Billy Pate, a fly-fishing legend, died Monday in a Homestead, Fla., nursing home after a long bout with Alzheimer's disease. He was 80.
Pate, an Islamorada resident, held the world record for the largest tarpon caught on fly rod for nearly 20 years - a 188-pounder on 16-pound tippet in Homosassa in 1982. He also was the first angler to catch all six of the world's billfish species on fly rod.
"Billy was always one of your idols and legends," said longtime friend Pat Ford, a Miami outdoors author/photographer and fly angler.