Speakers

Jim Bensinger is a former Marine and the owner of Fiber Flies Dubbing. Obsessed with all things fly fishing—and especially fly tying—Bensinger has developed a line of materials derived from Alpaca. This material is perfect for dubbing. Amateur fly tyers will love it. Bensinger also serves as the Assistant Project Lead for the Quantico Program for Project Healing Waters in Quantico, Virginia. He’s lead hundreds of fly tying classes, and is especially gifted at bringing along those new to fly tying into the fold.


Jeanine Blair was born and raised in Missouri, where her uncle taught her and her brother Joey how to fish. (The siblings have since passed their love of fishing onto their own children, who enjoy it just as much as they do.) Blair lived in Atlanta for 25 years, where she and her husband raised five girls; today she makes her home in Texas City, where the plethora of water feeds her fishing appetite! Blair runs her women’s fishing group Fishanistas, which boasts well over 1000 members from around the globe. Fishanistas has fueled Blair’s mission to share her passion for fishing and to get more women–especially women of color–on the water. We are pleased to have Jeanine as a special guest at this year’s Beyond the Cast Women’s Fly Fishing Symposium. Be sure to say hello to Jeanine, and stop by her booth and check out Fishanistas!


Lee Blanton was born in north Alabama surrounded by many of the finest warmwater fisheries in the United States. Today he resides right here in the Metroplex. Fly fishing for years, Blanton is familiar with fisheries all over north and central Texas. He is a pro staffer for Winston Fly Rods, Ahrex Hooks, and Regal Vises. On the weekends, he may be found tying and teaching at Plano’s Dirty Water Fly Co. Blanton credits Dave Whitlock, Kelly Galloup, Tommy Lynch, and Andreas Andersson as major influences on his tying styles and techniques. He specializes in deer hair bugs and other useful flies that fish anywhere and everywhere.


When residents of Albuquerque need help, they dial 911. When Albuquerque firefighters and paramedics need help, they call Maia Dalton-Theodore. With degrees in her field from Washington and Jefferson College (Pennsylvania) and the University of Hawaii, Dalton-Theodore came to New Mexico from Fairfax County, Virginia, where she was the behavioral health coordinator for both the fire and rescue and sheriff’s departments. Today she serves as the Behavioral Health Director for Albuquerque Fire & Rescue, where she is building and administering the newly created Behavioral Health Program. She also administers the fire chaplains program and oversees the clinical supervision of the Peer Team and the Family Assistance Team. Dalton-Theodore works regularly with Albuquerque firefighters and paramedics and their family members who are struggling with stress, depression, and substance abuse. At the 2023 Texas Fly & Brew’s first annual Beyond the Cast Women’s Fly Fishing Symposium, Maia Dalton-Theodore will speak on “How Not to Be Stressed, in a Stressed out World”.


Kirk Deeter is the editor-in-chief of Trout Unlimited Media, including TROUT magazine, and TROUT Digital.  He’s also the editor of Angling Trade, the business-to-business media group that covers fly fishing in North America.  A long-time editor-at-large for Field & Stream, he is the author of several books, most notably The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing. His work has also appeared in WiredOutsideMen’s JournalThe New York TimesUSA TodayGarden & Gun, and many other publications.  Known for his offbeat, “out there” story angles, he’s covered fishing on five continents and three oceans, from the tip of Tierra del Fuego in Argentina to north of the Arctic Circle in Russia, from the Tasmanian highlands to the Amazon jungle. He lives in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, with his wife, Sarah.


Photo by Jay Nichols

Pat Dorsey is the head guide and co-owner of the Blue Quill Angler fly shop in Evergreen, Colorado where he has guided for 30 years. He oversees and trains more than 25 guides, setting the standard for integrity and professionalism in the Blue Quill Angler guide operation. Dorsey also, maintains an online stream report that monitors stream flows and conditions for the Blue, Colorado, South Platte (Cheesman, Deckers, Spinney Mountain Ranch, and Elevenmile Canyon), North Fork of the South Platte, and Williams Fork Rivers. Dorsey is an accomplished fly tier and has originated a number of very effective patterns such as the Mercury series, UV scud, Limeade, Cherry-Limeade, Paper Tiger, Top Secret Midge, Medallion Midge and the famed Black Beauty. Although Pat Dorsey no longer has the time to tie flies commercially, he once produced over 28,000 flies in a year. Dorsey is a fly designer for Umpqua Feather Merchants. His signature flies are available at the Blue Quill Angler and other specialty fly shop throughout the United States. Pat Dorsey is also a Pro Team Member for Whiting Farms. Many of his flies incorporate Whiting Farm products. Don’t miss his specialty class Fly Fishing Tailwaters it has limited seating for availability check here.


