Published Jan 14. 2012 - 12 years ago
Updated or edited Nov 28. 2020

#14 - Family Secret

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:...

#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."



Comment to #14 - Family Secret...

Darren, I have always loved this fly. I don't know why I have not attempted it yet. Seeing this pair, is gonna make me change that. Beautiful work!!

Comment to #14 - Family Secret...

Thanks for all the information on this beautiful fly. I'm always grateful for video. Such a great teaching/learning tool.

Comment to #14 - Family Secret...

Nice one buddy.

Comment to #14 - Family Secret...

Thanks Kelly It's fairly simple, but a nice one none-the-less.

Comment to #14 - Family Secret...

You're welcome. Video is a wonderful tool for us tyers.

Comment to #14 - Family Secret...

Thanks RB!


Log in or register to pre-fill name on comments, add videos, user pictures and more.
Read more about why you should register.

Since you got this far …

The GFF money box

… I have a small favor to ask.

Long story short

Support the Global FlyFisher through several different channels, including PayPal.

Long story longer

The Global FlyFisher has been online since the mid-90's and has been free to access for everybody since day one – and will stay free for as long as I run it.
But that doesn't mean that it's free to run.
It costs money to drive a large site like this.

See more details about what you can do to help in this blog post.