Robert grew up wade fishing the grass and sand flats of the Coastal Bend and Laguna Madre regions of the Texas coast. Today, his favorite wade fishing targets are the “big trout” of Baffin Bay, a well-known area of the Upper Laguna Madre. Robert did not pick-up a fly rod until well into his 40’s. However, after several fly fishing trips with friends to Mexico, the Bahamas and the Florida Keys, he was hooked. Over time, his fly fishing passion has become primarily directed at ocean-side tarpon. In 2014, he participated in his first tarpon tournament – the Don Hawley Invitational Tarpon Fly Tournament. He has remained a tournament angler since then – and greatly values his time in the Keys.
Evan grew up fishing the 10,000 lakes of Minnesota which developed into a lifelong love for fishing and the outdoors. After spending his early years freshwater fishing and hunting for waterfowl and upland game, Evan was introduced to saltwater fly fishing in the early 2000’s. His experience in the salt quickly turned into a lifelong hobby and obsession. Evan now spends several months a year chasing permit and tarpon in the Florida Keys. He is an active tournament angler, participating in all of the major tarpon and permit fly fishing tournaments in the Florida Keys with multiple podium finishes. His passion for hunting and fishing has also spawned his desire to preserve the resources he has enjoyed over the course of his life. Evan has become an active volunteer and conservationist, serving on several non-profit boards focusing on wildlife conservation including the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, as well as Pheasants and Quail Forever.
Carlos has been fishing the Florida Keys since 1973. As a boy, he and his father were introduced to the Keys by and were frequent guests of GTF founder, Carl Navarre, Sr. Carlos has always enjoyed all forms of fishing from the trout and reds of Texas bays, to the rainbows of Alaska, to the marlin of Great Barrier Reef, but fly fishing, in either in fresh or salt water, has always been his most serious passion. With early salt water instruction from the likes of Captains Cecil Keith, Billy Knowles, and Hal Chittum, to tournament wins with Captain Rob Fordyce, tarpon on fly has become his favorite target. Carlos and his wife, Leslie, a ladies tarpon tournament champion, have had a home in Islamorada for almost 20 years. In addition to his service on the board of GTF, Carlos also serves as a board member and past chairman of the CCA Texas Foundation. The great honor of his fishing career is his service as a Trustee, and as Chairman, of the International Game Fish Association where he now serves as an Emeritus Trustee.
Thane first came to the Florida Keys in 1998, sneaking away from work to spend a couple of days fishing with Captain Craig Brewer. Initially, Thane wasn’t very productive from the front end of the boat, but he learned a lot from the guy on the back end. As a native conch and second generation fly guide, Captain Brewer revealed his passion for the sport and the resource that can’t be described through conversation. In the time since then, Thane has met many other Captains who share that passion and appreciation for their craft and cherish the world that lets them share it with their anglers. Thane has also seen and shared their great disappointment as this resource has become steadily deteriorated. As a member of the GTF board, Thane hopes to promote preservation of their stewardship of the craft and the irreplaceable and undervalued Florida ecosystem where they ply their trade.
Mark discovered the Florida Keys by chance while attending an English friends’ wedding in the late 1990’s. As a lifelong Atlantic Salmon fisherman, he was immediately drawn to the saltwater fly fishing culture of the Keys and subsequently purchased a home in Islamorada. Twenty years later, Mark is an eight-time Grand Champion of major Keys fly fishing tournaments and one of only a few anglers ever to win the ‘grand slam’ of a Tarpon, Bonefish and Permit tournament. Mark’s favorite species is the ‘downtown Islamorada’ Bonefish.
* Alumni Trustee