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 Naples, Florida



Book Introduction

      In 1880, a man named Walter N. Haldeman owned virtually all of the land in present-day Naples. The sugar-white beaches were breathtaking, the sunrises surreal, and the fishing was the stuff of legends. Dense tangles of tropical vegetation covered nearly every inch of land. Haldeman predicted that Naples would become just as popular as Florida's east coast, and he was determined to hasten that awareness. Even though the entire community consisted of a cluster of small houses, Haldeman optimistically built a hotel and a 600-foot pier. As visitors experienced the tranquility and natural wonders of Southwest Florida, the region grew, establishing a loyal community of year-round and seasonal residents who defined Naples as not only home, but a piece of heaven.

      Adjacent to the western entrance to the Everglades, one of the world's last wild places, Naples has carved a world-class residential and resort haven out of the sub-tropical landscape. Known for its impressive waterside homes, championship golf resorts, cosmopolitan shopping venues and four-star restaurants, Naples is also blessed with a prolific art community that has transformed a sleepy fishing village into a top destination for national and international art collectors.

      Naple's natural beauty and small-town semblance has attracted not only the retired or wealthy, but younger, middle-class families seeking a connection with nature as well as a sense of community.

      Although much as changed in Naples since Haldeman lived here, some things -- beaches, sunsets, fishing and cool, Gulf breezes -- will always remain the same.  Even the city pier is still here, now jutting 1,000 feet out into the Gulf -- a symbol of one man's vision and a community's character and determination to persevere. Haldeman, without a doubt, would be proud of this modern tropical paradise called Naples.


Although fly-fishing has been practiced here for over a century, it has grown in popularity in recent years. Local estuaries, creeks, and bays are home to a variety of game fish that are readily fooled by local anglers’ well-tied flies. As one captain put it, “The conditions in Naples are absolutely ideal for fly-fishing, but the good news is that the fish don’t seem to know it yet.”


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