#14 – Family Secret

#14 Family Secret - Darren MacEachern
#14 Family Secret - Darren MacEachern

Tied by: Darren MacEachern
Originated by: Dr. Edgar A. Burke
Source: Streamer Fly Tying and Fishing; Bates (Pg 268-269)

Hook: Mustad 36808 #6
Head: Black
Tail: Between ten and twenty peacock sword fibers, depending on size of hook. The tail is long and very bunchy
Body: Medium flat silver tinsel. The body is somewhat thicker than normal since it must be built up to compensate for the bulge of the tail
Ribbing: Narrow oval silver tinsel
Throat: A bunch of guinea hen hackle fibers, rather thick and long
Wing: Four white saddle hackles
Cheeks: Jungle cock

Notes: The Family Secret, I must say is one of my all time favorite streamers, more so for the story of how it was named than the actual fly itself, although it is an excellent minnow imitation. There are a number of white winged streamers, and so this pattern is not too far off of the likes of the Dr. Burke it was based on, Welsh Rarebit or Silver Ghost. Below is the except from Joseph Bates book with the story of how the fly was named.

Except from Streamer Fly Tying & Fishing by Joseph D. Bates Jr.

“Originated by Dr. Edgar Burke, of Jersey City, New Jersey, who wrote to the author: “This is really a modification of the Dr. Burke Streamer and in my own opinion is a more universally useful pattern. First used in 1928 for landlocked salmon, it proved spectacularly successful and the best catches of big salmon and trout I have ever made were due to it. It is a good pattern for virtually all fresh water game fish, bass included, and it is particularly effective for large brown trout.”

In explanation of its name, Dr. Burke says: “During a sterile spell on the upper Kennabago River (in Maine), when none of the rods then on the stream had been doing anything for days, I had enjoyed excellent fishing. I was fishing the famous Island Pool when another angler, accompanied by his guide, appeared on the footpath, obviously much disappointed to find the pool already occupied. The guide, whom I knew well, called out to me, ‘Do you mind if we watch you fish for a while, Doctor?’ I, of course, assented. I was taking one good fish after another. This, in view of the prevailing non-productiveness of the river, was too much for the guide. Unable to contain himself, he yelled out, ‘For Pete’s sake, Doctor, why fly are you using?’ In a bantering tone I called back, ‘That’s a family secret, Jim!’ Whereupon my own guide, Dick Grant, seized my arm and said, “There’s the name for your fly!’ and so it has been, ever since. The little incident narrated above, to the best of my recollection, was in 1928.”

Darren MacEachern – Darren has been fishing from the age of 4 all across Canada. He started on the east coast in Prince edward Island before moving west to the banks of the Bow river in Calgary Alberta. he now resides just outside of Toronto, fishing the Great lakes and the fine tributary waters around.
Daily Fly Tyer | Streamers 365 | Fly Fusion
[visit Darren’s streamer page on Streamers 365]

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