Podcast: The Mayfly Project, with Jess Westbrook


Interview begins at 43:28.

In this week’s podcast, I interview Jess Westbrook, co-founder of The Mayfly Project. This organization, winner of the 2017 Orvis Breaking Barriers award, brings the joys of fly fishing to foster kids through individual, one-on-one mentorship throughout the country. For obvious reasons, their programs have been put on hold for this year (I was looking forward to being a mentor myself last spring), but the organization moves forward, making plans for a time when we can comfortably get together in person. Jess has some heartwarming stories to tell of past successes that will make you smile and feel good about the fly-fishing community.

In the Fly Box, we have some great questions, and I hope my answers are helpful to you.  They include:

  • I recently got a new fly reel and when it’s filled with line it’s too tight. What can I do to solve this?
  • A story from a listener on catching a channel catfish on a fly designed for swinging for trout–a Montana Intruder that he tied during one of our Monday live fly-tying sessions.
  • Why do the eyes on my saltwater flies keep coming off?
  • What feathers on grouse and woodcock can I use for fly tying?
  • Can you recommend some books so I can learn more about how watersheds work?
  • Why does my fly line keep catching itself on my forward cast and how can I fix it?
  • Can I use weighted streamers to catch walleye?
  • Why would a bunch of large trout be holding in slow, shallow water during a hatch?
  • What is the best saltwater floating line for Northeast fly fishing?
  • I have some fly materials with bugs in them. Would repeated thawing and freezing kill them?
  • What is the difference between a sink tip and an intermediate fly line?
  • Why does anyone ever use flies smaller than size 18? I can’t see them on the water.
  • Why do I keep losing steelhead when they jump?
Jess Westbrook (left) and young Kase share the joy of landing a big rainbow.

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