Tarpon Dreams

A. J. McClane, the legendary Field & Stream fishing columnist, first fired my interest in tarpon nearly four decades ago. I doubt that I was the only one who read his stories and dreamed big dreams.

As far as I was concerned Mr. McClane had the first and last word on any fishing subject and when he wrote about tarpon I was transported to a place nearly beyond what I could imagine and seemingly light years beyond my reach; miles of turquoise water and silver fish long as a man’s leg. I may have been a kid with a cane pole wading a muddy Missouri creek and dunking worms for sunfish but McClane made me dream of tarpon.

I’m leaving for the Gulf tomorrow and – barring foul weather or some other unforseen calamity – will fish for tarpon Tuesday and Wednesday; Tuesday with Capt. Tyson Wallerstein and Wednesday with Capt. Paul Hawkins. Both men work out of the Clearwater/St. Petersburg, Fla., area.

I was enthralled by McClane’s tales of these silver fish, and still am. With a little luck maybe I’ll have my own tale to tell.