|| |—| || |Stu Apte, with 40-plus records to date, shows off a nice sailfish. Photo: Stu Apte| This year’s class for the IGFA Hall of Fame includes John L. Morris, George Parker, Donald J. Tyson, the late Edward vom Hofe and flyfishing legend Stu Apte. SWS caught up with Apte for a chat about his career as a salt water angler.
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.