A new film by Rapala® explores the passion behind tarpon fishing in Southwest Florida.
Have you ever wondered how fishing for certain types of gamefish transformed into legendary pursuits?
While there are a number of claims as to who was the first person to catch a tarpon on rod and reel, numerous accounts lean toward William “Halsey” Wood, a New York City architect who caught a 93-pound tarpon in Tarpon Bay off of Sanibel Island on March 19, 1885. The Fort Myers Press printed that Wood caught three tarpon, the largest of which was 250 pounds, with a five-foot bamboo rod.
The story, as noted in the new Rapala film, A King is Born: A Rapala Story, ignited the imaginations of Americans and literally, created an industry – game fishing in Southwest Florida. Guides, fishing lodges, transportation (rail, auto and airlines), fishing tackle shops, boats, rods and reels, and of course, fishing lures – all designed and created to allow the millions of anglers who would follow in Halsey’s footsteps, can be attributed to that particular moment.
Today, Brandon Cyr, a fourth-generation Key West fishing guide, carries on the tradition of guiding anglers passionate about tangling with the Silver Kings of Florida. On a beautiful spring evening, as the water of the Gulf Coast calms down, dozens of tarpon can be seen surfacing as they stage in preparation for the next phase in their migration up the West Coast of Florida. Cyr throws a Rapala® X-Rap® Long Cast and promptly hooks up with a 70+ pound tarpon.
As a guide, Cyr is on the water nearly every day helping clients from around the world live their dream of wrangling with the silver king. But as you’ll see in A King is Born, no matter how many tarpon you’ve seen or caught, each and every encounter brings with it a shot of adrenaline and fun.
And it is to William Halsey Wood for which we will be eternally grateful for having the imagination and the grit to pursue his passion.