Guest Speaker: Joel Stewart
Last Update: 08/20/15
Note: this is the first meeting to be held in our new permanent meeting location: Southwestern Yacht Club in Point Loma.
Joel Stewart grew up in Great Falls Montana. Growing up in Montana, he was immersed in an outdoors culture. He learned to fish about the time he learned to walk. He began to tie flies at age 6, and was tying commercially at 8. As a teenager, he worked summers in a tackle store and winters in a taxidermy studio. He spent one summer as a custom fly rod builder’s apprentice. After he graduated from high school, he enlisted in the Navy in 1985, to earn money for college. At that time, it was join the service or become a trout bum. Though he took the high ground and remains on active duty, he often wonders how the trout bum plan would have worked out. His career in the Navy has allowed him to fish on six continents and catch dozens of species of fish, mostly on a fly rod. He served in Iraq in 2005 and founded the Baghdad Angler’s Club and School of Fly Fishing. He wrote the book, A Fly Rod in My Sea Bag, about his time in Iraq and the club he started up to support service men and women far from home. In service to our country, he has spent 29 year in uniform, 18 of those years at sea, including command of the amphibious dock landing ship, USS ANCHORAGE (LPD 23). He remains on active duty and is currently stationed ashore in San Diego. He supports the Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing at every opportunity.
In Baghdad, Joel found himself based in Camp Victory on the grounds of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's former Al Faw Palace. He fished numerous man-made lakes stocked by the former dictator with a variety of sport fish. Soon he was teaching others how to fly fish. Thus, the Baghdad School of Fly Fishing was born, an angling club that remained in existence for the remainder of the time American troops were in Iraq.
Joel will tell us about the exotic fish he caught, how the Baghdad School of Fly Fishing was born and how it flourished during times of war.
Fly Fishing Adventures in Baghdad