Leslie Andrew “Mosie” MacLean
1904 – 1969
Leslie Andrew “Mosie” MacLean was born on July 6, 1904 in Tabusintac, New Brunswick. He was the son of the late Alma Alma Mary (nee Wishart) and George MacLean.
Leslie was well known for an expression that he used so frequently "Moses and Aaron" that he eventually inherited the nickname of “Mosie.” He lived all his life in Tabusintac working as a lumberman and guide for fishermen and hunters. He started guiding when he was 16 years old and guided on a regular basis for Jack Wishart. His guiding life was concentrated on the Bartibog and Tabusintac Rivers. He loved the Tabusintac more than any other river and he knew it like the bac
Leslie started tying flies in 1940. As a fly tier, he was very particular about acquiring the proper hooks. He purchased a lot of hooks from W.W. Doak in Doaktown, New Brunswick. The steel in them had to be just right. If the metal was too brittle, it might break; if the metal was too soft, the hook would bend and straighten, in both cases, causing you to lose the fish. A lot of the materials used for his flies were obtained from the animals in the immediate area. His children often caught squirrel and deer hair was easy to obtain. Leslie would dye the deer tails himself. He had one particular pet hen that was very unique in that her feathers had a certain design that was very beneficial to Leslie's feather requirements. The old hen was so accustomed to being snipped that when Leslie went to the hen house, the bird would squat and allow him to clip the feather that was required. That old hen was pampered and lived for approximately a dozen years, a sad loss when she died of old age.
Leslie started tying flies for his own use, but eventually did many flies for sports and outfitters during the spring and fall fishing. Being the only person along the Tabusintac who tied flies in the early 1940's, it was understandable why his flies were in demand. Leslie would never brag that his flies were ornate or fanciful, but that they were flies that caught fish. He would get his ideas for fly patterns from watching bugs or natural flies that trout and salmon would come up and grab as he was fishing or canoeing in the early morning or late evening. Some of his favorite patterns were the red body “Squirrel Tail”, yellow-body “Squirrel Tail”, “Smelt” and “Russell's Fancy.”
In the later years of his life, Leslie became stricken with Parkinson's disease. His big hands used to shake, but he could still clip and hold the materials for the making of a fly and tie it to a small hook. Leslie is remembered as a very gentle and generous man. When anyone stopped at his residence, the first words uttered would be in the form of an invitation to a meal. This regular and untimely announced invitation at times did not sit too well with Mrs. MacLean, the chief cook. When Leslie caught a fish, it was not uncommon for him to offer it to others who might be in need of a meal. That's just the way he was. The largest fish he ever-caught weighed 29 pounds. He caught it at Trout Brook Pool on the Tabusintac River. He took that fish on a yellow bodied “Squirrel Tail.”
Tag: Oval silver, or gold tinsel
Butt: Red, yellow, or green wool
Tail: Red hackle fibers
Body: Yellow floss
Rib: Oval silver, or gold tinsel
Throat: Black hackle
Wing: Red Squirrel tail
Flies tied by Leslie McLean in Early 1950’s