David Mangum (@shallowwaterexpeditions) is one of the world’s most well known fly fishermen and fly fishing guides. To fly anglers, he certainly needs no introduction. He is known as one of the pioneers of tarpon fishing in certain parts of north Florida and is a true innovator in the sport. He’s also a family man, a surfer, a painter, a visionary photographer and a skilled conversationalist with strong opinions about many things. We are so pleased to have David join the ranks as a Howler Ambassador. We caught up with him during a recent trip to his home waters and learned a few things about what makes his motor run. Check it out...
What song was in your head this morning when you woke up?
Billie Eilish - Halley’s Comet... my daughter is 13 and she's on a Billie kick so it's stuck in there right now, but I really like her so win win.
Who is your favorite client - the experienced world record hunter or the guy who just wants to drink beer and get a couple of shots?
Those two clients are kind of the same guy depending on the day. When the fish are moving and conditions are right, everyone I fish with knows it's time to get serious, play the game, focus, and be masterful at what we are doing in the moment.
The internet, social media chat rooms and the like have really changed your job. Every move and every sentence you utter seems to be under a microscope - especially in tarpon fishing. Do you like that or do you pine for the old analog days?
Ahhh “the internet’s” a strange and magical place that has changed the world. Like most things, the tech/internet revolution is a double edged sword that is full of tricky pitfalls. For the most part, even though I'm “under the microscope,” I have to be true to myself. If I see or feel something is wrong, I say it's wrong. If I have an opinion, I say what I feel. I’m just built that way.
If there were a three way competition between you and fellow Howler Ambassadors JT Van Zandt and Alvin Dedeaux in the following events, who would prevail?
Tequila Shooting: JT hands down. We have played that game, and I lost.
Fly Tying: Me all day long.
Opera Singing: Me again.
If you had a chance at a monster, would you rather be on the rod or guiding?
I would MUCH rather guide a client to a giant fish than catch it myself. I feel fairly confident in my catching abilities, but the next level is catching that fish through my client, guiding my client through that experience. I want to put that fly rod in my client’s hands and catch that fish. The teamwork aspect of tarpon fishing is intense and fulfilling for me and one of my favorite parts of what I do.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Don’t be afraid to have a kid! My daughter is the best thing that's ever happened to me!!