Parque Natural Mexiquillo


Farley Boat Works

In the late 1800s the residents of Mustang Island had one industry, tarpon fishing. Local guides used locally make row boats to quietly row rich northern fishermen into huge, 100 yards wide and 400 long, schools of tarpon. They would hook one of these 5-6 foot, 60-70 pound fighters and the battle was on. The rods were made of a single piece of bamboo and the reel had no drag. The fisherman used his thumb to press a leather patch against the reel. The guide would position the row boat to act a drag.
Storms in the early 1900s wiped out the fishing feet, the local guides and fishermen were desperate for new boats. Enter Fred Farley, master craftsman. Fred and his son opened  Farley and Son, Boat Builder in 1915. They build a two person boat designed specifically for Tarpon fishing. The business closed in 1975. Rick reopened Farley Boat Works in 2010 where he and a crew of volunteers teach wooden boat building classes.

Rick tells us about his reproduction of an original Farley boat

He did not buy his fishing attire at Cabelas.

An early Tarpon rod and reel

In the 1930s the second generation Farley boat with a wider, heaver transom were created to accommodate the weight of outboard motors

Rick explains the changes in the second generation Farley boat

A Farley boat is simple, easy to built. In a three day class each participant builds their own boat. It only takes three days because many of the pieces are pre-cut. The cost is $300. 
Next week a class of 10 year olds will build their boats. 

A prototype of the Farley boat the class builds.

This is a new one man design for fly fishermen. The fish hide in the shallow areas of the lagoon, called the flats. They are only 10 or 12 inches deep. This boat only draws 6 inches of water.  

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