Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thursday Review: Tom Greene's A Net Full of Tails

Thursday Review: Tom Greene's A Net Full of Tails

The Daytona show is always great fun, in part because Larry Lucas and his merry band of volunteers have show running down to an art form. You can tout any number of things from a laundry list of reasons why this show is a "can't miss" event--up there with the NFLCC and ORCA Nationals. But at the top of my list is that it is always full of surprises.

One of the interesting things to happen this past Daytona show was running into tackle collecting legend Tom Greene. Tom is, of course, famous for his legendary saltwater big game tackle collection, but he's also extremely well-known in Florida fishing circles as an expert angler. Having literally grown up fishing, and counting as his regular partners names like Mark Sosin, he now runs Custom Rod & Reel Tackle Outfitters out of Lighthouse Point, Florida.

Few people know the world of fishing better than Tom, which is why I was so delighted to discover at the Daytona Show that he'd finally put pen to paper and written a fishing memoir. A Net Full of Tails: "Reel" Stories that Capture the Essence of Fishing, co-written with Steve Kantner (2012), is a fascinating series of fishing vignettes that help capture one man's passion for angling.

Greene has truly led a fishing life, and it shows in the stories he relates. From reluctant "$1000 a day" snook fishing guiding to a run in with a truly epic hammerhead shark to a surreal bass fishing tournament with a tragic ending to field finds with incredible stories behind them, Tom recounts his past in an easy-to-read and relatable style.

Perhaps my favorite chapter relates how Tom and several of his friends took it upon themselves to re-open Boca Inlet, which had sealed up naturally as a result of sand and silt. As he and a handful of volunteers began digging by hand, they were joined by a few townsfolk who'd been adversely affected by the closure (and resulting stagnation of Boca Lake). Soon 500 or more volunteers were digging the trench with buckets, shovels, and pitchforks. "By 6:00 p.m., we had completed a trench that was 50 feet wide and several feet deep," he writes. "It ran all the way from the surf to the bend…" With water flow restored, the current did the rest and restored the fresh flow of water to Boca Lake. The rest, as they say, is history.

While there are enough "big fish" stories to keep even the most ardent armchair angler happy, A Net Full of Tails is more than just a fishing book. It's equal parts Florida history, a coming-of-age story, and fishing chronicle. Mostly, however, it's a fun read, and a perfect example of the kind of book the fishing public used to devour in abundance back in the 1950s through the 1970s, until publishers decided the only thing we wanted was another "how-to" book.

Call it a throwback, retro, or whatever label you want to put on it. I call Tom Greene's A Net Full of Tails a delightful way to spend an evening.

The book is available in both hardcover ($29.95) and softcover ($19.95), and to learn more about it go to Tom's Web Site by Clicking Here. To go directly to the order page, Click Here.

You won't regret adding this book to your library.

-- Dr. Todd

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