Fishing has been around for a long time. During that time, there have been some absolute legends of the game. Here is my list of inshore anglers who in my opinion, you NEED to know.
Taken from the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust website, “Widely considered the greatest saltwater fly-fishing guide of all time, Huff began guiding in 1968 in the Florida Keys after graduating from the University of Miami with a degree in marine biology. As a pioneer of the tarpon fishery in the Everglades and in Homosassa, Florida, Huff guided angler Tom Evans to six tarpon world records on four different line classes. Together with Del Brown, Huff popularized permit fishing and developed techniques for catching permit on fly tackle. Huff guided anglers to well over 2,000 permit on fly, and set multiple world records with Brown. In the 1970s and 1980s, he guided anglers to 13 championships in the Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament, the Islamorada Invitational Bonefish Tournament, and the Islamorada Invitational Fly Bonefish Tournament.”
He invented a knot that bears his name, the “Huffnagle”. One of the many world record permit that he guided Del Brown to, a 41.8-pound permit on eight-pound test, will likely never be broken. Together will Del, they invented the Merkin Crab – a fly that revolutionized permit fishing. Del has now passed, but in his honor exists the Del Brown Permit Tournament which occurs every summer in the Florida Keys. Among inshore anglers, none surpass Huff. He now lives a quiet fishing life in Everglades City.
Harry Spear is a legendary Keys guide. Over a four-decade guiding career he has won more than 40 tournaments, including the Gold Cup five times (four in a row). His flame as a guide burned bright and fast, as he retired from guiding, left the Keys and moved to the Panhandle. He now builds flats skiffs, his company, Spear Boatworks builds what is perhaps the highest-performing skiffs on the planet. All of which he builds by hand.
If the woods were a person, it would look like Flip Pallot, he is the ultimate outdoorsman. Not just hunting and fishing, but bow hunting with archery gear that he made himself, and fishing with a push pole for his skiff that he widdled by hand – he does it all. He brought the outdoors into people’s homes through his TV show, “The Walkers Cay Chronicles” which compared to today’s shows, brings a completely different dynamic to outdoor television. Flip wasn’t hawking products or just narrating a show, he took you through the adventure with him, as if you were there next to him. His compadres were Chico Fernandez, Jose Wejebe and the legendary Lefty Kreh.
He came along during a time when the things we take for granted in fishing just didn’t exist. There were no good lines, good reels, or skiffs – he and Lefty innovated so many things. Flip co-founded Hell’s Bay Boatworks and even gave Jose Wejebe the money he needed to start his guiding business. Today, Flip and his wife live on the shores of the Saint John’s River in Mimms, Florida.
I had put off writing this blog for many reasons, but I felt that it was necessary to say something about these three at least. I felt that there were so many people that I could include whom I neither had space for nor the knowledge to portray accurately – Glenn Flutie, Billy Pate, Lefty Kreh, Chico Fernandez, Stu Apte, Tom Evans, Jose Wejebe, Lee and Joan Wulff, Bob Clouser, Mark Krowka – the list simply goes on and on. Additionally, what can I say about these three that haven’t been said 100 times by TV and print media already?
I recommend hearing these three legends talk themselves, as well as being able to hear interviews with many more incredible inshore anglers on the Mill House Podcast.
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Until next time, tight lines.