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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was just wondering what everyone thought about Monte Burke's accusation in "Lords of the Fly" that Lefty was responsible for the overfishing and collapse of the tarpon fishery there? While he points out that Lefty, as what amounts to a fishing correspondent, was just doing his job, it still makes for conflicted feelings about Lefty's legacy.

Additionally Norman Duncan on the Millhouse Podcast also called Lefty's character into question when he said Lefty appropriated the Deceiver from him (Norman) and that loop knot had always been around and Lefty just decided to capitalize on it.

Interested to hear what others thought of these two comments.
 

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They are worth exactly what you paid for them.

I was introduced to Lefty in the winter of 1972 by John Emory (Kreh was the outdoor writer for the Miami Herald at that time, Emory was working at J. Lee Cuddy back then where I was just a beginning rod crafting customer). I always found him to be a gentleman in every sense of the word. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard complaints that one or other great fishery was ruined when the public learned about it… This, even when the person complaining was the one responsible for letting folks know about it…

Here’s what I tell anyone who’s found outstanding fishing (particularly tarpon)… If you want it to continue… don’t tell a soul because when folks hear about it you’re going to lose that spot sooner rather than later…

In short fishing guides like me have a dilemma,keep silent and save the place or situation or speak up and gain customers when you’re trying to earn a living…Tough decision when you’re trying to make your way in a competitive world. Each choice has its downside.

By the way - can’t remember the times when someone else made the same claim about me that Duncan is making…
 

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I was just wondering what everyone thought about Monte Burke's accusation in "Lords of the Fly" that Lefty was responsible for the overfishing and collapse of the tarpon fishery there? While he points out that Lefty, as what amounts to a fishing correspondent, was just doing his job, it still makes for conflicted feelings about Lefty's legacy.

Additionally Norman Duncan on the Millhouse Podcast also called Lefty's character into question when he said Lefty appropriated the Deceiver from him (Norman) and that loop knot had always been around and Lefty just decided to capitalize on it.

Interested to hear what others thought of these two comments.
It’s always easier to throw stones after someone has passed and not around to defend or respond to the accusations! I would bet that Monte is probably an unknown to anyone in the recreational fishing industry! I’d be willing to bet that Lefty brought more to the fly fishing table than both Monte and Norman could ever dream! Can you say “professional jealousy”?
 

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Maybe the deterioration of the fishery can, at least in part, be laid on Lefty's doorstep and maybe not. I've seen the same thing happen in my home waters without any help from the media of any kind. Hell, when I was a kid, you could fill a garbage can in an afternoon with snappers (juvenile bluefish), weakfish or stripers and many people did. I haven't weakfish in any numbers in over a decade and we now have a bag limit on bluefish, which is unheard of here, and there ain't no one singing the praises of the Jersey Shore as a fishing Mecca.

I too had the pleasure of meeting Lefty years ago and share the same opinion of him as Capt. LeMay. When I met him, he was already one of the best known names in the industry so he could have been less than humble if he chose. I found him a more than competent caster who really could teach.

Here's another way of looking at it:

If it weren't for people like Lefty Kreh (and Chico Fernandez and Flip Pallot and Jose Wajebe and Bob Popovics and Kenny Abrahms and Ed Jaworowski and Lou Tabory and the various guides and the fly fishing show promoters, etc.) we would still be flinging nothing but chicken feathers with fiberglass noodles using trout string.

Like it or not, this obsession/hobby is fueled by cash. Unless there is a potential profit, no company is going to innovate or last for long. Either that, or we would all be hemorrhaging dollars to a select few companies that have us by hairs too short for dubbing.

The complaints mentioned the OP sound more like sour grapes than real substance to me. Environment in the form of water temps, pollution and red tide and commercial fishing pressure has a lot more to do with it, IMHO.

People always want to blame things on a reason and if they can get some notoriety in the process, so much the better. Claiming someone stole something from you or was not a good guy is always a strategy for that, especially when the target can no longer respond.

BTW, I am unfamiliar with either work but do they have sponsors or advertisers? Is money changing hands? If so, they are also interested in getting readers/listeners so they can make a quick buck. Whiffs slightly of hypocrisy if you ask me.
 

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Maybe the deterioration of the fishery can, at least in part, be laid on Lefty's doorstep and maybe not. I've seen the same thing happen in my home waters without any help from the media of any kind. Hell, when I was a kid, you could fill a garbage can in an afternoon with snappers (juvenile bluefish), weakfish or stripers and many people did. I haven't weakfish in any numbers in over a decade and we now have a bag limit on bluefish, which is unheard of here, and there ain't no one singing the praises of the Jersey Shore as a fishing Mecca.

I too had the pleasure of meeting Lefty years ago and share the same opinion of him as Capt. LeMay. When I met him, he was already one of the best known names in the industry so he could have been less than humble if he chose. I found him a more than competent caster who really could teach.

Here's another way of looking at it:

If it weren't for people like Lefty Kreh (and Chico Fernandez and Flip Pallot and Jose Wajebe and Bob Popovics and Kenny Abrahms and Ed Jaworowski and Lou Tabory and the various guides and the fly fishing show promoters, etc.) we would still be flinging nothing but chicken feathers with fiberglass noodles using trout string.

Like it or not, this obsession/hobby is fueled by cash. Unless there is a potential profit, no company is going to innovate or last for long. Either that, or we would all be hemorrhaging dollars to a select few companies that have us by hairs too short for dubbing.

The complaints mentioned the OP sound more like sour grapes than real substance to me. Environment in the form of water temps, pollution and red tide and commercial fishing pressure has a lot more to do with it, IMHO.

