Review by David Blair
Anyone who's been in the shop at some point in the past 24 years knows we take our book selection fairly seriously. We have 100’s of titles from “how-to's,” to area guides, literature, fly fishing history, and more.
Monte Burke’s "Lords of the Fly" covers both the literary aspect (as it is very well written) and the history of one of the craziest times in saltwater fly fishing. The book is centered around the individuals and guides who set their sites on catching THE world record tarpon in various line class categories. It is primarily-based in Florida. Many of the individuals and PARTS of their stories have been told before in various books, magazine articles, videos, but "Lords of the Fly" goes into much more fascinating detail specifically about chasing these world records.
I grew up reading about and watching some of these exotic stories (particularly Bill Pate and his 3M VHS Videos.) When we started the shop in 1997, portions of these stories were being told and others were still happening. I love to read good fishing stories; always have! So when a new book came out I would get it and read it. Many of the individuals featured in "Lords of the Fly" were in those stories but only a portion of their stories were told.
Mr. Burke spent several years getting the full story and has written more fully about these guides, anglers, and bat shit crazy stuff that went on in Florida during the 1970’s, through the 80’s and beyond. The primary reason the more complete story is now being told is because several of the “players” have now passed away, or are old enough they no longer care, or the statute of limitations have run out!
If you enjoy a book with larger than life characters, hard core fishing challenges, drugs, murder, and the “simple act” of throwing a fly at a tarpon this book covers those basis. And the crazy thing is this is NOT a book of fiction! It is told through the eyes of people who were there.
I thoroughly enjoyed "Lords of the Fly" and I think you will as well.