Tag Archives: stonefly press

BOOKS: My Life In Fishing by Stu Apte

I had heard and read that Stu Apte was a pilot, first for the Navy and then for the old Pan American airlines, and when I interviewed him for a Midcurrent.com article about the late George Hommell, I remember thinking, “That’s the kind of voice I’d want to hear over the intercom at 35,000 feet.”

He sounded confident and direct over the phone, with a hint of military cadence, and when he started telling stories about his pioneering fishing experiences in the Florida Keys, I just shut up and listened.

That’s the same way I felt reading through Apte’s new book My Life In Fishing, ($29.95, Stone Fly Press). It’s a collection of 38 short essays where Apte tells anecdotes collected during his life chasing fish.

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There are stories of Apte fishing for snook with Ted Williams, traveling to Costa Rica with Curt Gowdy, and hosting the ex-president Harry S. Truman on a bonefishing trip that also involved the former first lady, a full bladder and an open livewell lid.

There’s the story of a chance encounter with Ernest Hemingway in Cuba that led to mojitos, of being pulled into the water by Joe Brooks’ record tarpon, of wade fishing for largemouth bass in the Everglades….The whole collection is fun to read.

The best thing about the book is the brevity of each individual story. You could imagine Apte in his guiding days, entertaining clients with such stories while poling around for a shot at a big tarpon.

On that note, I always love hearing the stories of these early anglers figuring out the tackle and techniques to land big silver on a fly rod . In one chapter, highlighted in a pull quote, Apte says, “I am never happier than when I’m prospecting the Florida Keys flats for tarpon, fly rod in hand.”

Although I must admit when I read that quote it reminded me of an  episode of Andy Mill’s “Sportsman’s Journal” show from the old Outdoor Life  Network. I remember Apte fighting a tarpon from the bow of the boat and Mill asking something along the lines of, “Is there any better feeling in the world?”

“Yes,” Apte deadpanned. “Sex.”

You could say Apte was right on both counts.

BOOKS: 50 Best Places Fly Fishing the Northeast

The first thing I did, when I received a review copy of 50 Best Places Fly Fishing The Northeast by Bob Mallard ($34.95, Stonefly Press), was flip to the Montauk section. Because even though the book is dominated by the region’s top trout waters, when I fall asleep at night I dream about salt. So I was pleased to see that the person selected to contribute the Montauk intel was Brendan McCarthy. While I have never personally fished with Brendan, I know a lot of people who have and he has an excellent reputation. Next I flipped to the Maine chapter and the section on Casco Bay. Eric Wallace wrote that one up, and he pioneered sight fishing for striped bass there.

Knowing that Mallard’s choices for those two contributions are legit makes it easy to extrapolate that he picked people who know what they’re talking about to profile the other 48 fisheries. Stonefly Press has a stable of these 50 Best Places books, including the 50 Best Tailwaters To Fly Fish.

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This installment includes several venerable locales from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Places like the Ausable, Salmon and all the Catskills spots in NY; the Housatonic and Farmington in CT; Cape Cod in MA, the Saco in New Hampshire and…well…there are 50 of them, you get the picture. So if you fish the Northeast or plan to, consider this a starting point, reference guide or inspiration to fish new waters.

BOOKS: 50 Best Tailwaters to Fly Fish

Some of the places I’ve been fishing vicariously, like the White River via Steve Dally’s Ozark Fly Fisher JournalOthers, like Henry’s Fork and the Deschutes and the Fryingpan, have been rolling around in my head since my fly-fishing infancy. Still others, like the Farmington and the Neversink, are almost in my backyard. And then there are the few, like the Bow River and Lake Taneycomo, where I’ve actually fished.

So after going through all 50 carefully selected and thoroughly vetted destinations compiled by Terry and Wendy Gunn, I don’t think of 50 Best Tailwaters to Flyfish so much as a book as it is a call to action. What have I been waiting for and, now that I’ve been thumped in the chest by this book, how can I apply what’s been given? Because the collaborators in this book, like the aforementioned Dally or the legendary Joe Demalderis of the Delaware,  have given us a lot.

Overall, 50 Best Tailwaters to Flyfish is an incredible reference for fly anglers, and also a reminder that fly fishing can take you just about anywhere you want to go, if you let it.

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