People always want to blame things on a reason and if they can get some notoriety in the process, so much the better. Claiming someone stole something from you or was not a good guy is always a strategy for that, especially when the target can no longer respond.

BTW, I am unfamiliar with either work but do they have sponsors or advertisers? Is money changing hands? If so, they are also interested in getting readers/listeners so they can make a quick buck. Whiffs slightly of hypocrisy if you ask me.
Part of the downfall lies in part to your response when you mentioned the “garbage pails “ full of fish! We all did the same thing 50 years ago and now we’re seeing the results of our youthful lack of foresight!
 

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We all did the same thing 50 years ago and now we’re seeing the results of our youthful lack of foresight!

@The Fin ,

Too right and you got the number of years correct too! We are (were) part of the problem even though most won't admit it. Not the whole story but we have a piece of it.

Like I tell folks who think their vote doesn't matter:

No raindrop in the flood thinks it is responsible either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I agree the timing of both are rather unseemly. Burke is an outsider but Duncan ran in the same circle as Pallot so that should mean something. I also want to clarify that I don’t think Burke was implying Lefty was solely responsible for Homosassa just that he was one of numerous factors.

Lefty’s book was the first I read on fishing so I was taken back by these comments. But I have to say he also was famous and that nearly always does not happen by accident. I was just interested what others thought of the comments.

Duncan came off as bitter in the interview and Burke was an outsider looking in. So like lemaymiami said their opinions are probably not worth much. But to publish such a bold claim against a dead guy you would think someone with his background would have vetted his story carefully.
 

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Lefty came into my knowledge in the 80s. He was already pretty much a legend. I found him to be a gentleman just as Bob and others did. He was also a great raconteur, writer and teacher. Certainly a huge part of the current saltwater fishing scene is here and what it is because of him (and others) who promoted a great sport.

Before Lefty there were people like Joe Brooks, (Joe Brooks Documentary). Magazines like Outdoor Life, Field and Stream, and Sports Afield. What about those magazines effects on the fisheries? All those guys coming back from WW2 took to the outdoors in a big way and to a large degree because of the sporting media’s promotion of the sport and thereby the industry that flourished because of all that interest. Its their fault too.

I’m not too surprised though to see the impetus to reevaluate the recent history of the sport. It fits right in with what is happening in society at large - an attack on the icons and institutions. Tear down those Abraham Lincoln statues because the trigger some to place blame and shame on anything that barely reminds them of the march of humanity that does not mesh with their current myopic worldview.

There are now around 180 million more people in the U. S. than in 1950. I’m pretty sure that has plenty to do with our current outdoor sports over use situation. But in the 80s I and many others were saying “boy you shoulda fished here 10 years ago before all these yayhoos showed up and ruined it”.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
In the book Burke brought Billy Pate up for more impact on Homassasa. Billy put it on American Spotsman TV show
I agree he went after Pate harder but I had also heard Pate had more of brasher demeanor so I was less shocked by Burke’s criticism of Pate.
 

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I agree he went after Pate harder but I had also heard Pate had more of brasher demeanor so I was less shocked by Burke’s criticism of Pate.
Yes Burke mentioned how Pate did everything he could to discredit the guy who caught the 200lb. Tarpon on fly. After the IGFA certified it he shut up
 

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Lefty was in D-Day, stormed that beach. He was part of our greatest generation. Burkes accusation is meaningless, Lefty was nothing but character and integrity. I know where I stand.
 

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I met Lefty twice. He didn’t know me from a bag of grits. He talked to me and my nephew for a long time and never gave any indication he was bothered doing it. One of the kindest people I’ve ever met. He did the same thing the second time when my daughter was with me. Lefty, Jose Wejebe, and Flip Pallot are why I fish like I do. Calling his character into question with our current crop of politicians and celebrities is laughable.
 

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I don't know why y'all are slamming Burke - he simply stated the article and then how the locals responded to it. There have been too many articles written before and after about areas to fish, so you can't knock just one guy who did it, nor an author reporting how it was viewed.

Lefty didn't ruin Homosassa - the records alone were going to bring the crowds. It was the water management and development that changed the water quality that pushed the fish out, not Lefty's article.
 

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I fished with a gentleman and former professional ball player Dale Perez a number of times. Dale used to guide Lefty and others. He fished Homosassa in the very very very beginning. Lefty ruined it? Rediculous. No one No one did more for fly fishing than Lefty Kreh. And that includes conservation. Yes he promoted the sport and why most of us are fly fishing today. He was also a maverick. Forget 10 and 2. And if you don't want to throw out your shoulder use your whole body. He was of course a righty. Ego? Never saw it. Human yup he was. A great one!!!
 

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Both of the comments by Loogie and yourself are exactly where I stand! Screw Pate! Fantastic caster and fisherman, but mostly a tool outside of that. So I hear...

GOD BLESS LEFTY!
 

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Passing judgements on people of the past on today's standards is a fools errand. Lefty didn't do anything that any other outdoors writer for a metropolitan paper wouldn't have done. Second, most people thought the resource was inexhaustible. Hell the guides from the Keys we're driving up to Homosassa to fish, the word was out.

The same thing happened with "Location X" and spots here in Tampa Bay. Hell not much more than 20 years ago you could go to Anna Maria and have maybe 1 or 2 boats around in early May. I specifically recall fishing on mother's day in 2000 and we were the only skiff on the water. There's other spots that you pole the flat idle out and swing back around and pole again. Now everyone just drops an anchor...
 

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Well. I know who Lefty is.
Someone wrote something about him?
Nuf said?
 
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