Carey Allen Duplissea
1921 - 2001
Carey Allen Duplissea was born on
March 5, 1921 at Bristol, New Brunswick. He was the son of the late Edith (nee
Jones) and David Dulpissea.
Carey was machinist and
schoolteacher. He worked as a machinist for many years in Bristol. The thirty
years prior to his retirement in 1981 was spent teaching, at the Bathurst High
School. It was while he was in Bathurst that he met well-known fly tiers
Sidney Jarratt and Frank Lewis. Until this time Carey was a self-taught fly
tyer. He tied superb hair wing flies and was perfecting his tying of the
fully dressed patterns. Sid and Frank helped Carey refine his talents with
the fully dressed patterns. Carey spent a lot of time at the vice with Sid.
“I’ve seen a lot of fly tyers and their flies over the years. I have the
greatest respect for all of them, but would have to say that Sid Jarratt is my
favourite fly tyer”, said Carey.
When Carey was only 12 years old he
caught his first Atlantic salmon. “I had an old seventy-five cent bamboo rod
that I rigged up with some makeshift guides that I taped on. I found an old
reel and line that was lying around and attached it to the rod. I took my
bamboo rod and made my way to the Saint John River in Bristol, fished hard and
was rewarded with a 5-6 pound grilse. I never forgot the experience, but I
can’t remember the name of the fly that caught the fish”, said Carey.
Over the years Carey fished just
about every river across New Brunswick, and caught many Atlantic salmon. His
largest salmon weighed twenty-five and a half pounds. That fish was also
caught on the Saint John River in Bristol in the late 1930’s. After catching
his first salmon with a fly you could say that Carey was hooked.
Allen Duplessia tying flies in 2000
He began tying flies in 1938. In
the beginning fly tying was a necessity. Carey, who wasn’t that financially
well off, got his first flies friends, or they were ones that he had found.
Back then flies cost thirty-five cents each, or three for a dollar, but that
was still expensive, so he began by gathering whatever feathers, fur and hair
he could get from domestic animals such as duck, chicken and squirrel. He had
some old salmon flies that he’d gotten from other anglers and he used them as
patterns when he began making his own flies.
As the years passed he became more
serious about tying. As his financial situation became more secure he began
to order materials from Veniards in England. He always found that Veniards
supplied the finest materials. In 2000, Carey told me that he still had
thousands of dollars worth of their materials in his basement that he
purchased from Veniards years ago.
It was so hard to get good
materials, especially when he wanted to tie the fully dressed feather wing
patterns. Decent materials were a lot more expensive, but if you had the
right materials to tie with the final product was well worth the money. It
was literally impossible to marry the feathers from poor quality feathers.
Just prior to 2000, Carey was in Houlton, Maine where he stopped at a tackle
shop. He was astonished to find some jungle cock capes there that were selling
for a hundred and ten dollars each.
Carey was an exceptional angler.
In his earlier years other anglers in the pool would put the run to him. He
laughs about it now, but back then some anglers struggled to catch a salmon.
Some anglers took it pretty serious and got a bit jealous when they were
shown-up by a young lad they considered still wet behind the ears.
Carey did a lot of fishing for
bass, landlock salmon and trout. Most of these fish were caught in Maguadavic
His favourite river for fishing was
the Southwest Miramichi, but he had great fishing on the Saint John River
until they constructed the Mactaquac Dam.
He did some freelance guiding, but
this was done mostly for friends on the lakes. He didn’t start guiding until
he was in his thirties.
When I interviewed Carey just after
he celebrated his 79th birthday in 2000, he told me that he has
never fished for Spring run (black) salmon. He said he read a report a few
years ago about some guy who hooked and released 38 black salmon. Carey
believed there is absolutely no reason for anyone to do such a thing. He
discourages that type of behavior by anglers because it can cause death to the
fish as a result of its struggle to get away. If he had anything to do with
the regulations he would have abolish Spring salmon fishing. The guides
should play an active roll in discouraging anglers from hooking and releasing
so many fish by those who want to do such an act, but he knows first hand how
hard it is to get cooperation from the people who are on the front lines. He
maintained that he found that out when he was President of the York County
Conservation Association for 10 years. When he tried to promote good sound
resolutions to government he was met with strong opposition from those who
really didn’t understand many of the issues. One such case was in the use of
barbless hooks, which he strongly supported the use of. Anglers who fish with
a barbed hook, but intend to release the fish, often play the fish for to
long. There are those who bring the fish in, grab it by the gills, hold it out
of the water and photograph it and finally release the fish improperly. Once
the poor fish is released it struggles to get to the bottom of the river and
is vulnerable to attack by eels that smell the fish’s blood from its injuries
brought on by the angler. Fishing a barbless hook allows the angler to hook
the fish deeper, and once the fish has provided the angler with a satisfactory
battle the hook will easily dislodge by allowing slack line.
