#165 – Allen’s Last Chance – Cains River Series

#165 - Cains River Allen's Last Chance - Bryant Freeman
#165 - Cains River Allen's Last Chance - Bryant Freeman

Tied by: Bryant Freeman
Originated by: Oscar Weber
Source: Streamer Fly Tying and Fishing, Bates – Pg. 243 – 249

Bryant’s Variation
Hook: #2 Partridge CS17 Ken Baker
Tail: 2 sections of barred wood duck feather
Body: Medium flat gold tinsel (original has silver body)
Wing: 2 blue (French) hackles flanked by gray Plymouth Rock (grizzly) hackles
Cheek: Jungle cock
Collar: A few turns of grizzly hackle then a few turns of blue (French) hackle
Head: Black

Notes: This is another streamer designed by Mr. Oscar Weber in the Cains River style. It was named for Mr. Harry Allen, a prominent angling figure on the Cains. Mr. Allen was an outfitter and hired a group of handpicked guides each season. An article from a 1928 Montreal Gazette mentions Mr. Harry Allen and his incoming group of 16 sportsmen to fish and camp along Cains River at the start of what was expected to be one biggest influx of US fishermen the province had seen.

One other interesting bit to mention is from an interview of a former hire of Mr. Harry Allen’s. John A. Brophy believed that Harry Allen was the first fly fisherman to catch a salmon on Cains River in the nineteen twenties. He goes on the mention that while Mr. Allen was targeting trout, a piece of grass had become caught up in his fly just prior to hooking the salmon. Based on the success of the accidental streamer, a new pattern was fashioned and dubbed the “Allen Streamer”, this is said to have touched off the outfitting business in the Blackville and Cains River areas.

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 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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