There has never been a more important person to tarpon fishing than Stu Apte, period. He has shaped his adventure filled life around this iconic fish and promoted it with a vengeance. As a result, catching a big tarpon is one of the most celebrated achievements in angling.
Stu was born in Miami, Florida in 1930. Before moving to the Keys and becoming a fishing guide, Stu was a fighter pilot in the Navy during the Korean conflict. He then flew planes for Pan Am which lasted 34 years and during this time, he honed in on his real passion – Fly Fishing. Stu later went all in on guiding and had the honor of fishing many days with his mentor, Joe Brooks, and legendary baseball slugger, Ted Williams. He caught many massive world records, invented knots, and designed creative tarpon flies. One of which became a US Postage stamp.
After having a prolific career on the water, writing an abundance of articles and two books, appearing in countless TV shows, Stu put tarpon fishing on the map. In 1969, Apte was inducted into the Fishing Hall of Fame and in 2005 was inducted into the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) Hall of Fame.
This man is still vibrant and cheerful, ready for his next adventure on the water. In this episode, Stu talks about flying fighter jets, big fish battles in Homosassa, and the time when he almost ended his own life.