Saltwater angling along the southeastern seaboard has been one of its biggest attractions for more than 100 years. Now a special exhibition titled The Lure of Florida Fishing, opening next month will tell the tale of Florida’s storied sportfishing history.
The state’s Museum of Florida History in Tallahassee is the venue, and organizers have assembled a treasure trove of artifacts and memorabilia. Organizations and individuals from around the country have loaned many unique items for display, including historic imagery, fish mounts, early tackle and accessories.
Among the highlights are two of the most storied trophies in sport: the Mrs. Henry Rea Silver Sailfish Derby trophy from the West Palm Beach Fishing Club, and the Metropolitan Miami Fishing Tournament’s (MET’s) H.H. Hyman Memorial Trophy. Each was the highly sought top prize of their respective long-running competitions.
Also on display will be two original gamefish paintings by the legendary Stanley Meltzoff (1917-2006), widely acclaimed as the finest angling artist of all time. The two canvasses –one of a hooked bonefish and the other of a school of jacks – are familiar scenes sure to flutter the hearts of every Florida sportsman. Meltzoff’s work is avidly collected around the world and hangs in the National Gallery, among many other places.
“This exhibit allows visitors to experience and learn about the fascinating history and lineage of sportfishing in the Sunshine State,” said Secretary of State Ken Detzner. “We hope visitors and Floridians alike will get hooked on Florida fishing as so many have before them.”
The Lure of Florida Fishing opens with a reception on March 13 and runs until August 26. For more information or a list of summer-long educational programs relating to the exhibit, visit www.museumoffloridahistory.com or call 858-245-6400.
Image courtesy Johnson Outdoors