Tarpon Fishing in Florida

Isaac McLellan

The tarpon is the crowned king,
The royal chief of tropic seas.
No rover of the watery worlds
May rival its sublimities;
Supreme in mighty strength it roves
In Mexic Gulf. Floridian coast.
Swifter than shaft from Indian bow,
A matchless, a resistless host!

Symmetric in his rounded form,
With fins of ample size and sweep,
Stern is its fight for liberty,
O'er the great billows of the deep,
For on its armor'd back is set
A sharpen'd, dangerous bayonet!

Who may describe those plated scales
Of burnished steel, of silver hue ?
Smooth as a shaft of iron,
Clear as a crystal drop of dew,
They glisten like the moon's white beam
When high the victim leaps in air,
Rising like a sunset gleam,
Struggling and raging in despair—
Six feet of valor mad with strife,
Two hundred weight of desperate life!

The bait is cast—the mullet bait:
It sinks, it slowly sinks from sight,
But sudden—swift it onward moves;
Now angler strike, and strike with might!
Now, now begins strategetic war,
Free liberty, dark death the stake!