James “Jim” Forret
Forret, better known as “Jim”, was born on December 15, 1913, at Kirkcaldy,
County of Fifeshire, Scotland. He is the son of the late Ann (nee Horsburgh)
and Andrew Forret.
In 1928 the
Forret family immigrated from Scotland to St. martins, New Brunswick, and in
1932 they settled permanently in Saint John. The Forret family were farmers
all their life. “Jim” married in 1934 and worked on a farm for E.A. Schofield
in Bloomfield, New Brunswick.
Second World War Jim worked at the dry dock in Saint John, and after the war
he became the manager for the farm of the New Brunswick Protestant Orphanage,
a position he held until 1955. he then went to work at the Kinghurst jersey
Farm and Dairy in Rothesay, New Brunswick.
Jim has fished Atlantic salmon for more than fifty years. His salmon fishing
is concentrated on the Big Salmon and Hammond Rivers of Kings County. Hi fly
fishing began when he purchased a dozen flies for twenty-five cents each. He
went to thecovered bridge located on the Big Salmon River. “I broke every
hook I had on the abutment of that bridge. I didn’t realize I was hitting it
on my back-cast. A friend gave me a few more flies, but I lost them. I
figured that if I was going to go that many flies I wouldn’t be able to afford
to buy them”, said Jim.
Jim Forret tying flies in 1995
In 1954 Jim
purchased a fly tying book written by Helen Shaw. There was no one along the
Big Salmon River tying flies that he knew of, so he couldn’t get any help
except by studying the instructions in the book and by picking up a lot of
pointers along the way, which eventually helped him become proficient enough
at tying flies. It wasn’t long before his friends and others were going to
Jim and purchasing his flies. For a number of years he tied exclusively for
the well-known New Brunswick fly tyer Warren Duncan in Saint John.
Jim only ties
hair wing salmon flies. He specializes in the tying of “bug” series of flies
made of deer hair. These flies are his favorite to tie, and his favorite to
fish with. However, he also likes other hair wing flies including the
“Butterfly” and “Rusty Rat”. Jim has created some of his own patterns that
were successful, but he never bothered to name them.
places to fish include the Amateur Pool and the Whirlpool located on the Big
Salmon River. He also has a great love for the Hammond River. He remembers
catching two large salmon there, each within an hour, one afternoon. He
caught them on a “Hammond River Bug”, a fly originated by Les Sommerville,
living in that area.
On December 15,
2004 Jim celebrated his ninety first birthday. When I interviewed Jim on
January 21, 2005 he told me that just recently he quit tying flies because of
poor eyesight. He taught fly tying to the Hammond River Angler’s Association
until the late 1990’s and gave classes on the art of fly tying to more than
two dozen students each week. What a remarkable contribution he has made to
preserving the art of fly tying in New Brunswick.
During his lifetime Jim Forret has seen a lot of changes take place with
respect to angling. He sees a lot more people fly fishing, people who want to
experience the thrill of hooking and landing a “silver torpedo” the Atlantic
salmon. His wish is that people would keep conservation in mind and he
encourages hook and release so one day children, and children’s children might
enjoy the same pleasure of angling. “Don’t forget to put it back. You will
feel better later on just knowing that you contributed to enriching and
preserving the sport of fly fishing in the future”, says Jim.
Flies tied by James Forret Mid 1990’s