Don Balke: Fishing Flies - Apte Tarpon Fly
Artist: Don Balke
The shallow saltwater flats of the Florida Keys are teeming with Tarpon, but these elusive fish are no easy prey for the flyfisher. Often they appear as nothing more than a quick flash of silver fifty or a hundred feet away in crystal-clear water. The flyfisher must place a very long cast close to a cruising fish, taking care not to spook it with a splash as his fly enters the water. Even then, the wary Tarpon may refuse even a proven lure like the Apte Tarpon Fly. But if it does pick up this bright concoction of yellow and orange, the angler will be treated to the fight of his life -- an acrobatic display of strength that will test rod, reel and muscles to the limit. Flyfisherman Stu Apte developed his Tarpon Fly to meet the particular challenges of this prodigious saltwater quarry. With an extra-strong, non-corroding stainless steel hook, it is tied to offer as little wind resistance as possible. Its streamlined shape also helps it enter the water with little commotion. The hold combination of bright orange and yellow cock's hackle feathers help capture the attention of passing Tarpon, and "breathes" enticingly when drawn through the water. Apte's creation, and others like it, have expanded the entire definition of flyfishing. Once a technique used exclusively for trout and salmon fishing, flies such as the Apte Tarpon Fly now make it possible to flyfish for the most challenging saltwater species as well.
This painting was originally featured on the Fleetwood® First Day Cover of the U.S. 29¢ Apte Tarpon Fly issued May 31, 1991.
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