Fly Fishing In Iraq

Fly Fishing In Iraq

A few years ago I got an email from Joel Stewart who was serving in the military overseas in Iraq. He was catching carp and other fish on a fly rod in Saddam Hussein's palace and elsewhere in Baghdad. Some fellow servicemen saw what he was up to and soon Stewart had a full class of would-be fly fishers out there in the desert fishing for unusual fish in surreal circumstances. At that time, Fly Fisherman did a news item on the "Baghdad School of Fly Fishing" and in the ensuing years the story has gotten longer and morphed into the book A Fly Rod In My Sea Bag: Fishing Adventures in Baghdad During Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2005-2011 (Whitefish press, 2011). According to Stewart, 25% of the money earned by this book will be donated to Project Healing


Waters Fly Fishing so you may want to give it a look.

About the Book

On May 1st, 2005, a Montana fly angler-turned-sailor arrived in the desert nation of Iraq as part of a coalition of forces working to bring peace to a war-torn countryside. A naval officer assigned to the Multi-National Corps Iraq, Joel Stewart found himself based in Camp Victory on the grounds of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's former Al Faw Palace. With numerous man-made lakes stocked by the former dictator with a variety of sport fish, in the down hours from a stressful job in a war zone, Commander Stewart did what any good fisherman would do -- he went fishing. With the foresight to have packed a fly rod in his sea bag, in a desert oasis built by a brutal dictator, Stewart began an odyssey unparalleled in the history of fishing. As he discovered the strange fish inhabiting the lakes in the Camp Victory compound, he began to share his catches with friends via the internet. Others, fascinated by Commander Stewart's catches, began to join him, and soon he was teaching numerous 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.


From the many tales of fish caught and released and hooked and lost, to the struggles of finding fishing equipment and how numerous individuals and companies stepped up to the plate, to the growth of the Baghdad Angler's Club, the story of fly fishing in Iraq will fascinate fishermen and non-anglers alike.

Recommended for You

United States

Saving the Chattahoochee River

Ross Purnell - April 23, 2019

How an Atlanta craft brewery is helping to save Georgia's most important trout stream.

Industry

Fly Fishing Community Stunned by Twin Slayings on Belize Saltwater Flat

Fly Fisherman Online Staff - June 27, 2019

The fly fishing communities in the U.S. and Belize are mourning after twin slayings that...

Fly Tying

Tying the Strong Arm Merkin

David W. Skok - July 09, 2019

Here are step-by-step instructions for tying the Strong Arm Merkin fly.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Amazing Zipless Fly Vest!

William Joeseph introduced a remarkable zipper-free fly pack that features a surprising watertight magnetic seal.

A Fly Box Gamut!

At the 2008 Fly Tackle Retailers Show, Zack Dalton talks about the selection of C&F fly boxes that are designed to store anything from saltwater tarpon streamers to tiny #20 dry flies.

Bahamas - Bonefish

Conway casts for his personal best bonefish while fishing the Grand Bahama islands.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Gear

Top Drift Boats of 2019

John Fedorka - April 02, 2019

Drift boats help you search through miles of river quickly and effectively. Here's the top...

United States

Indian Peaks Wilderness Area Colorado

Steven B. Schweitzer - May 03, 2016

Read about Colorado's backcountry fly fishing in " Indian Peaks Wilderness Area Colorado."

How-To

Picking the Perfect Fly-Fishing Leader

George Daniel - January 22, 2018

George Daniels offers his advice on which types of fly-fishing leaders are best for the most...

See More Stories

More Editor's Notebook

Editor's Notebook

Remembering Umpqua Community College Victim Lawrence Levine

Ross Purnell, Editor - October 03, 2015

Mass Shotting Victim Lawrence Levine Remembered as FLY FISHERMAN writer and North Umpqua Guide

Editor's Notebook

Cyclone Fantala Lays Waste to Fly-Fishing Paradise

Ross Purnell, Editor - May 18, 2016

Farquhar Atoll Ravaged by Cyclone Fantala

Editor's Notebook

The Beast from the Delger

Ross Purnell, Editor - January 03, 2017

A 55-inch taimen carries a message of responsibility to save and protect Mongolia's wilderness...

See More Editor's Notebook

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×