By Murphy Givens
Eighty years ago this month, in May 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt traveled to Port Aransas to go fishing for tarpon off the Texas coast.
Roosevelt and aides left Washington by train on April 28 and at New Orleans they boarded a Navy destroyer which carried them to the Aransas Pass channel. There they met the presidential yacht Potomac, which anchored off the lighthouse.
On Sunday Roosevelt went fishing with Port Aransas guide Barney Farley. Nine tarpon were caught, but none were caught by the president though he said he felt four good tugs.
On Monday, Roosevelt went fishing again with Farley. He hooked a tarpon and worked it to the boat. When Farley saw the fish, he realized that the hook had torn a large hole in the tarpon’s mouth. “I knew that when I took hold of the leader, the tarpon would jump and the hook would fall out or tear out. I told Mr. Roosevelt. ‘I am going to lose your first tarpon.’ Sure enough, the fish jumped and shook the hook out. The only thing he said was, ‘You called that right.’ ”
Roosevelt later landed a four-footer and Corpus Christi photographer “Doc” McGregor, in a boat nearby, snapped a shot of Farley and Elliott holding up the tarpon.
Roosevelt received news on Friday morning that the German airship Hindenburg had exploded at Lakehurst, N.J. He sent a telegram to Adolf Hitler with condolences.
On Saturday, the president’s last…
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