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.
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
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
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
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
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
(Flies To Follow)