SWS: How old are you?
Stu Apte: 75.
SWS: So why'd it take them so long to vote you into the Hall of Fame?
SA: (Laughs) I don't know, but I'm glad they did. I was told I missed it by one point last year.
SWS: What's the most valuable fishing lesson you've learned?
SA: A quick fight, a good release and no harm done on either end of the line.
SWS: How has fishing changed the most since you first started?
SA: Fish aren't doing the same thing they used to do. With tarpon, I could predict it to the day a year in advance when the big schools would arrive. Those big schools don't exist any more.
SWS: Of the 40-plus records you hold, is there one you value most?
SA: The most outstanding in my mind are the oldest and second-oldest records I set. The oldest is the longest, still-standing record on the fly: a 58-pound dolphin on 12-pound tippet set in 1964. The other is 136-pound Pacific sailfish on 12-pound tippet in 1965.
SWS: What's your favorite fly?
SA: The original Apte tarpon fly.
SWS: What about your favorite lure?
SA: My daughter ties a jig that catches everything. I call it the Super Dude.
SWS: If you could only fish one spot where would you go?
SA: Flyfishing for big tarpon on the flats of the Florida Keys.
SWS: If you could fish with only one person, who would it be?
SA: I don't even have to think about that one — my wife, Jeannine.
SWS: What's the most common mistake you see anglers make?
SA: Most don't have the slightest clue how much pressure you can put into a fish if you do it smoothly.
SWS: What fisherman today impresses you the most?
SA: Andy Mill. He's a true a predator, which is what a fisherman needs to be.
SWS: So you're 75, and Lefty's 80...who could make a longer cast?
SA: Lefty. No contest. But I'm not into fly casting. I'm into flyfishing.