A fine new project is underway to document the role Joe Brooks played in the history of fly-fishing. No question, Joe Brooks was one of the greatest anglers to ever pick up the long wand. A masterful caster, he traveled widely, perhaps more so than another angler of his time, wrote often, promoted the sport to many, and constantly broken new ground. No wonder he has been called the father of modern fly-fishing.
Joe Brooks was active in both fresh and saltwater fly-fishing. Still he always found time to help other anglers including Lefty Kreh. My library had nearly all of Joe’s titles, even the harder to find Bermuda Fishing, 1957. In 1948, Joe penned the first book dedicated to largemouth bass on a fly rod. Even more notable, at least from my view point, is his Salt Water Fly Fishing, Putnam, 1950. It is the very first book ever totally devoted to the salt side of the game. Quite an accomplishment.
Salt Water Fly Fishing isn’t a huge volume by today’s standards, but it offered information that encompassed the entire Atlantic coast, from Key West to Maine, from bonefish to striped bass. Furthermore, in the book Joe presents the first series of saltwater fly patterns ever created. (I wrote about them in an article entitled The Upperman Joe Brooks Flies, Fly Tyer magazine, spring 2001) These early flies predate even his well-known Blonde series.
Unfortunately not enough has been written about the man behind the legend. And that is why this new project is so exciting and worthwhile. I urge you to visit the following sites to learn more about the Joe Brooks. You’ll be glad you did!