Zane Grey (Bonefish Pioneer at Duck Key~Florida Keys)


Zane Grey was a pioneer when it came to fishing the flats of the nearby islands such as Duck Key for permit and bonefish. In his book Tales of Fishes, Grey describes his obsession with bonefishing,

If I spent another month bonefishing, I would become obsessed and lose my enthusiasm for other kinds of fish.Why? My reasons range from the exceedingly graceful graceful beauty of the bonefish to the fact that he is the wisest, shyest, wariest, strangest fish I have ever studied; and I am not excepting the great Xiphias gladius – the broadbill swordfish. As for the speed of the bonefish, I claim no salmon, no barracuda, no other fish celebrated for swiftness of motion, is in his class. As for the strength of the bonefish, I actually hesitate to give my impressions. As for his cunning, it is utterly baffling. As for his biting, it is almost imperceptible. As for his tactics, they are beyond conjecture.

In the story Bonefish Brigade, Zane Grey describes bonefishing as

. . . the fullest, the most difficult, the strangest and most thrilling, the lonesomest and most all-satisfying of all kinds of angling. … bonefishing has all the finesse, the delicacy, the skill, the incomprehensible vagaries, the test of endurance that salmon fishing has. And more! For in bonefishing there is more of a return to the boyish emotions than in salmon fishing. For the complete version go to Zane Grey’s “Bonefish Brigade.”

I recall watching Dick Powell (actor for the young ones) on the Zane Grey Theater. From that show evolved spinoffs of The Rifleman, The Texas Ranger, Wanted Dead or Alive and several more TV Westerns. The name Zane Grey seemed unique and for a young boy in the 1950’s that was a far as it went until the late 1970’s when the name popped up again when I was studying fly fishing for steelhead on Oregon’s Rogue and Umpqua rivers. There was that name again. And. I soon realized Zane Grey was one of those escapists like Hemingway. A pioneer he was in deed.

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