Ross Purnell, the Editor of the Fly Fisherman Magazine, shares how he fulfilled his childhood dream by filling in one of the most important roles at the publication. Find out who are the people that inspired him to fly fish and who mentored him to become a fly fishing writer.

Ross describes the process of creating content and how they come up with ideas for stories that make it to the magazine. We also discover who the top contributors are at FFM. Plus, we get a glimpse of the big topics they’re going to feature in the next 2 issues this year.


Click below and listen to the Podcast about The Fly Fisherman Magazine with Ross Purnell:

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


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Show Notes with Ross Purnell and The Fly Fisherman Magazine

03:15 – Jacques Cousteau was Ross’s first hero. He used to watch Jacques’ videos all the time when he was a kid. That made him become more interested in the underwater world.

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Photograph: Cine Text/Sportsphoto/AllStar
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Photo courtesy of The Cousteau Society

04:00 – Tom Tietze was also a big fan of Jacques Cousteau – he was recently on the podcast at WFS 312

08:00 – Ross deal with 2 kinds of stories in the magazine:

  1. In most of the stories that run there, he’s not personally involved. Somebody pitches him the story idea and he decides if it’s a good fit – they write it, and he edits it. That’s 95% of the content in the magazine.
  2. Someone calls him up and says “this is a great story or this has never been done”. If it fits in the schedule and no other experts on the ground, he considers it.

09:40 – Domenick Swentosky was on the podcast at WFS 305. He’s got a great blog that covers waters in Pennsylvania.

11:20 – Ross’s mom bought him a subscription to fly fisherman magazine on his 16th birthday. He started reading stories from Lefty Kreh and Gary Borger. He also bought VHS tapes about fly fishing. That’s how he learned to fly fish.

13:00 – Jim McLennan wrote for the Fly Fisherman Magazine. He owned the local fly shop in Canada where Ross lives. That became an inspiration for Ross to dream of writing for magazines.


16:30 – John Randolph, former Editor of Fly Fisherman Magazine, hired Ross in 1996. John interviewed Ross on the phone and Ross got assaulted. John used his other phone to call 911.

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18:30 – In 2009, Ross became the new Editor of Fly Fisherman Magazine. He was mentored and groomed by John to fill in for the Editor role.

21:00 – Ross mentions the dedicated people that work on their magazine like their Art Director, Sales Rep, Digital Editor, etc.

22:25 – Ross describes how their process of writing articles looks like from the magazine to a digital version

23:45 – George Daniel recently wrote for the magazine about Euro Jigging and also has a video demonstration – click here to read more

27:45 – Ross describes their conscious effort to highlight other species aside from trout. They also highlight lesser-known waters so that people would get off crowded waters.

31:40 – John Randolph got Dave Whitlock to do the first printed story for carp fishing

32:20 – I recently ran into Oliver White at the IFTD – he was on the podcast back in March 2019 at WFS 069. Oliver has been writing for the FFM for years.

34:30 – Hilary Hutcheson has been the top contributor to the magazine for the past 3 years. Ross describes how pleasurable it is to work with her.

35:25 – George Daniel was on the podcast at WFS 055. George writes a lot of how-to stuff.

36:10 – Blane Chocklett is also one of FFM’s top contributors. Read about his Musky article here.

37:10 – Landon Mayer does a lot of work in the Rockies, Colorado. Landon was on the podcast at WFS 295

38:30 – There’s always an opportunity to get your story in the magazine. You can reach out to Ross at and pitch your idea, why it’s interesting and why it should be in the magazine.

39:20 – They publish 3 annuals. One of them is called, Destinations, and it’s mostly about international fly fishing – it comes out every labor day

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40:30 – One of the annuals is called, Gear Guide, which comes out before Thanksgiving

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41:20 – And then the other annual is called, Fly Fishing Made Easy – a magazine for beginners

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48:15 – Ross talks about jungle fishing. He was on the Orvis Podcast with Tom Rosenbauer where they dug in more about jungle fishing.

48:45 – Blood Run: Fly Fishing with Amazon Warriors is a 90 mins documentary film by FFM – scroll below to watch this film

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52:12 – Ross talks about Indifly – a nonprofit organization that brings attention to some of the unknown fisheries in the world, partnering up with the local communities and making sure the locals benefit from the program.

58:20 – FFM comes out 5 times a year and 3 are already done as of this date (2022)

58:30 – Ross is excited about the Klamath Dam being taken down. It will be featured in their fall FFM issue.

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1:01:30 – Ross talks about the Deerfield River relicensing in Massachusetts

1:02:55 – George Daniel has a story coming out about “Controlling Your Loop” – Ross talks about it and some other things coming up for FFM

1:04:00 – Ross talks about the biggest FFM they’ve published

1:05:30 – They have a contributor from England that wrote “What Trout See” which talks about how trout’s vision works

1:07:55 – Costa Sunglasses not only makes awesome sunglasses but has been doing great things for the fly fishing community. Evan Russell from Costa was on the podcast at WFS 272.

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You can find Fly Fisherman Magazine on Instagram @flyfishermanmagazine

Website at

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Videos Noted in the Show


Related Podcast Episodes

WFS 295 – 7 Easy Fly Patterns for Trout with Landon Mayer

WFS 069 – Bonefish in the Bahamas with Oliver White

WFS 055 – George Daniel Podcast Interview – Joe Humphries, Musky, Euro Nymphing, Teaching


Read the Full Podcast Transcript Below

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Conclusion with Ross Purnell and The Fly Fisherman Magazine

So there you go..

If you have an idea for a story that you think would be good to put in the magazine, you can reach out to Ross at They always welcome fresh and interesting stories.

Ross is proof that dreams come true when you chase your heart. He loved reading fly fishing magazines when he was young and programmed his mind that he will one day write for the magazines, so he did. Law of attraction baby, it works!

Whatever it is that you see yourself doing, even though it seems so far from where you’re currently at.. just take that first step and focus on what you can do now. Keep that vision in mind but don’t let it overwhelm you. Trust the process and the rest shall follow!