I got to Orlando for ICAST a few days early this year and was able to go and play in my own kind of Disney World: You know it’s going to be a great day out of Cocoa Beach when you’re greeted by flat seas and an Atlantic sunrise. 

I was again with Alex Gorichky of Local Lines Charters. I fished a half day with Alex before ICAST last year and landed my first kayak tarpon. However, the fish went crazy on the handoff for pics and got away with no photographic proof.

So I was determined that wasn’t going to happen this year. Alex threw the cast net off his Hobie Outback and got a load of pogies to get us started — bait was thick all over.

A little slow trolling was all it took. Spanish mackerel, bonito and tarpon were easily seen in all directions, and it was fish-on about 7 a.m. 

It was really nothing pretty with only a jump here and there, but mostly just a tug of war dog fight with typical gulps for air to recharge and make another run. 

An hour and a half later, Alex laid across the bow of my ‘yak and made the grab — and this time the handoff went smooth and we got a few good shots. 

Incredibly, the hook literally fell out by itself. We saw a bunch more tarpon while battling this one, but by the time we were finished, they had mostly disappeared. 

Honestly, I didn’t know if I really wanted to catch another one, anyway — until the next day.