Posted on May 31 2008
Those who have been lucky enough to see a bootleg copy of the movie “Tarpon,” filmed in Key West in 1974, have seen a glimpse of what fly fishing for tarpon was like in the early days. The film never made it to market in the U.S. and the original footage sat in a barn in the French countryside for 35 years. Recently, Guy de la Valdene and UYA Films went back to the original footage and produced a re-mastered DVD of the original. Starting today, you can purchase “Tarpon” (UYA Films, 53 minutes, $34.95 plus shipping) from The Book Mailer in Helena, Montana: order online, call 1-800-874-4171, or email orders@thebookmailer.
Besides including some of the only footage of Richard Brautigan, the cult 60s poet and novelist, “Tarpon” also features commentary by legendary guides Woody Sexton, Steve Huff, and Gil Drake, as well as Page Brown, an ardent Keys conservationist. Thomas McGuane and Jim Harrison are also featured in the film, and Jimmy Buffet composed the music. Many consider this film to be the first of the modern fishing films.
Tom Brokaw recently said of the film: “‘Tarpon’ is a timeless and beautifully executed film about life, sport and culture. You’ll be moved, amused, outraged and, most of all, entertained.” The film’s message about the importance of releasing fish was far ahead of its time and prescient in highlighting the increasing pressure on fish by sportsmen, tourists and boaters.
We’re very glad the producers thought the film worthy of the effort and expense it took to color-correct, clean and digitize the film, and we hope you’ll support their decision to distribute the DVD. “Tarpon” is a slice of time and a piece of art, but it’s also a message that concerned anglers can make a difference in protecting our resources. After more than three decades tarpon fishing continues to be a fantastic experience for fly fishing experts and novices, in part because the artists and anglers of the day recognized the growing threats to the fish and their habitat.