The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 11 No. 9 - December 1, 2010

reel time

A passion for tarpon

From the December 1, 2010 Issue
Reel time

Mill shares a wealth of information about tarpon
and tarpon fishing in his new book.

When I first heard from Andy Mill that he was writing a book on tarpon, I had no idea that his vision would unfold in the form of an encyclopedic tome of such great depth and breath. Later as a signed copy arrived, I was amazed at the weight and feel of the book before I ever removed it from its careful packing. What I found truly inspired me. I knew first hand of his aplomb and passion for the silver king. What impressed me was how completely it told the story of tarpon, the legends, the tackle, the flies, the life history of the great creature and the wealth of information that Mill would share, gleaned from a 15-year love affair with a fish.

I met Mill when I was covering the Presidential Bonefish Tournament in Islamorada, Fla. Through a stroke of luck, the ublic relations manager at the Cheeka Lodge, Julie Perrin, arranged for me to ride with Mill and his guide Captain Bob Braham. In those two days I struck up a friendship with the author and angler, sharing my passion for tarpon, one I knew was mutual. Before I left that weekend I had garnered an invitation to accompany Mill on one of his tarpon trips in the Lower Keys.

That trip, my first tarpon experience with Mill and guide Tim Hoover, would prove to be a pivotal day for me as a photographer, writer and tarpon junkie. In what turned out to be one of those special, few and far between experiences, even for Mill, I photographed, asked questions, and took notes as Mill and Hoover stalked tarpon from Sugarloaf Key to Key West. By the day's end, 12 fish had been put in the air and eight boated. I was awed by the dedication of the guide and angler, the fierce determination, the pinpoint cast and uncanny ability to feed these notoriously finicky fish. I went away with images that would appear in numerous publications and a head bursting with newfound techniques I was anxious to try on my fishing grounds from Bean Point to Pine Island Sound.

As I thumbed through Mill's new book, I realized that he had held nothing back, sharing not only the combined knowledge of his many days on the water, but also interviews with legends of fly fishing including luminaries (just to name a few) like Lefty Kreh, Steve Huff, Stu Apt and Tom Evans. Interspersed with interviews are chapters including A Century of Chasing Tarpon, The Evolution of Tarpon Flies, Reading the Fish, Casting and Presenting Flies, and Fighting the Beast. Each chapter is a compendium, replete with information that would take any individual angler decades to acquire.

While the book is arguably the most complete work ever written on tarpon, it is as visually pleasing as it is informed. Photographer Pat Ford worked with Mill for years compiling images to illustrate the book and give readers a visual representation of the thrill and awesome power of this special fish. What he accomplished surpassed what could be expected of a photographer, adding imagery to the words of the master angler and creating a collection of visuals that could stand alone as a book on any self respecting angler's coffee table.

Any angler who is looking for the perfect Christmas gift for the hard to shop for fly fishing aficionado, need look no farther. It's that rare book that combines the wisdom of a generation of the world's best fly and tarpon anglers, with individualized instruction that Lefty Kreh characterized as, "the most technical and up-to-date about how to catch giant tarpon with a fly rod. It's a master class with no short cuts.

To purchase "A Passion For Tarpon,” contact "Wild River Press, 425-486-3638, P.O. Box 13360 Mill Creek, Wash. 98082, or visit the website at

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