Pro fly-fishing guide Jon Easdon is Director of Services for Colorado Springs-based Angler’s Covey, where he designs and oversees guided trips and classes. A signature fly tier for Umpqua Feather Merchants, Colorado native Easdon fell in love with fishing at the tender age of four and cast his first fly rod on the South Platte River as a 12-year-old. He has cut his teeth deciphering some of the most technical fisheries in the state. Whether it’s a day of fishing in Cheesman, chasing big fish in South Park, or exploring our trophy stillwaters from a kayak or boat, Easdon can put anglers on fish. He will be tying his Umpqua Feather Merchants signature pattern, the Blindside midge, at the 2023 Texas Fly & Brew.


Willard Franklin is a man on a mission. As the owner of Four W’s Outdoors, his passion is to promote safety in the outdoors, and making it a welcoming place for everyone regardless of their background.  Franklin knows what every good sportsman knows, getting more folks interested in the outdoors is good from a conservation stand point, but this takes time. He knows in order to introduce new people to the outdoors, they need someone to come alongside them and show them the ropes. Franklin has been doing this for years, and has taken hundreds of folks hunting and fishing for the first time. From taking women on their first duck hunt, to teaching children how to fish,  Four W’s Outdoors is there for anyone that wants to learn. Franklin is working closely with the National Safe Boating Council, and other organizations like Take Me Fishing. Don’t miss Franklin’s class this year and learn what you can do to keep yourself and the ones you love safe while in the field or on the water.


Bill Gammel is the author of A Sportsman’s Pursuit: Finding Christ, Family and Friends in the Outdoors. He is known for his casting abilities. He has been fly fishing all over the US for the last 45 years and has been a fly casting instructor for 35 years. Gammel is best known for his writings and videos on the essentials of fly casting. He is a volunteer instructor for Good Fly. 


Born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Heather Gehrke grew up fishing that region’s famed estuaries. A physician assistant, Gehrke connected early in her career with Casting for Recovery (CfR), a not-for-profit organization focused solely on women with breast cancer. Upon relocating nearly 15 years ago to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Gehrke continued serving with CfR; today she is the North Texas Retreat Leader. Gehrke, her 11-year-old daughter, and her husband are all dedicated fly anglers with deep expertise in fly fishing, overlanding, and the outdoors. We are pleased to have Gehrke join us as a Lead Angler at this year’s Beyond the Cast Women’s Fly Fishing Symposium.  


Jerry Hamon is an avid fly angler, fly tyer, and dedicated kayaker as well as the past president of both the Texas Council of Fly Fishers International and the Mariner-Sails Kayak Fishing Club. He’s also a certified Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Angler Education Area Chief/Instructor. Hamon’s wildly popular class “A Man, A Fly Rod & A Kayak” will be offered at the festival in cooperation with Mariner-Sails. Hamon runs River Crossing Fly Fishing School and Guide Service out of his home on the beautiful Brazos River in Central Texas. He will also be giving instruction on the ins and outs of kayak fishing at the Beyond the Cast Women’s Fly Fishing Symposium.


Fifth-generation Texan Grahame Jones has fished the lakes, rivers, and bays of Texas and Mexico for more than 40 years. A strong and vocal proponent of wildlife and fisheries conservation, habitat improvement, and access to public lands and waters, Jones served as a Texas Game Warden for 27 years and retired in 2020 as the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Director of Law Enforcement. He is a past State Board Member for the, Coastal Conservation Association current State Chair for Texas Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, and received the 2020 Sam Beasom Conservation Leader Award from the Texas Wildlife Association. Jones is deeply involved in promoting the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act and recognizes the importance of recruiting new anglers who understand how state wildlife agencies fund much-needed fisheries habitat improvement projects. In October 2022, Jones was appointed to serve a four-year term on the TPWD’s Coastal Resources Advisory Committee. Through All Waters Guides, Jones offers guided fishing trips on many Texas Hill Country waterways including Lake Travis, Lake Austin, Lake Buchanan, Lake LBJ, Lake Bastrop, Canyon Lake, Lake Decker, the San Saba River, and the Llano River. Don’t miss his talk on fishing Texas lakes for largemouth bass at this year’s festival.


