From the bestselling author of Saban, 4th and Goal, and Sowbelly comes the thrilling, untold story of the quest for the world record tarpon on a fly rod, a tale that reveals as much about Man as it does about the fish.
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 all gathered together to chase the same Holy Grail--the world record for the most glamorous and coveted fly rod species, the tarpon.
The anglers spent all day on the water competing and would gather each night to socialize and party--some harder than others. And 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 vices that swept in with the tide made it all veer out of control. It was a collision of circumstances that was unprecedented in the world of fishing and one that will never be seen again.
In Lords of the Fly, Monte Burke, an obsessed tarpon fly angler himself, delves into this seminal moment and the growing popularity of the amazing tarpon, a fifty-million-year-old species that can live to eighty years old and can grow to three hundred pounds. This 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 together the lives of the biggest names in angling--Ted Williams, Stu Apte, Lefty Kreh, Flip Pallot, Thomas McGuane, Billy Pate, Tom Evans, and Steve Huff--as well as present-day stars like Andy Mill, David Mangum and Nathaniel Linville.
Alongside the story of the world-record pursuit, 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 contemporary tarpon fishing.
Filled with larger-than-life characters and vivid prose, Lords of the Fly is not only a must read for anglers of all stripes, but also for those interested in the desperate yearning of the human condition.