Bruce James Waugh
Bruce James Waugh tying a streamer fly May 3, 2007
Bruce James Waugh was born in Sussex, New Brunswick on June 30, 1965 and is the son of Shirley (nee MacArthur) and Harry Simons Waugh.
Being the son of a travelling Baptist Minister resulted in a fair bit of moving around. Bruce lived in Kentville and Little River, Nova Scotia for a while then in 1972 his family moved to Hartland, New Brunswick. Hartland is where Bruce got introduced to fishing and fly tying.
Raymond Seeley and Jerry Newman, a Deacon for one of the churches, had a camp on a branch of the Main Southwest Miramichi River near Juniper. They used to take Bruce to the camp, and it was there he learned to fish for salmon and trout. It was also in Hartland where he saw his first fly tyer, an elderly gentleman named Frank Rickard. Back then Bruce was just a 12-year old kid and he didn't quite understand what all the fly tying fuss was about, but seeing the old guy tie flies was interesting and memorable.
In 1979 the Waugh family moved to Doaktown. This was the year that Bruce got a real introduction to the art of fly tying. It all came about very innocently when his father took him to the W.W. Doak Fly Shop, situated in the heart of the village. Bruce has no idea why his father went there, nor can he remember if he purchased anything, but the one thing he will always remember is the array of colours displayed in the hundreds of perfectly crafted salmon and trout flies on display. The experience had such an impact on him that he returned to the shop many times after that and to just watch the owner, Jerry Doak, tie the varied fly patterns in an identical format, one after the other. Bruce admits that it was at this time he became "hooked" on fly tying. Little did he know back then that twenty-five years later fly tying would be his profession and a way of life.
How did he get started? Less than a year later, in the fall of 1980, Jerry Doak gave a fly tying instruction course. The first one through the door to register was Bruce. After the course he purchased some tying equipment and began tying. He continued his visits to Doak's Fly Shop and this afforded him the opportunity to gather a lot more in- depth information and knowledge about tying flies and fly patterns from his mentor, Jerry Doak.
With his dedication and talent he quickly became proficient at tying flies. Jerry Doak took a liking to Bruce Waugh because he appreciated his honesty and recognized his fly tying talent. Jerry was looking for someone dependable and trustworthy and Bruce had what Jerry was looking for, and thus he hired him as a sales clerk and full time fly tyer.
Fly tying has always been strictly a business for Bruce. He took it serious right from the very beginning. His mentor instilled this attitude in him and he quickly learned that fly tying wasn't just an art, but was a respectable way to earn an income. The fly tying profession has been very good to Bruce and his family. His hard work and dedication to the art provides him with a decent income and it greatly contributed to paying his way through college.
As a professional fly tyer, Bruce avoids experimenting with fly patterns. He follows a very strict precedent, established over the years by the originators of successfully proven patterns, which anglers use today. He believes that to break the tradition will affect fly tying and angling by adding confusion and frustration for the angler. Many of the known patterns that worked well in the past continue to do so today; why change it? The angler knows what he's looking for. Many other fishermen over the years have told them. Its Bruce's job to provide the angler with the known pattern, tied as closely as he can possibly make it to its exact specification. He refused to tie a lone fly based solely on just another angler's conception of what a fish will take. To do so would be experimenting, and making the distinction between experimenting with a fly, or with the fish would be impossible to do.
Angling is every bit as important to Bruce as what fly tying is. If angling were stopped in New Brunswick it would drastically affect the economy and the livelihood of many people. Bruce depends on fly tying and angling and like most of the anglers in New Brunswick he is very concerned about the future of it. His opinions are varied, but he is strong in his belief that the results of studies by the biologists are being ignored by the people appointed to make the proper decisions regarding the preservation of the Atlantic salmon. He believes there are too many uninformed people making critical decisions about a resource they know little about. Some are content to rely on token gestures and a lot of hypocrisy. Bruce finds it unacceptable and very disturbing when you find out that conservation groups lobby to preserve the salmon here are later discovered killing salmon in Quebec. A step in the right direction to solving some of the problems would be for people to support river management teams
Bruce's favourite pool is the Doctor's Island Pool in Blackville on his favourite river the Southwest Miramichi.
His favourite hair wing fly is the green butt "Black Bear" and his favourite fully dressed salmon fly is the "Green Highlander".
In 1992 Bruce Waugh moved to the Village of Blackville where he presently resides with his wife, son and daughter.
Bruce continues tying flies for W.W. Doak tackle shop, which is nestled in the heart o the Miramichi River valley. www.wwdoak.com
(Tyer's Flies Appearing Soon)