Today, we hear Mark’s story, a kayak bass fishing enthusiast, and the meaningful impact he has on veterans’ lives at Project Healing Waters. We’ll uncover a surprising family connection between Mark’s stepfather and my dad.

Mark shares his own journey serving on a Navy ship and expresses his deep love for kayak fishing. We dig into the exciting world of kayak fishing as we discover thrilling angling opportunities at the Kayak Fishing Northwest events in Oregon and Idaho. Mark guides us through the process of signing up for these events too!

We also break down Mark’s top 5 flies for smallmouth bass!

Bass on the Fly with Mark Middleton. Hit play below!

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(Read the Full Transcript at the bottom of this Blog Post)


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bass on the fly

Show Notes with Mark Middleton

03:55 – Mark’s stepfather was my dad’s cousin which makes us second cousins. We talk about our family connection.

11:07 – We talk about how he was introduced to Project Healing Waters. Now he helps veterans tie flies and fish with them.

12:30 – We had Beau Beasley on the podcast where we talked about the new book that he was working on which has 40 powerful stories from veterans with traumatic pasts. We got emotional on that episode, it was really touching.

15:30 – Mark talks about his experience being on a Navy ship.

18:55 – Mark talks about kayak fishing. He’s got a Hobie kayak he uses when fishing in big lakes.


bass on the fly

22:55 – We talk about Kayak Fishing Northwest events in Oregon and Idaho and how you can sign up for them.

29:15 – We talk about how using a sounder or finder helps in Stillwater fishing.

31:15 – Mark talks about how they get prepared for the KFNW tournament.

bass on the fly

38:30 – Mark breaks down his top 5 flies for smallmouth bass:

  1. Simi Seal Leech
  2. Baitfish Brush
  3. Popper
  4. Wooly Bugger
  5. Damsel or any bug imitation

39:28 – We talk about fishing the Umpqua and the Payette Rivers.

42:50 – They have a training event coming up at KFNW that will be held in Henry Hagg Lake. You can check their schedule and sign up for the event here. 

54:55 – We talk about my dad, Doug Stewart. Mark calls him every once in a while to check on him. Mark tells us what he admires most about my dad.

1:02:35 – Mark and his wife are going to Alaska in July. He noted a video that shows the exact trip that they’re taking. Watch below. 👇🏻

1:06:25 – We noted my dad’s book, The Practical Fly Fisher: Lessons Learned from a Lifetime of Fly Fishing.

You can reach Mark via email at

Check out Kayak Fishing Northwest to see their tournament schedule

Visit Project Healing Waters to volunteer or make a donation

Videos Noted in the Show

Related Podcast Episodes

WFS 005 – Jim Teeny Interview – 60 Years of Fly Fishing, Sinking Lines, Spotting

Read the Full Podcast Transcript Below

Conclusion with Mark Middleton

Wrap: Mark’s story is definitely interesting and inspiring. We not only discovered how much he has impacted veterans’ lives through Project Healing Waters but also found out that we’re actually related. It’s incredible to see how Mark’s commitment to helping veterans find peace through tying flies and going on healing fishing trips is truly inspiring.

We explored the exciting world of kayak fishing, where we learned about the awesome angling opportunities at the Kayak Fishing Northwest events in Oregon and Idaho. Mark gave us some great tips on how to join these events, which opened up thrilling fishing experiences for us.

All in all, Mark’s story shows us how fly fishing can truly transform lives and bring immense happiness to individuals and communities. His dedication to veterans and his love for the sport is an inspiration to all of us, reminding us of the deep connections and unforgettable memories that can be created simply by casting a line and immersing ourselves in nature.