Fly-fishing for tarpon is a pretty young sport maybe not quite old enough to talk about classics. That said a discussion of classic tarpon flies would have to start with patterns like the Apte II, Cockroach Needlefish and the Black Death. It may seem odd to include in that discussion two flies unknown outside of the middle and lower Keys and the slightly better known Coker Smoker. But among anglers who have been around Key West tarpon for ten or fifteen years these patterns have a bit of a cult following.
It’s entertaining to think of flies like the Diggler, Run-Around-Sue and Coker Smoker as what happened to Bob Lemay’s Big Eyed Tarpon flies as they traveled westward from Miami. They all have relatively short tails, lots of marabou and a careful blend of colors. The profiles of these Key West flies is slimmer than original Bob Lemay flies and are constructed with paler, more subtle colors. Compared to the earliest classics these three beauties are infinitely more effective on the tricky Lower Keys tarpon.
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