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This profile was last updated on 10/15/14  and contains information from public web pages.

Honorary Trustee

Phone: (239) ***-****  HQ Phone
Bonefish & Tarpon Trust
24 Dockside Lane
Key Largo, Florida 33037
United States

Company Description: BTU is a 501.C.3, not-for-profit organization based in South Florida, but with a worldwide presence. We are supporting or collaborating on research projects...   more
Background

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations

Web References
Bonefish & Tarpon Trust - Board of Directors
www.bonefishtarpontrust.org, 15 Oct 2014 [cached]
George Hommell**
Bonefish & Tarpon Unlimited : Members
www.tarbone.org, 23 April 2007 [cached]
George Hommell, Jr.
People | MidCurrent
midcurrent.com, 24 July 2014 [cached]
George Hommell
...
George Hommell
ONE DAY IN MAY during the spring tarpon migration of 1961, George Hommell worked his boat and positioned his angler to make fly fishing history.
Bonefish & Tarpon Trust - Board of Directors
www.tarbone.org, 3 Dec 2012 [cached]
George Hommell
George Hommell | MidCurrent
midcurrent.com, 19 May 2011 [cached]
George Hommell
...
George Hommell
A 1961 photo of Mac Miller and George Hommell with Miller's record 143-pound tarpon.
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ONE DAY IN MAY during the spring tarpon migration of 1961, George Hommell worked his boat and positioned his angler to make fly fishing history.
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Hommell didn't get the press, but he is still one of the most influential figures in the history of Keys fly fishing.
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"...if I had to hire a guide for myself, George would probably be the one I would choose."
With our without the recognition and praise of peers, George Hommell Jr. would put his stamp on Keys flats fishing, tackle, and, not least, conservation.
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Like many of the early Keys anglers, Hommell got his fly fishing indoctrination somewhere else, in the Catskills in Upstate, New York. "I learned on trout streams up there," said Hommell. "I fished just about all of them."
Hommell's dad moved to Islamorada and Jr. followed after he got out of the service in 1945. Of course he took to fishing. "Down in the Keys there wasn't much other to do," he said.
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Hommell started fly fishing the flats on the heels of that, with no real knowledge of how to do it. "I went out on my own," he said. "I didn't have enough money to hire a guide."
He figured it out enough to become a guide himself, taking to it full time in 1952. The one problem? "We didn't have any customers back then," said Hommell.
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Through there, Hommell hooked up with the most loyal of clients in Mac Miller.
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Art Schmidt, a close friend of Miller's who guided him in the 1990s into this decade, said that from 1956 through 1963 Miller spent every Thursday through Sunday fishing in Islamorada, and for the most part booked George Hommell.
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"They'd go bonefishing and run the skiff in the backcountry until they ran aground, and George would say, 'OK, we're here.'"
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"You could hold 230 of 30-lb. backing plus the fly line," said Hommell.
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Hommell helped refine the techniques for poling for bonefish and contributed shrimp fly patterns, including one of the first bead-eye flies, called the Hommell Evil Eye.
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"I'd call George and he'd bring down a client along with Jack Brothers and a client, and he'd bring a client for me.
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And it was far from Islamorada when, during that May of 1961, Roy Lowe, Hommell, and Apte guided clients to record fish in the same week.
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Hommell and Ted Williams were neighbors and became good friends.
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"We traveled to Belize, Costa Rica; every year we went someplace," recalled Hommell. It was Ted Williams, who came up with the idea for the Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament, first held in 1964 with help from Hommell, Jack Brothers and others.
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Hommell laughed when he recounted, "Ted says, â??Yeah, damn it, but you had to go a long way back.'"
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Guides typically had most of their bookings in the winter months, and in the off season had to find other jobs. (Hommell for a time also worked at the Theater of the Sea.)
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Hommell posted seven releases in the 1964 Gold Cup, and made a name for himself as a tournament guide in later years, guiding the Grand Champion in the Islamorada Invitational Bonefish Tournament in 1971, 1972, and 1974. In 1975 he guided Flip Pallot to victory in the first Islamorada Invitational Fall Fly Tournament. These wins further cemented Hommell's reputation as a top guide. He already had a loyal following, known as one of the most pleasant guides to spend a day with on the water.
"George once told me he rode out one of the big hurricanes of the 1960s by clinging to the top of a palm tree," said Art Schmidt.
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Hommell counts the 41st president, George H. W. Bush, as a friend.
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"I guided him when he was V.P. elect," said Hommell. When Bush was the President-elect in 1989, Hommell guided him to a 13-pound bonefish, earning a write-up by Maureen Dowd in The New York Times.
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That proved true on Hommell's boat. He said of President George H. W. Bush, a regular client, "You wouldn't know how important he was."
But for all of Hommell's work on the water, he is probably more known for what he's done off of it - most notably that little tackle shop at mile marker 81.5.
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Hommell also struck up a friendship with Carl Navarre, an angler who made a fortune as a Coca-Cola bottler.
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Hommell and Pate kept a CB radio on in the shop to pass along information.
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Hommell, who ran the store on a day-to-day basis, had a huge impact on making saltwater fly fishing more accessible, and in making a tackle shop a business.
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, Trey Combs wrote that the scarcity of Seamasters led Hommell and Pate to approach a machinist named Ted Juracsik about building a reel based on some of Pate's concepts.
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Hommell and Pate sold the store to Bass Pro Shops, which reopened it as it exists today in 1997.
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In the 1970s, the Islamorada Fishing Guides Association (now the Florida Keys Fishing Guide Association), of which Hommell was a prominent member, became one of the first groups to promote the catch and release ethic, and to push the idea through the tournaments.
The guides also noticed a rapid degradation of the Everglades and Florida Bay. Billy Pate, Stu Apte, Rick Ruoff and others spearheaded the Everglades Protection Association, and Hommell contributed to the cause of tarpon and bonefish protection and Everglades restoration by promoting them through Worldwide Sportsman.
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Hommell is also a founding member of Bonefish and Tarpon unlimited, now The Bonefish and Tarpon Trust. "We all realized the fishing was going down so we had to do something," said Hommell, "to make sure it didn't get too far down and hopefully even increase.
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"George once told me he rode out one of the big hurricanes of the 1960s by clinging to the top of a palm tree," said Art Schmidt.
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And most days, so does George.
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