Born in Greenfield Queens County, on the
South Shore of Nova Scotia, on the banks of the Medway River, June 23rd
1941 The doctor who delivered him came from Liverpool, a distance of 20 miles,
and was Salmon fishing with his father Lewis, when Bryant arrived, beginning his
lifelong adventure in the fly fishing world.
He helped his father tie salmon flies at the age of
five, his dad had lost his right arm in a sawmill accident and Bryant would hold
the hair for the wings, on the Macintosh flies (Rags) which were popular on the
river. his dad would wrap the thread around the butts of the hair, while
Bryant held the hair, after this was done, the job could be finished by his Dad.
At the age of 10, Bryant caught his first Atlantic
salmon while fishing alone, a 12 pounder, on a Silver Grey traditional (Feather
wing). In those days a Silver Grey purchased at the Hardy Bros shop
in England was the order of the day for wet flies, most fishermen on the river
in those days preferred the traditional feather wings over the hair wing flies
which are in present day fly boxes. Dry flies were the main attraction for
Atlantic salmon on the Medway after May 24th, pine squirrel wings and
peacock herl bodies, with a yellow, brown or white hackle would do the trick
with most salmon.
At the age of 14 in 1955 he became a Fishing guide on the Medway,
working out of the Freeman House Hotel, catering to the sports from the eastern
seaboard of the USA. After several years guiding with a regular clientele which
booked him every year, he made enough money to help put him through
telecommunications school in Saint John New Brunswick.
In 1956 Ted Janes, a writer for Field and Stream from the
USA came to the Medway and wrote a story on Atlantic salmon fishing,
this was carried in the True Fishing Yearbook 1957, the story was also
published in the Atlantic Salmon Journal, and the following year, it was
Published in the limited edition (1000 copies) by Colonel Joe Bates, The
Atlantic Salmon Treasury.
Graduating from Vocational on Feb 1st 1960, he began
working for C N Railway Telecommunications, on the road covering the hamlets of
Northern New Brunswick. In the back of his car was a fishing rod, hip boots and
flies he tied. He gained much experience fishing Atlantic salmon on the
Miramichi during these years,
hooking over 100 salmon most years. One
fly in particular caught so many fish that the hook wore thin, this fly is one
of his own makes, but without a name. until Paul Marriner wrote a book of fly
patterns called Modern Atlantic Salmon Flies, In this Book the fly took on the
He started tying the Traditionals (Classics) in 1967,
obtaining the book he calls his fly tying bible, “The Fly Dressers Guide” by John Veniard. His materials
came from Veniard’s in England, or Herter’s in Waseca Minn., in later years
from local shops like Frank Rickard’s Fly Shop in Riverview, WW Doak in
Doaktown, John Hopey and P A Furlotte in Moncton. He still has some of the
materials he obtained in those years, and checks them every once in awhile to
see if the quality is remaining the same. One thing he notices is the move to
genetic feathers, which in his estimation is striving for certain qualities in a
feather, most times the originals
and those untouched by genetics, prove to be more effective while fishing, while
genetics look good to the human eye, they do not prove to be as good in fishing
He left the fishing world for a period of ten years
while pursuing the sport of golf, in
1975, realizing he could not do both, came back to fishing and remains there
today. He comments, the fraternity is slowly dying with the advent of computers,
organized sports, and competition, the art of fly fishing and tying is slowly
making its way into history. Today most people who call themselves fly tyers, want to spin deer hair and make bugs which are effective for catching fish, they are not very appealing to the eye but are effective.
He tied flies for Frank Rickard and WW Doak and Sons,
making feather wings for several years, then in 1985 he decided to try a
little shop of his own, obtaining the materials and dyeing them, preparing them
for his clients, till present time. The name of this shop is Eskape Anglers, he
sells his flies and feathers world-wide.
