Joe Brooks and Stue Apte are shown here with Joe’s then record 148.5-pound tarpon caught on a fly rod with a 12 pound tippet in 1961.
A few days ago I ran across an old picture in a magazine that I had saved that brought back a lot of memories about Joe Brooks. Several decades ago he was widely considered the world’s best fly fisherman.
He was a close friend that I never had the chace to meet –- I knew him through his books and magazine articles. To say he was simply an innovator would be an understatement. Through four decades (1940s-70s), he was recognized as the world's best with a fly rod as he pioneered this form of angling in salt water. He was the first person to take a bonefish on a fly . . . the first to land a permit on a fly . . . the first to take stripers in Virginia on flies.
He caught some 73 different species of saltwater fish on a fly rod.
Brooks was an expert, and had some 20 world records to prove it. One of his more spectacular catches (pictured at left) was a 148-pound tarpon, at the time (1961) the largest ever taken on a fly rod.