#23 – Allen’s First Choice Var. (Cains River)

#23 Allen's First Choice (Cains River) - Bryant Freeman
#23 Allen's First Choice (Cains River) - Bryant Freeman

Tied by: Bryant Freeman
Originated by: Oscar Weber
Source: Streamer Fly Tying and Fishing, Bates – Pg. 243, 245

Bryant’s Allen’s First Choice Variation
Hook: #2 sproat hook
Tail: 2 sections of barred wood duck feather
Body: Medium flat silver tinsel
Wing: 2 purple hackles flanked by cream bader hackle on each side
Cheek: Jungle cock
Collar: A few turns of badger hackle dyed orange and badger hackle dyed yellow
Head: Black

Original dressing as per Bates for Allen’s First Choice
Hook: #2 sproat hook
Tail: 2 sections of barred wood duck feather
Body: Medium flat silver tinsel
Wing: 2 French blue hackles flanked by cream bader hackle on each side
Cheek: Jungle cock
Collar: A few turns of scarlet hackle then a few turns of rich yellow hackle
Head: Black

Notes: Bryant offers a slight departure on the original so I wanted to also include the original dressing as well as Bryant’s. Oscar Weber designed the fly and named it for Mr. Harry Allen. In a letter to Joseph bates, he explains that Harry had leased the Cains River and had supplied equipment and guides for the Cains River trip. The series is most notably set apart from other streamers by its use of the barred wood duck tails and vibrant colors.

The Cains River style of streamers was popularized by Fred N. Peet and C. Jim Pray and have become known to be effective lures for sportfish such as Atlantic salmon, steelhead, Pacific salmon and pike as well as a range of saltwater targets. Some general notes when tying this style are outlined in Joseph D. Bates book, Streamer Fly tying and Fishing.

On all Cains River streamers all wing hackles are of the same length. When a two-color- collar is called for, the rear color should be twice as heavily dressed as the forward color. Two or three turns of tinsel should be taken around the bend of the hook below where the tail is tied in. The heads are mostly varnished black. Mr. Pray used regular number two sproat hooks, although the flies may be dressed on hooks 2X or 3X long. Nearly all the series are similar in design.

Bryant has provided the project with 6 examples of the series and they will be available for sale as a group near the end of the project.

Bryant FreemanBryant Freeman – Born 1941, on the Medway River in Nova Scotia, started tying flies in 1946. Tied flies commercially for WW Doak and Sons, and Frank Rickard. In 1968 Began tying full dressed feather traditionals, and started his own fly shop In 1984 (Eskape Anglers). Inducted in the Miramichi Salmon Museum Hall of Fame in 2007.
Eskape Anglers
[visit Bryant’s streamer page]

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