Beefcake Stone

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Photo by Bob Reece

By Bob Reece

As the winter snows of the Rocky Mountains begin to thaw, a change is set in motion.

The landscape breaks loose and emerges from a crisp exoskeleton of winter. For many fly fishers the pinnacle of this yearly change is the transformation of Pteronarcys californica. Most fly fishers have some familiarity with spring salmonfly hatches that proclaim the beginning of a new season on many of western North America’s freestone rivers and streams. While the salmonfly emergence is one of fly fishing’s most compelling events, success during this time is not guaranteed and often depends of the design of your flies.

The Beefcake Stone is the epitome of a match for this hatch.

IMG_20170405_211337_490While the body of this pattern is rigid, its appendages move easily. The Sexi-floss antennae and tail fibers, along with round rubber legs provide the fly with actively twitching limbs. Tantalizing action is paired with realism by knotting all of the legs. This nicely mimics the prominent leg joints in the adult Pteronarcys. Aesthetic appeal is crucial but without durability it is meaningless. Zap-A-Gap is essential when working with the foam elements of this pattern. It should be applied any time two foam surfaces are placed in contact.  At the core of this pattern is the sturdy Tiemco 2499BL. This hook sticks and stays, using an upturned point design to prevent itself from being shaken loose. Its sturdy construction and short shank provide the security to land large fish in high flows that often accompany this event.

Triumph in fly fishing is often signified by a successful meeting of fly and fish. The expectation of this is rarely greater than when you’re standing in the midst of a salmonfly hatch. Don’t leave triumph to chance. Try a Beefcake Stone and find success in the midst of chaotic beauty.

Watch this video and learn to tie Reece’s Beefcake Stone.

For more tying videos like the one above, click on the link below:

To buy pre-made material kits for the Beefcake Stone and other patterns, click on the link below:

To step up your tying and fly fishing game, connect with Bob Reece are your Fly Coach through the link below:

Bob Reece
Gink & Gasoline
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3 thoughts on “Beefcake Stone

  1. One interesting point about salmonflies I have noted over some 45 years of fishing for them is that the pattern really doesn’t matter all that much. Size, profile, and some legs seem to be most important. But, even legs aren’t all that important as the Sunken Stone catches fish. In the early 70s, on the Deschutes in Oregon, an all orange bucktail or an Improved Sofa Pillow (later copied identically by Koffmann and called Stimulator) took a fish any time you put one in front of a riser. And, on the Madison, in Montana, in June, an all black fly works just as well as the other popular patterns I have tried over the years. Today., same thing holds, with about any fly you find in the shop “salmonfly bin.” If you find a rising fish, give it 30 seconds to chew and swallow, and it is usually ready for the next offer passing by. And, despite reading words like “voracious” and “without fear” the fish still prefer a nice quiet, drag free presentation floating near their holding point.

    • Fred,
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It sounds like you’ve had some great Salmonfly experiences over the years. I would agree with you, that during a hatch many fish will take a properly presented fly that matches the size and profile of a Salmonfly. However, not all fish are that willing. During my years on the water, I’ve seen ample refusals to patterns that fall into some of categories that you mentioned above. The refusals most commonly come from larger fish who, even during this hatch for whatever reason, display a more selective feeding behavior. These situations were my motivation for creating this pattern and its proven a worthy venture. I think that a lot of it comes down to what each fly fisher is looking to get out of their time on the water. The grab any fly out of the bin approach works for some and not for others. That’s one of the beauties of fly fishing, its creates a plethora of niches for an equally diverse array of preferences and goals.

      • I wish I could post a picture of the fly I have fished on the Madison for the past three years…you would roll over laughing, but it works. I take a Sunken Stone and knot three six inch strands of black/gold fleck bass spinner skirt on the fly. So, you have six, three inch long, dangly legs, hanging down, moving around in the drift. The fish love it. Best to you.

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