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

The Kamikaze Sculpin is easy to tie, versatile, and smartly designed to get the job done. Fly Tying

Tying the Kamikaze Sculpin

Charlie Craven

The Kamikaze Sculpin is easy to tie, versatile, and smartly designed to get the job done.

Modern methods for catching smallmouths on topwater flies. Bass

How to Catch Smallmouth Bass on Topwater Flies

Dave Karczynski and Tim Landwehr

Modern methods for catching smallmouths on topwater flies.

The fly fishing communities in the U.S. and Belize are mourning after twin slayings that occurred on what appeared to be a routine guide trip on Sunday, June 23, 2019 in a shallow lagoon near San Pedro, Brazil. 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...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Black Beauty

Black Beauty

Master fly tier Charlie Craven discuss the tools and materials needed to tie the Black Beauty.

Bahamas - Bonefish

Bahamas - Bonefish

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

Breaking the Surface

Breaking the Surface

Attack of the Bass continues as Breaking the Surface attacks bass with fly and lure 12:30pm ET Sunday, April 17th.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

You don't always catch large trout in these alpine lakes and streams, but even the small ones are brightly colored treasures. Trout

Alpine Lakes for Remote Monsters

Landon Mayer - April 18, 2018

You don't always catch large trout in these alpine lakes and streams, but even the small ones...

Read about Colorado's backcountry fly fishing in 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."

The fly fishing communities in the U.S. and Belize are mourning after twin slayings that occurred on what appeared to be a routine guide trip on Sunday, June 23, 2019 in a shallow lagoon near San Pedro, Brazil. 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...

See More Stories

More Editor's Notebook

Tying the Parachute Damsel Adult is an easy, accurate, and durable imitation. Editor's Notebook

Tying the Parachute Damsel Adult

Ross Purnell, Editor - March 27, 2017

Tying the Parachute Damsel Adult is an easy, accurate, and durable imitation.

Sea Run Brown Trout Editor's Notebook

Rio Grande Sea Run Brown Trout

Ross Purnell, Editor - September 30, 2016

Sea Run Brown Trout

Guyana Worldwide

The Hidden Honey Holes of Guyana

Ross Purnell, Editor - October 11, 2017

Guyana

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.