Mitch Kempe is a full-time guide for Fatties on the Fly, based out of Granbury, Texas. After picking up a fly rod on his annual Colorado family vacation, Kempe quickly fell in love with everything that went into catching a fish on a fly. Once he brought fly fishing back to his local lakes, ponds, and rivers, the real fun started. Kempe’s favorite part of being a full-time guide is having the opportunity to watch how excited people get when they set the hook on a fish, which reminds him of why he fell in love with the quiet sport in the first place. When he’s not running guided trips, you can usually find Kempe chasing carp up and down the Brazos or at home with his amazing wife and his three beautiful daughters.


His father introduced Steve Maldonado of Evergreen, Colorado, to the outdoors as a child, and he has been fishing ever since. He is an Umpqua Signature Fly Designer with numerous patterns to his credit, including Maldo’s Trico, Maldo’s PMD Emerger, and Maldonado’s Jungle Junkie. He is also a pro staffer with Semperfli, Regal Vise, Scientific Anglers, Ahrex Hooks, and Solarez. A huge saltwater angling fan, Maldonado has fished all over the United States as well as Belize, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and Canada. He is passionate about fly fishing and fly tying and teaching others to match the hatch and learn to tie flies. Be sure to watch Steve as he teaches our attendees how to tie streamers for big trout.


Julie Mattson, owner of On the River Fly Fishing Guide Service, has been chasing trout since she could hold a fly rod. Mattson began her career in Alaska and then returned home to Montana before relocating to the year-round fishery in Oklahoma. Because of her more than 20 years of experience guiding, she was selected to participate in this year’s Ask a Female Expert panel discussion. Be sure to stop in and listen to Mattson as she shares her guiding experiences.


Wayne McGee‘s lifelong dream has been to run a world-class fishing operation on a prolific river system in Alaska’s Bristol Bay. Luckily for his many clients, McGee’s dream came true! For the past 18 years, McGee has fished across Alaska–including his “home water,” the Alagnak River, where you’ll find his Alaska Trophy Adventures Lodge. McGee doesn’t limit his fishing to Alaska, though: he has pursued everything from tigerfish and Nile perch in the Congo and Nile Rivers of Africa, to Atlantic salmon and sea trout in Norway and Scotland. In a former life McGee owned a charter boat company based in Senegal, West Africa, where he chased blue marlin, tuna, and sailfish. Today his heart is firmly fixed in Alaska’s Bristol Bay and the wild Alagnak River–and he’s eager to share the region’s beauty and bounty with you!


Seven years ago, Amy Milne began volunteering with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF), which serves nearly 6,500 disabled veterans and injured, wounded, or ill service men and women through the ongoing therapy of fly fishing. Milne was the Regional Coordinator for the Heartland and Program Lead in St. Louis for five years before joining the PHWFF staff, first as a Program Manager for the Central Sector and later as the Assistant Operations Officer. Today Milne is the PHWFF Director of Operations. She has had the opportunity to teach fly tying and casting on video calls and through in-person events with the Missouri Department of Conservation, The Mayfly Project, and of course PHWFF. Milne enjoys watching newcomers to the sport learn to overcome their fear of fly fishing, embrace new outdoor skills, grow in confidence, experience healing, develop relationships, and find peace on the water. Milne can generally be found near a fly-tying vise, on the water, or in a fly shop. Milne will be a special guest and speaker at the Beyond the Cast Women’s Fly Fishing Symposium luncheon.


Tina Murray has been a fly-fishing educator for three decades and fishes extensively for multiple species. She organizes Wisconsin Women’s Fly Fishing Clinics and pioneered an intensive high school conservation program called Project Green Teen for at-risk teens in Madison. Tina is the Equity and Diversity & Youth Ed coordinator for Southern Wisconsin Trout Unlimited and a winner of multiple awards including the Joan and Lee Wulff Conservation Award and the Field and Stream Hero of Conservation. Tina owns Shenanigans Fly Fishing, which specializes in helping men and especially women have safe, comfortable outdoor experiences that build confidence and competence. She recently started a Women’s Leadership Institute, which trains women in problem solving, communication, teamwork, and leadership skills. We are delighted to have her as a special speaker at this year’s Beyond the Cast Women’s Fly Fishing Symposium.


