About Joel Stewart

I am a self-proclaimed C4 fisherman. No, I don’t fish with explosives but I fish for what I Can, when I Can, where I Can, and however I Can. I grew up in north-central Montana and was fishing about the time I could walk. I started tying flies at age 6 and was selling them by age 8. When I was 12 I began working for a bait and tackle store both tying flies and boxing worms, which I stayed with until I joined the Navy. I spent the summer of my junior year learning to build custom fly rods. I also moon-lighted for a taxidermist through highschool. My youth was spent immersed in the outdoors.  Before I could drive I went anywhere I could pedal my bike.  When I was 16, I bought a 1964 Ford F100 and explored the mountains and rivers of Montana via dirt roads, game trails, and waterways. I hunted with bow, shotgun, and rifle.  I fished with fly and spin, but fell in love with my flyfishing.  At 19, I joined the Navy and was trained as a technician for the Tomahawk missile system. I took to the Navy, like Lab to a pond. Somehow, the Navy saw fit to give me a commission and keep me on the payroll for over three decades.  In those decades, I’ve  served in eight ships and sailed around the globe twice.  In 2014 I reqlinquished command of the San Antonio-class amphibious dock transport ship, USS ANCHORAGE (LPD 23).

In 2005 I was assigned to the XVIII Airborne Corps HHQ in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While in Baghdad, I founded the Baghdad Anglers Club and School of Fly Fishing. This club supported thousands of men and women by providing them an opportunity to get on the water and relax, in the middle of a combat zone. I wrote “A Fly Rod in My Sea Bag” to chronicle the club and provide support to
Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc. (PHWFF)
.  PHWFF is an organization dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly fishing and associated activities including education and outings. 100% of my proceeds from the book go to PHWFF.

In addition to the proceeds from the book, I speak to organizations interested in fly fishing or supporting Veterans. In lieu of a speaker’s fee, I request only expenses be covered and a donation be made to PHWFF.

I continue to fish anywhere, any way I can. Thanks to the Navy, I have been able to fish in dozens of countries on six continents and catch some very unusual species.  My fish won’t grace the cover of any magazines, but I have had wonderful adventrues because I always have a fly rod in my sea bag!


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