Lords of the Fly: The Hunt for the World Record Tarpon
Monte Burke's Lord of the Fly captures the golden era of Tarpon angling in Florida. He beautifully describes the larger than life characters and fish! A must read for not only Tarpon fly angler but any fly angler.
Available in hardcover for $26.95. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, something unique happened in the quiet little town on the west coast of Florida known as Homosassa. The best fly anglers in the world--Lefty Kreh, Stu Apte, Ted Williams, Tom Evans, Billy Pate and others--all gathered together to chase the same Holy Grail: The world record for the world's most glamorous and sought-after fly rod species, the tarpon.
The anglers met in the mornings for breakfast. They were all on the water during the day, in competition. They ate dinner together at night, and socialized and partied, some harder than others. The world record fell nearly every year. But records weren't the only things that were broken. Hooks, lines, rods, reels, hearts and marriages didn't survive, either. The egos involved made the atmosphere electric. The difficulty of the quest made it legitimate. And the drugs and the women that were swept in with the tide made it all veer out of control. It was something--a period of time, a gathering--that had never happened before in the world of fishing and will never happen again, a collision of the top anglers and the top species of fish which led, eventually, to smashed lives for nearly all--man and fish--involved.
In Lords of the Fly, Monte Burke, an obsessed tarpon fly angler himself, delves into what led to that point in time--namely, the growing popularity of the amazing tarpon, which has been around for 50 million years, can live to 80 years old and can grow to 300 pounds in weight. The massive, leaping, bullet train of a fish, when hooked in shallow water, produces "immediate unreality," as the late poet and tarpon obsessive, Richard Brautigan, once described it.
Lords of the Fly ties in the stories of many of the biggest names in angling, from Ted Williams, to Stu Apte, to Flip Pallot, to Thomas McGuane, to Billy Pate, to Tom Evans, to Steve Huff...on up to the present-day, with Andy Mill, David Mangum and Nathaniel Linville.
Burke also chronicles the heartbreaking destruction of the fishery--brought on by greed, environmental degradation and the shenanigans of a notorious Miami gangster--and how all of it has shaped our contemporary fishery.