Texas native Steven Palmer grew up fishing for bass and bluegill with his father in the creeks and rivers around Dallas-Fort Worth. Summer trips to Colorado were his introduction to fly fishing–and the rest is history. Today Palmer is the fishing manager for Orvis and teaches numerous fly-fishing and fly-tying classes. He still loves to fish locally but has branched out to pursue gar and carp along with nontypical species all over the world. Palmer has run the hosted travel program at Orvis Plano, taking participants to popular locales as diverse as Bolivia, Montana, Belize, Louisiana, and Iceland. He enjoys offering casting instruction and helping students overcome any bad habit they’ve developed on the water. New to fly fishing or don’t know where to begin? Be sure to sit in on Palmer’s “Fly Fishing 101” class.


Tom Rosenbauer has been a fly fisher for 50 years and was a commercial fly tier by age 14. He has fished extensively across North America, in England’s fabled chalk streams, on Christmas Island, and in the Bahamas, Belize, Kamchatka, and Chile. He is credited with bringing bead-head flies to North America and is the inventor of the Big Eye hook, Magnetic Net Retriever, and tungsten beads for fly tying. Rosenbauer has some 20 fly fishing books in print including The Orvis Fly-Fishing Guide; Reading Trout Streams; Prospecting for Trout; Casting Illusions; Fly Fishing in America; Approach and Presentation; Trout Foods and Their Imitations; Nymphing Techniques; Leaders, Knots, and Tippets; Dry-Fly Techniques; The Orvis Fly Fishing Encyclopedia; and The Orvis Fly-Tying Guide, which won a 2001 National Outdoor Book Award. Salt, Rosenbauer’s collaboration with photographer Andy Anderson, also won a National Outdoor Book Award in 2014. He has been published in Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, Catalog Age, Fly Fisherman, Gray’s Sporting Journal, Sporting Classics, Fly Rod & Reel, Audubon, Men’s Journal, and more. His latest book, Fly Fishing for Trout—The Next Level, was published in November 2016. Rosenbauer is the writer and narrator of “The Orvis Fly-Fishing Guide Podcast,” one of the top outdoor podcasts on iTunes. Rosenbauer has worked for the Orvis Company for 44 years in a variety of capacities. In 2022 he was awarded Fly Rod & Reel’s Angler of the Year Award for his many educational efforts in books, magazine articles, and his podcast. He lives with his wife and son in southern Vermont on the banks of his favorite trout stream. We are delighted to have Tom Rosenbauer join us this year to teach a variety of specialty classes with limited seating. Check back this fall to learn more about how you can register for his exciting classes. If you’d like us to notify you when Rosenbauer’s classes become available for registration, please send us an email at Fishutopia@comcast.net.


Allen Rupp has been tying flies for almost 34 years. Growing up around the District of Columbia, his first fish on the fly were Potomac River smallies. Rupp now owns and operates Fly On The Water, and while he lives in New York City, his flies have caught fish all over the world–from Belize, Chile, Canada, Mexico, and the UK to Colorado, Montana, New York, Wisconsin, and beyond. Lately saltwater fish–and especially snook–have been taking up most of his time. Rupp was a close friend and was mentored by the late Dave Whitlock and ties many of Dave’s patterns. This is Rupp’s second appearance at the Texas Fly Fishing & Brew Festival, and we are pleased to have him. He’ll be teaching a salt water fly tying class, and tying flies and doing demos at his booth throughout the weekend.


“Just a sista who loves to fish” is how Jaz Robinson describes herself on her growing Instagram profile. Known as Castaway Jaz, the Dallas area resident is sharing her newfound passion for fishing with a growing audience. She’ll be the first to tell you she’s no expert, but she’s happiest when she’s sharing what she has learned with others. She loves finding fishing spots close to home, and caught her very first fish at Lakeside Park in Duncanville, which is a Texas Parks and Wildlife Neighborhood Fishin’ location. Jaz’ reputation is growing and she has been featured in Southern Living, Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine, and WFAA-TV. She’s working toward buying her first fishing boat, and hopes to one day compete as a pro angler. She will be one of our Lead Anglers in this year’s Beyond the Cast Women’s Fly Fishing Symposium.