Changes have taken place in the fly tying industry, the
beginning of the great classic rush, when Poul Jorgensen wrote, his first book
in the 1972, many fly tying enthusiasts began tying these dressed flies, making
a demand on materials, which still today keep supplies at an all time low.
The Demand for the larger feathers has created
pressure on species that provide the feathers, as most people wish to tie flies
larger than 2/0. Leaving the smaller feathers on the market, which will tie the
smaller flies. He ties all his fully dressed flies on a size 2 up to size 10,
and if a special order comes in for larger flies, he limits production to 200
per year in the 6/0 to 1/0 range..
He retired from his day job February 1st
1991, has been tying flies, and preparing feathers ever since. Gaining
international recognition in traditional
He has sold many flies at auctions, some frames are
donated to the Miramichi Salmon Association and the Atlantic Salmon
Federation or The Maine Public Television Network for their auctions for
conservation purposes. There is a waiting list for his traditional classics.
He is a past Director of the New Brunswick Council of the
Atlantic Salmon Federation Inc. A past president of the Nelson Hollow Salmon
Association, Past Executive Secretary of the NB Council of the Atlantic Salmon
Federation Inc., and past Secretary Treasurer of the Petitcodiac Riverkeeper,
he was the chief Editor of the NBSC, Barbless Butterfly. In
September 2007, he was inducted into the Miramichi Salmon Museum Atlantic Salmon
Hall of Fame. He also received the New Brunswick Lieutenant Governor's award for Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation in 2011..
He is Self-taught in fly tying, (other than assisting his
dad), he has picked up some valuable tips from Jerome Molloy and Scott Doncaster, and still today with social media he still gets tips which are valuable to his fly tying.
His motto is; do not tie the fly with too much hair
or feathers, keep the size small, a good fly is one which has character and
semblance, low wing and fishy looking. A fly which looks good in a fly box
usually is just that, (looks good in a Fly Box). His favorite Traditional fly is
the Silver Grey and his favorite fall fly is the General Practitioner, his all
time favorite swings between the Carters Bug, Rabbi, and Brown Rags.
He has fished the Restigouche, Margaree, Bonaventure, Grand Cascapedia, Upsalquitch,and all the
Miramichi Rivers, the Saint John, which he loved before they dammed it at
Mactaquac. The Salmon River and the Petitcodiac river in his home town, The
Kedgwick is also one of his favorite rivers. His home river, the Medway in Nova
Scotia has been closed to salmon fishing for years, due to stocks
being low, the result of Acid Rain which falls on the area produced from
industries in the eastern United States and central Canada. He returns there
every year when the Atlantic Salmon run occurs just to be there and rejuvenate
his desire to be close to nature and the salmon.
His plans for the future, is to keep going with some
feather preparation, as there is still
a Demand for specialized service and as long as he is able, Bryant will provide.
He loves dogs, hunted for many years, ducks being his
favorite, but has laid down his guns due to government regulations.
Has lived with the same woman for 50 years this June,
enjoying each others company, she has no interest in fishing He calls her "Sugar" a name which stuck from the TV series the Real McCoys of the 60's era. He is a
Father of a son, who works for the City of Toronto, his Daughter is a Chef for
the home for the aged in Boiestown, NB. He will never write a book as books lay unread, he is passing on his knowledge and passion for fly fishing to a lady called Amanda, who will carry on the tradition of teaching and preaching the effects of fly fishing on the human soul.
« Life is beautiful,
like a knot in wood
Life is good,
tasted from the palm
of your hand
Life is fragile, even if
you are king
Life is hard,
you know what I mean.
Love is beautiful,
you imprinted it on me
Love is good,
when bestowed by your hands
Love is heavy,
weighing on your backs
Love is brief
and knows nothing.
Death is mad,
meaner then the wind
Death is deaf,
like a corpse on a bench
Death is dark,
and laughs as it passes
Death is huge,
Death is full of life. »
reads Bryant Freeman “Therapy and Consulting for Fly Fishermen.”
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