The Bekeart Special

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Bekeart Special.

Bekeart's Special |

It’s been awhile since I highlighted a steelhead fly. I found the Bekeart Special steelhead fly pattern in John Shewey’s book entitled Classic Steelhead Flies. If you haven’t had a chance to peruse this book, go to your local fly shop and see if they have it in stock. Otherwise, go to the link above and order it. You won’t be sorry.

Philip Bekeart was the son of Frank Bekeart who relocated to California from New York City to make his fortune in the California Gold Rush. Well, that didn’t work out too well, so Frank moved to San Francisco where he worked as a gunsmith. Philip bought the business from his father in 1890. He was well known for his target weapons and was a competitive shooter too.

Shewey offers more information about Bekeart’s gun prowess and the fact he was a well-known hunter and angler. Shewey references the book Trout Flies (1932) where the author, A. Courtney Williams stated the Bekeart Special was created by Bekeart. 

Shewey also makes a case that John Benn, one of the better known fly tyer’s at that time who lived in the Bay Area, may have created the fly and named it for Bekeart. Benn was known to be a prolific fly tyer and frequently named flies for people.

To find out the whole story, be sure to read it in Classic Steelhead Flies.

For more about John Benn, be sure to read my post – Benn’s Coachman.

Enjoy…go fish!


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My Fly Tying Desk

I’ve been back at my fly tying desk lately, tying flies for customers, adding fly pattern sheets to RiverKeeper Flies, and trying to find fishy-looking flies to fool fish.

A friend of mine asked about my fly tying desk and suggested it must be very well organized. After all, it’s where all the magic happens. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Fly Tying Desk 2017 |

My fly tying desk overflows at times. My wife has said more than once that when I pack up the vise and tools to teach a fly tying class or attend a demonstration fly tying event or Expo it’s the only time she can see wood on the table because the vise is absent! Continue reading

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The Brown Turkey

This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Brown Turkey, another fly from the Ray Bergman collection.

The Brown Turkey |

Since Thursday is Thanksgiving, the Brown Turkey was an obvious choice to highlight as this week’s TBT fly.

For some reason, I just like the elegance and simplicity of a Bergman wet fly. You can find the Brown Turkey wet fly on Plate No. 2, page 38 of Bergman’s book entitled Trout. 

If you are a regular at RiverKeeper Flies, you recall Bergman’s book includes colored plates to illustrate the dry and wet flies with a description of each fly in the back. It was the first book to provide color fly illustrations.

Here are a few other Ray Bergman flies I’ve included as Throw Back Thursday Flies: the Arthur Hoyt, the Babcock, the Blue Bottle, the Bostwick, the Bouncer, the Chantry, the Darling, the Mark Lain, the Mrs. Haase, the Rio Grande King, the Loyal Sock, the Silver Stork, the Walla-Walla, the Whirling Dun, and the Wilson Ant. (An easy method of finding all of them is to click on the words “Ray Bergman Flies” under CATEGORIES in the right-hand column on this page.)

The Brown Turkey


Brown turkey


Brown floss


Brown (palmered)


Brown turkey

Fly pattern as listed in Trout. This fly was tied on an older Mustad 3906 hook, size 10. 

Enjoy…go fish!


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2017 Fly Fisher’s Christmas List

It’s hard to believe Christmas is less than 5 weeks away! Face it, we’re into the holiday season.  This is the third year I’ve presented a few gift ideas for fly fishers and fly tyers. If you find something on the list you’d like to have, just pass this list onto your significant other so you can have a very Merry  Christmas! Here is the 2017 Fly Fisher’s Christmas List.

RiverKeeper Flies Note Cards

Note Card - Rainbow Trout 1 |

I’ll begin with fly fishing ideas and then list a few fly tyer ideas.

Please support your local fly shops, but if there isn’t one close, I’ve provided “hot links” to many of the product to ease your shopping. Continue reading

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Favorite Blue Wing Olive Imitations

I returned to the river yesterday looking for rising fish, which didn’t happen. What I found were a variety of bugs floating down the river without fish eating them. Most of them were blue wing olives (BWO), a small mayfly that can hatch almost any month of the year. That got me thinking about my fly box and the fact I needed to restock it with my favorite blue wing olive imitations.

BWO and Imitation |

I wrote a post entitled Blue Wing Olives a couple of years ago where I provided more information about the insects and imitations. I encourage you to give it another read. Continue reading

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Returning to the Fly Tying Bench

As I mentioned in last week’s Normal Fishing Season Ends post, someone flipped the switch on November 2 and the weather has dramatically changed. In fact, we’ve had a little snow recently. That tells me it’s COLD outside. In fact, it’s 26 degrees this morning as I finish this week’s post. So I’m returning to the fly tying bench.

I received an order for a few Beetle Bailey’s, which I finished, and because all the materials were on my fly tying desk, I decided to continue tying them and begin filling the provider box.

This is what 4 dozen Beetle Bailey flies looks like.

Dozens of Beetle Bailey Flies |

My wife doesn’t tie flies and I kid her occasionally that she should. Her response? “Why should I tie flies when you tie hundreds of flies each year?” I really can’t argue with that. Continue reading

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This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Dotterel.

Dotterel |

This is another fly I found while reading Mike Valla’s book entitled The Founding Flies – 43 American Masters, Their Patterns and Influences.

It was interesting to me as I read about Thaddeus Norris (1811 – 1878). He authored The American Angler’s Book (1864) and American Fish Culture (1868) and had a significant impact of fly fishing in America. Norris recognized the difference between British and American stream, rivers, and lakes as well as the insects that inhabited them. Most of the fly patterns used in America before Norris’s work were from England. 

Continue reading

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