For the last two years I’ve questioned my passion for fly fishing. Lost and in love with my work all but drowned out fantasies of wish list fish and far-away exploration. Even standing on a beach in Gabon, in the peach morning light I was left wondering if it was still there. And then you climb a dead tree, and an enormous tannin stained Tarpon rolls impossibly close to you in the shore wash.  Cast, slow pull, its head appears out two rod lengths away and I stare into its eye as it devours the black fly that it somehow identified in the surface wash.  Double hand set, clear line, every sense in you is overloaded as the monster erupts out the surface. The rattling of its gills, the sound as it crashes into the water over and over again, the feeling of every foot of line as the reels drag resists, and the tension that tethers you to the fish you spent every Saturday morning of your childhood dreaming about. I look back to see if anyone else is seeing what I’m seeing, my eyes like saucers.  Flip Pallot, everglades, tarpon bunny, walkers cay, mullet, Herman Lucerne, mangrove roots, tannin, black eye, that long string from the dorsal -it all came flashing back like battlefield slides in a Hollywood movie. And then then fight turns, you get on the fly line, you win, it wraps, the fly pulls and the fish slides away. But it doesn’t. In the absence of victory is the presence of obsession. My high flame point that works against me and had me questioning my passion is now a raging fire that wont even let me dream in the absence of Tarpon. And in that moment I get it. There are now no other fish.

photos by Travys Owen