only 2 miles out and holds a variety of fish perfect for Bennett. We were armed with light spinning tackle and some heavy spinning gear. It's not uncommon to catch cobia, sharks and grouper along with the grunts, speckled trout and flounder at this spot, so we needed to be prepared.
The payoff: After deploying a chum block, it wasn't long before Bennett was pulling his first keeper flounder into the boat, then another, and another. Then it was trout, then red grouper, another grouper, and another flounder. He even boated two cobia and several more trout. When it was over, the professor had caught two flounder while Bennett filled the cooler.
Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 510-4376.