Chamberlain’s Lure is another of the Canterbury lures popular with anglers fishing the lower Selwyn River and Lake Ellesmere back in the halcyon days of that fishery prior to 1950 before its rapid decline into what is now a shadow of its former self. A.P. Chamberlain lived at Lakeside near the shore of Lake Ellesmere.
Many of these old ties are no longer available commercially. One of the reasons the home fly-tier is at an advantage. I have used jungle cock eye feathers on the flanks of my Chamberlain’s Lure. Though it makes for a handsome fly such an addition would have been unlikely on most lures because such feathers were very expensive in those days. However, they certainly were used at that time by those who could afford such imported luxuries.
Chamberlain’s Lure I would class as a night fly perfectly suited as an imitation of a large bully to match those still found in the lower reaches of the Selwyn River. It is also a good choice as a night lure for big sea-run brown trout in the lower east coast Canterbury rivers.
Tail: Red whisks. Body: White Chenille. Rib: Flat or round silver tinsel. Wing: 2 or 4 black hackles trapped under the ribbing Matuku style. Cheeks of male paradise duck. Head; Black. Throat hackle in black (optional). I prefer to use the B175 Kamasan – Heavy Traditional Trout hooks which have been chemically sharpened, or Black Magic B2 lure hooks. When fished in the lower Rakaia River you might also take a salmon or kahawai as well as a big sea-run brown trout.
I suspect that being frugal the creators of these early Canterbury lures decided to use materials like paradise duck feathers because they were available locally for free, or could be had very cheaply such as peacock sword for instance. This makes more sense than paying for expensively imported plumage especially if it caught trout just as well.