Joan Swartz grew up in Atlanta and spent her youth camping and fishing in the North Georgia mountains with her family. Her mother, an early advocate for women in fly fishing and a founding member of Georgia Women Fly Fishers, remains her leadership role model. Before retiring from IT consulting, Swartz lived and worked in London, Paris, and Bruges before settling in Austin. Since retiring, Swartz has focused on giving back: She is a volunteer fly fishing instructor and river helper for Casting for Recovery retreats, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Aquatics Education instructor, and a graduate of Sweetwater Travel’s guide school. Although she’s been a self-admitted “trout snob” for over 40 years, Swartz rejoined Texas Women Fly Fishers in 2020 and has learned to fish for every warmwater and saltwater species available. When she’s not fishing or tying flies, Swartz is spending time with her husband Peter and her two teenage boys, fostering neonatal kittens for Austin Pets Alive, playing electric bass with The Velvet Joanz and 3 Short, and creating culinary delights–and failures–in the kitchen. We are pleased to have her as a Lead Angler at this year’s Beyond the Cast Women’s Fly Fishing Symposium.


Phil Tereyla grew up in Colorado Springs, fly fishing the South River and playing ice hockey in his free time. He began guiding full-time on the South Platte River during college at the University of Northern Colorado, graduating with a degree in history and going to work as a contributor with American Angler magazine. He is currently at work on his second book. Tereyla is at home on every section of the South Platte, but odds are you can find him getting his clients into the large trout that live in the famed Dream Stream. At the 2023 Texas Fly & Brew, Tereyla will discuss material from his first book, Flyfisher’s Guide to Colorado’s Easy Access Mountain Lakes, and tie his Montana Fly Company signature fly, the lightspeed leech.


After moving to Boulder, Anh Thai began fly fishing in Colorado’s Front Range streams almost four years ago. Her passion for the outdoors goes hand-in-hand with exploring new waters for wild trout and testing the new fly patterns she has developed at her vise. Although she fishes and ties flies year-round, introducing others to fly fishing and fly tying are her favorite pursuits. Along with teaching fly-tying classes at local fly shops, Anh hosts her own tying classes with Uncharted Outdoorswomen and Colorado Women on the Fly. She believes there’s no better feeling than sharing an inclusive, safe space with like-minded individuals who come together to learn a new skill, swap knowledge, and encourage each other. When Anh isn’t exploring new waters or tying flies, she can be found mountaineering, climbing, birdwatching, foraging for wild mushrooms, or building and restoring bamboo and graphite rods. Be sure to check out Anh in the Featured Fly Tiers booth at this year’s festival.


Tim Urtiaga discovered fly fishing at a very young age and quickly decided he wanted to share his love for the quiet sport with others. Over the years Urtiaga has successfully guided many clients to beautiful trout on New Mexico’s famed San Juan River. After catching a few monster Northern pike on the fly, Urtiaga was himself “hooked”—and began to offer the only guided fly-fishing trips for Northern pike off of a boat. Urtiaga, who has been featured in Field & Stream and American Fly Fishing, is trying to raise awareness of Northern pike, abolish the catch-and-kill rule, and increase conservation efforts to protect this species. Urtiaga opened Eagle Nest Fly Shack in Eagle Nest, New Mexico, to provide a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts with the gear and equipment they need to become independent anglers. The Fly Shack, which really did begin as a shack beside an old gas station, thrived and grew until Urtiaga expanded to include more space and even lodging. Today Eagle Nest Fly Shack and Lodge offers eight hotel-style accommodations as well as guided fishing with four different experienced fishing guides.


For 16 years Dallas-based casting instructor, fly fisher, and fly tyer Rex Walker has been helping people improve their fly casting skills.  He has worked with many of the region’s fly fishing clubs, at fly fishing events across Texas, and with both Reel Recovery and Project Healing Waters. Walker is a Fly Fishers International-certified instructor and the fly casting coordinator for the Dallas Fly Fishers.  When not helping other fly fishers, Walker can often be found on Lake Texoma chasing black bass and striped bass on the fly.


Greg Welander is a manufacturer’s representative for major fly fishing brands like Norvise, Thomas & Thomas, Dagon Apparel, Seigler Reels, Sight Cast Fly Fishing and many others. He’s a lifelong angler who has been fishing since he was four years old; he started tying flies not long after. Growing up in San Antonio, Welander has fly fished for everything from stripers on the Red River below Lake Texoma to redfish in the Lower Laguna Madre to bass in local Texas Hill Country streams and lakes. He has been a fly-tying instructor and licensed guide for over ten years. Welander regularly guides clients on the Brazos River and its tributaries in North Texas where he lives. You can follow Welander’s fly fishing journey through Upstream on the Fly.

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For more information contact Festival Director Beau Beasley at Fishutopia@comcast.net, or call 703-402-8338.