Cyril Edward Elliott

1906 - 2001

 

Cyril Edward Elliott was born on March 10, 1906 in Hereford, England. He was the son of the late Gertrude (nee Ellioman) and Wilfred Elliott.

Cyril Edward “Little George” Elliott at his tying bench in November 2000

 Prior to coming to Canada in 1926 he worked as a Gilly on the River Wye in SE Wales & W England.  He started guiding at the age of 16 and the year prior to leaving England he guided an older lady on the River Wye who caught a 60-pound salmon. It is believed that the salmon still holds the record for being the largest caught by a female on the River Wye.

When George first arrived in Canada he worked on a farm in northern Ontario. He then moved to Toronto and worked as a mechanic’s helper at a garage. He also worked as a carpenter and painter until he joined the army.  He did his tour of duty in Italy, France and Sicily.  He served in the Transport Section with the 1st Anti-Tank, 90th Battery from Fredericton, New Brunswick.

While in the army he met a gentleman named Leigh Hathaway from Plaster Rock who told him about New Brunswick.  The stories about fishing and hunting in New Brunswick reminded him so much of his homeland that he wanted to go to Plaster Rock. It was also during his military career that he adopted the name of “Leavit to George”.  That would change however when he reached New Brunswick.

In 1947 he arrived in Plaster Rock where he met Mr. & Mrs. Hedley Priest who provided him with a place to room and board.  The friendship between George and the Priest’s strengthened and he lived with them the remainder of their lives.

George Elliott was not a big man.  He stood slightly more than five feet tall and couldn’t  remember ever weighing much more than a hundred and ten pounds.  But in his younger days he was as fleet-of-foot as a white tail deer, and he was good with his hands.

  In Plaster Rock his size was something that stood out and thus it gave way to his renaming as “Little George” Elliott”. The nickname was applied without any intent to insult or embarrass George.  It was just something that happened.  He never took offence to the nickname. 

His interest in fly tying first came about when, as a young boy, he would visit Herbert Hatten’s Tackle Shop in Hereford, England.  He would stay there by the hour watching and studying how the fly tyers there fashion the old English and Scottish fly patterns.  Before long he began tying his own and discovered he had a natural gift for tying flies. 

After he moved to Plaster Rock he became an avid angler.  He traveled around the provinces of New Brunswick and Newfoundland with Mr. Hedley Priest fishing many rivers for salmon and other species of fish. He loved the Tobique River above all others, but thoroughly enjoyed fishing the North Branch of the Southwest Miramichi River.  He also did a bit of guiding for Charles Barker in Riley Brook.     Angling for Atlantic salmon required a varied assortment of salmon flies and thus he began tying more frequently.  By 1950 he was tying a lot of flies.  He tied many of the flies for personal friends as well as his own use, and he also sold many flies, but he wasn’t a tyer who enjoyed tying bulk orders for resale.  He found most his customers along the many rivers, streams and brooks where he fished.  He was forever meeting fishermen who were interested in purchasing the flies he advertised through conversation. For a couple of years he sold flies to W.W. Doak. 

While on a fishing trip on the Patapedia River in Quebec a tackle shop owner in the area discovered George's fly tying talent and hired him to tie flies for his shop for the next seven years.   When I asked George to tell of everywhere that he sold flies he responded, “Precisely, I’ve sold them everywhere”.  In the early 1990’s he stopped tying flies because of poor eyesight.

 George’s favourite hair-wing fly was a “Silver Cosseboom”.  He liked to tie the “Silver Cosseboom” with a red floss and peacock herl butt.  This pattern is called the “Bill Elliott Special” and was originated in the early 1970’s by William “Billy” Elliott from Plaster Rock. George’s favourite fully dressed pattern was the “Green Highlander”.

            When I talked to “Little George” in November of 2000 he was still living in Plaster Rock.  He told me that he always enjoyed sharing his memories about fishing and fly tying with close friends.  Age hadn’t yet stopped George from going to the river.  He said that over the summer he fished some on the Southwest Miramichi River at Quarryville, New Brunswick.  He found it every bit as enjoyable to just sit with friends and relive the memories he accumulated on fishing, guiding and fly tying over the past 80 years. He was content with that.

            Cyril Edward “Little George” Elliott passed away in 2001.

 

Bill Elliott Special

 

Tag:      Oval silver tinsel

Tail:      Red

Butt:     Red floss followed by another butt of peacock her in an equal proportion

Body:   Flat silver tinsel

Rib:      Oval silver tinsel

Wing:   Gray squirrel tail

Collar:  Yellow hackle

Head:   Black

(Flies To Follow)