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.


Carey 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 Lake.

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. 

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 Highlander


Flies tied by Carey Duplissea in the early 1990s