The Joe Brooks Story
Joe Brooks Jr (Joseph White Brooks Jr) 1901-1972
[dropcap]J/dropcap]oe was an American Fly Fisherman and popular writer about the sport of fly fishing during the mid-20th century. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1901 and died while fly fishing in Montana in 1972. He wrote for the leading fishing and outdoor magazines of the day and was the outdoor editor for The Baltimore Sun. He also wrote ten books about fly fishing, several of which are still considered leading authorities on the subject. He is listed by a leading online fly fishing publication, Fly Fishing Frenzy, as one of the ten most influential fishermen ever. And the IGFA and others said he did more to popularize and expand fly fishing than any other individual.
Brooks was born in Baltimore, Maryland, into a family that owned a successful insurance business. Joe worked in the business during his early life but was kicked out due to his alcoholism. Joe decided to become a professional fly fisherman and writer, the two passions he enjoyed most. He first began to write an outdoor column called Pools and Riffles for a small Towson, Maryland community publication. But as his popularity gained he started writing for national publications like Field and Stream, The Fisherman, Outdoor Life, True Fishing Annual, Fishing Waters of the World, Ashaway Sportsman, and The Saltwater Sportsman. It was not long after this that he was hired by The Baltimore Sun as their outdoor editor. In 1953 he began writing for Outdoor Life, one of the most prestigious sporting magazines then and continuing today, and in 1968 he became the publication’s fishing editor.
Joe Brooks was a mentor and friend to many of the top fly fishermen of his day as well of those of today like Lefty Kreh. Kreh credits Brooks for introducing him to fly fishing, encouraging him to start writing about the sport and getting him one of his first jobs in the fishing industry. The job was with the Miami Herald running their Metropolitan Miami South Florida Fishing Tournament. Joe was also running the same tournament for years before joining Outdoor Life as outdoor editor.Lefty Kreh was a protégé of Joe Brooks and was one of his closest friends. Joe was one of the key guiding lights in Lefty’s career. He Opened doors in both the outdoor writing business as well as helping Lefty become the manager/CEO of the biggest and most prestigious fishing tournament, the Metropolitan South Florida Fishing Tournament, affectionately known as the MET, in the 1960s.NOTE: Featured Image is Joe Brooks with famous crooner,
NOTE: Featured Image is Joe Brooks with the famous crooner, angler, and admirer Bing Crosby. Image credit The Joe Brooks Foundation for Conservation and Outdoor Education.