Podcast:  A Life in Fly Fishing, with Tom McGuane

[Interview begins at 44:30]

Back in 2008, when I first began this podcast I had two dreams—that I would have my two literary heroes, John McPhee and Thomas McGuane as guests. (They are both passionate fly fishers.) I was lucky enough to record a podcast with John in August of 2021, and this week’s podcast is with Tom McGuane, author of 10 highly regarded novels, wonderful nonfiction books, screenplays, collections of short stories, and what is in my opinion the finest book of fly-fishing essays ever written, The Longest Silence.  

Most people who interview Tom want to talk about his crazy days in Key West in the 1970s, fishing for tarpon with Jim Harrison, Guy de la Valdène, Jimmy Buffett, and other notable characters. However, in the podcast we talk about what he is doing now—his fascination with small-stream trout fishing, why he would rather wade than fish from a boat, his opinion on guides who yell at their clients, and how to grow old gracefully and still continue to fish with a fly rod.  It was a real honor to chat with him, and I know you’ll enjoy this very special podcast.

In the Fly Box this week, we have some wonderful and thought-provoking questions and tips from listeners, including:

  • What is that white rod that Pete Kutzer uses in your casting videos?
  • Is there a written history of Orvis?
  • What is the best reel lubricant, and how should I maintain my cork drag surface?
  • Can dumbbell eyes damage fly rods? If so, what should I do to keep flies tied with them from hitting my rod?
  • Do trout eat those little black and brown stoneflies that hatch during the winter and early spring?
  • Can you explain when I would use weighted flies vs. split shot vs. poly leaders when fishing nymphs?
  • Can you compare the relative advantages of the 10½-foot 3-weight and the 11-foot 3-weight Blackout rod?
  • I saw people catching fish on nymphs. I tried exactly the same patterns and didn’t catch anything. Why?
  • I have a reel that takes a 9-weight line. Can I get an extra spool and put it on my 7-weight rod?
  • Why am I not catching anything when fishing nymphs in the winter?
  • Great tips from a world traveler on taking your vaccination records with you, and warnings about carrying gear when traveling to Mexico or New Zealand.
  • What environmental cues will tell you when specific flies are hatching?
  • Is it true that emerger patterns are more effective when they look messy?
  • How do you explain when trout take smaller insects and ignore bigger ones?

4 thoughts on “Podcast:  A Life in Fly Fishing, with Tom McGuane”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *