"I distinctly remember the first tarpon I hooked. After about a half-dozen leaps that would leave an audience at Sea World slack-jawed, I looked up at the end of my fly rod bent against the horizon and thought: 'Good God, I've got a dinosaur on a stick!' A tarpon is one of the greatest creatures in the sea. Lords of the Fly gets to the heart of why. You will love this book.”
– Michael Keaton
"This is a story of the obsessed, unhinged, and often brilliant dreamers who chase giant tarpon—a primeval fish with breathtaking glamour and ungodly strength. The thrill of hooking one on a fly rod is impossible to exaggerate, so you can believe every word of Monte Burke’s funny, wistful, wonderful book. He’s clearly as sick as the rest of us."
– Carl Hiaasen
"In Monte Burke’s Lords of the Fly we are treated to an exquisitely detailed portrait of tarpon, its mysterious habits, its place in history, in art, in Biblical lore. But it is the fish’s extraordinary fusion of power and speed and its prehistoric majesty and its ferocious fight that attracted a flamboyant cast of characters who shared the obsessive drive to land a world record tarpon or simply to have one of those high-flying monsters on the end of their fly line. In witty and muscular prose, Burke ties together these disparate elements as neatly and beguilingly as a well-crafted tarpon fly."
– James W. Hall, author of the Thorn series
"Monte Burke is a superb researcher with an ear for lyricism that does not degrade into poetic gobbledygook. The story he weaves makes Lords of the Fly the most compelling non-fiction book I’ve read in years."
– Randy Wayne White, former fishing guide and author of the Doc Ford series novels
"Finally, a book about tarpon and the obsessed anglers who pursue them that's as spirited and majestic as the fish themselves. Through extensive reporting and writing that shimmers like a Florida flat, Burke puts the reader in the boat, on the fly rod, and at the marina bar with the legends of the fishery. You’ll be hooked from the first sentence."
– David DiBenedetto, editor in chief, Garden & Gun and author of On the Run: An Angler’s Journey Down the Striper Coast
Burke constructs the rise and fall of this unique fishing tale with impressive narrative control and an obvious reverence for its vivid characters. Ably captures the swagger, attitudes, and angling derring-do of a golden age of fishing history.
– Kirkus Review Clippings
"Flashy, brawny, and electrifying, just like the tarpon itself. The angling stories are epic—imagine poling into a daisy chain of two thousand fish—but Burke keeps equal focus on the human element: the rivalries, foibles, and, in some cases, the Ahab-esque pathologies of the anglers themselves."
– Garden and Gun
Burke’s writing is vivid and lyrical, as when he describes how “the roots of the mangroves... gripped the river bottom like the fingers of witches.” Told with an angler’s eye for detail, even the glossaries of fishing terminology and fly-fishing techniques will engage readers (a fish is icicled when it “is totally spent from a fight and is motionless in the water, its tail suspended over its head”). Fly-fishing fans will be hooked.
– Publishers Weekly (starred)
A fascinating deep-dive look into the world of tarpon fishing and the town famous for it. Burke’s writing is vivid and lyrical. Told with an angler’s eye for detail, even the glossaries of fishing terminology and fly-fishing techniques will engage readers. Fly-fishing fans will be hooked.
– Publishers Weekly (starred)
Burke paints a vivid picture of the clear water and white sands that madeHomosassa such a nexus of world fishing record holders, drawing in the history of the place, thetarpon, the sport of fly-fishing, and the famous anglers who name their names over a century...This tarpon chroniclewill appeal to all anglers and everyone fascinated by marine life.
"What Susan Orlean accomplished for the strange, hermetic world of orchid hunting in her 1998 classic, The Orchid Thief, Monte Burke does for another strange, hermetic world in his wonderful Lords of the Fly. A lush, panoramic book."
– Richard Adams Carey, The Wall Street Journal