Over the years Carey sold a lot of
flies to anglers. They sought him out because they respected the quality fly
he produced. They also sought his expert advice on salmon fishing. Carey
believed that the “Black Bear” salmon fly is one of the best salmon flies for
fishing with, but if fishermen had a fish that came but wouldn’t take he
always encouraged them to tie on a lime bodied “Cosseboom”.
Carey didn’t mind sharing his fly
tying and fishing secrets with others. He was extremely generous. Just to
give you an idea of how generous he was he was asked by a friend to let him
pick out some patterns that he wanted to use. The friend took 85 flies from
Carey’s collection of flies. Although Carey couldn’t understand why the
friend would want so many flies he allowed him to take them without a word
being said. Some time later the friend returned most of the flies to Carey.
Even if his friend kept them Carey wouldn’t have said anything to him. He
figured the friend needed them, or he wouldn’t have taken them.
Even though Carey believed the
“Black Bear” salmon fly to be the best hair wing fly, he wouldn’t discourage
any angler from casting a “Cosseboom”, Carey also liked the “Fred Grant
Special” that was originated by Fred Grant. He caught a lot of fish with it
and he personally knew Fred.
Whenever Carey went fishing he
always made sure he took along his favourite fully dressed fly, the “Jock
Scott”. Years ago he caught a lot of fish on the the “Jock Scott.”
Carey enjoyed other hobbies too.
He wrapped Boron Rods and dyed his own fly tying materials. He also taught
fly tying in Harvey.
Carey met a lot of wonderful people
during his life. Most of them were fly tyers and anglers. One of the greatest
people he ever met was the Rev. Elmer Smith. They were very good friends and
Carey thought the world of him. They worked together and experimented with
different flies and materials. Rev. Smith would get Carey to dye the feathers
he needed to tie the “Grey Ghost”.
Rev. Smith used to live and preach
in Portland Maine. He would trade parishes so he could get into areas where
there was good fishing. Bishop Nutter sent Father Smith to New Brunswick to
preach. At that time the fishing in New Brunswick was terrific. After 6
months had passed Bishop Nutter called him and wanted him to return so he
could go preach in a better parish. Rev. Smith wouldn’t go back. After a lot
of negotiating they worked things out and Rev. Smith got to stay in New
Brunswick, where he lived out the remainder of his life, doing what he loved
best, preaching, tying flies and angling. When Rev Smith died Carey had a lot
of fishing equipment that Rev. Smith once owned. Carey donated the equipment
to the Atlantic Salmon Museum in Doaktown, New Brunswick.
Over the years Carey tied and sold
thousands and thousands of flies. He sold them from his home and many stores
across the country. For many years George Doak in Fredericton stocked and sold
Carey’s flies. Just recently Carey filled an order for tandem flies for
fishing Landlock salmon.
Carey also met some strange
characters along the river. When he was young he met a guy from America who
caught four fish on a “Conrad” that Carey tied. The guy took the fly back to
Carey hooked fish for people who
would pay him a dollar for every fish he hooked. Another guy who was from the
University of Boston offered Carey an old cracked rubber line for hooking a
fish for him. Back then they were allowed 20-30 fish a week. To get money
for fishing material Carey would sell the fish to people in Bristol for ten
cents a pound.
Carey didn’t do much fishing after
2000. Most of his time was spent with his family and he would often go south
for holidays. He did figure that he would tie flies until the day he
died. He figured he wouldn’t tie as many as he used to when he was
young, but he figured he could tie them just as well.
Carey Duplissea’s fully dressed
patterns are a work of art. They are not only beautiful, but extremely
durable. He crafted them so they would withstand the test of time and also
endure the attack from the feisty Atlantic salmon.
Carey Duplissea passed away on
April 8, 2001.
#2 Jock Scott #2 Black Dose
#8 Durham Ranger #2/0 Green
Flies tied by Carey Duplissea in the early