Darrell Bentley

Posted by Phil Lilley on March 9th, 2012
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I was born in a house on the banks of the Spring River at Mammoth Spring, Arkansas, and spent my growing up years on the river fishing for trout, smallmouth, goggle eye, walleye, perch, drum, catfish and basically anything that swim. I started tying my own fly patterns at the age of nine. Because of the pheasant and chickens raised by my father, and the sewing box of my grandmother I never lacked for thread, hackle, and great feathers for my patterns.

After a tour of Viet Nam I returned home to work in law enforcement. I worked as a deputy sheriff in Oregon County Missouri for twelve years before becoming a Missouri State Park Ranger. I spent time patrolling and fishing the Eleven Point River in Oregon County while I worked there. I also started fishing Bass Tournaments at Lake Ozark, Grand Lake, Barkley & Kentucky Lakes, Truman, Smithville, & Real foot.

During the time I was fishing the bass circuit I invented and patented a docking tool for the marine market. The Doc-Loc was eventually sold to T & H Marine and is now known as part of the Dock Edge Products. I enjoy taking an Idea for the fishing industry and turning it into a working product to help the angler get the most enjoyment of their sport.

I moved to Montauk in 1983 and started work for the Missouri Department Of Natural Resources as park ranger until 2010 when I retired and started working at Reeds Cabins & Tackle. Since starting to work there I have helped to implement a fly shop to the tackle store. Over the past three years it has grown to be one of the most well stocked shops in the area. I have turned my love of fly tying and trout fishing into a full time job. I tie up new patterns of flies in which I give to the anglers to test, and then test them myself. If the patterns work well or great at catching fish I then send them to a supplier for exclusive production for the shop. I have three patterns which are being tied on a national broadcasted television show.

I take pride in introducing a young person to the sport of fishing and fly fishing. I work with the Kids Free Fishing event furnishing baits, flies, tackle to the kids. I also give free casting lessons to both children and adults all they need is a wish to learn. I am a member of the FFF, and currently working on starting a Current River Chapter.

Fishing the Current River, Eleven Point, Taneycomo, Little Red, White River, Piney, South Fork, Spring River, Bennett Spring, Roaring River, is where you can find me on any day I have time. Over the years I have guided on the Current River and Spring River, but I have cut down except for kids wanting to learn fly fishing. I charge nothing for a child who wants to catch their first fish on a fly rod. The smile on their face is enough payment for me. The smile on an adult face when they walk into the shop after I have gave them a tip on what the fish are biting on and they have had a great day fishing is a pleasure also.

I enjoy introducing anglers to the art of fly tying, I have found that when an angler catches the fish on his own hand tied pattern he feels more reward than when it was a production fly. The pride in showing a trophy fish and being able to tell people that it was caught on “My own Pattern” is and should be something to be proud of. I do believe that the children are the future of the sport of angling in America. Ethics should be taught to them in hunting and fishing at an early age.

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