Gregory Joseph Bennett

Gregory Joseph Bennett was born on March 9, 1920 in St. George, Newfoundland. His family moved to St. Martin, New Brunswick in 1929 where he has lived ever since. He is the son of the late Mary Alice (nee Bourgous) and Joseph Leonard Bennett.

Greg spent seven years in the army, and five of those years doing duty overseas in the Second World War. When he returned from the war he went to work in the woods as a logger. He spent many days driving logs on the river. He worked as a cook in the lumber camps, and was a Game Warden for several years.

He began fly-fishing in 1946, and started guiding in 1965. Among the many people he has guided over the years are the Right Honourable John Diefenbaker, the president of the Hearst Paper Company, Mitchell Franklin, actor Donald Sutherland, and Lee Wulff. Being an accomplished fiddle player really helped when it came to entertaining those special guests.

Greg started tying flies in 1960. He learned a lot from his sister, the late Rita Bennett-Parks. The first fly he ever tied was an Oriole. He obtained most of his fly tying material from the local domestic and wild animals.

People from all over Canada and the United States purchased his flies. His flies have been sold at the Canadian Tire Stores, Thorne's Hardware in Fredericton, and at the Salmon River Lodge. He sold flies until 1997, and many of his flies were presented as gifts to the late Right Honourable John Diefenbaker. Mr. Diefenbaker would also purchase Greg's flies to give to personal friends. Mr. Diefenbaker liked to fish with really large flies. "He wasn't all that good a fisherman, but he was always out there working hard," says Greg.

Greg remembers when the pools along the Big Salmon River were jammed with salmon. There were so many salmon that at times he thought he could have walked across the river on them. He has seen three to four hundred salmon at a time in the pools near the Salmon River Lodge. He doubts that he will ever see those days again. The clear cutting, and bulldozing around feeder brooks and streams releases so much silt into the river that it has drastic affects on the spawning beds. He also blamed the commercial fishery for some of the problems.
Greg supports hook and release programs. He faults the government for not providing enough fishery officers to effectively enforce laws that exist. He is angered by the justice system and how it bargains with lawyers to agree in reducing charges against poachers. In many cases the evidence is never heard until the plea of guilty is entered into a lesser charge. By this time the court has no alternative, but to administer the lesser fine, which in some cases is very minimal and acts as no deterrent to others breaking the laws.

Greg Bennett has spent nearly all his life in close association with the river. He is always kind to others, and does a good job at whatever he is asked to do. He has always worked hard and believes the hard work contributes to people living a long life.

Greg's favourite wet fly is the Green Cosseboom. His favourite dry fly is the Brown Bomber. His favourite fully dressed fly is the Silver Grey.

Greg caught his largest salmon, a twenty-five ponder, on a Brown Bomber, in July 1970 at the Rocky Brook Pool on the Big Salmon River.

Brown Bomber

Head: Black
Tail: Brown Buck Tail
Body: Natural deer body hair tightly spun and clipped into a cigar shape
Wing: Brown Buck Tail angled at 45 degrees out over the eye of the hook
Hackle: A single (or two) brown saddle hackle tied in at the butt of the fly and angled forward

The three flies in this presentation were tied by Greg Bennett in the early 1990s