"If I could send a message to others with respect to the importance of our
rivers, salmon, angling, fly tying and guiding I would have to say that my
diatribe on this could be long and overblown, but to make it short anglers must
realize fly shops, small or large, are incredibly important to the understanding
of a river, to the promotion of the sport, and to free exchange of knowledge and
we must support them. The internet will not fix your reel, tell you which pool
is best in low water or what chicken feather would improve your fly."
Scott Andrew Doncaster was born on May 4, 1972 in Amherst, Nova Scotia and is the son of Joyce and Darrell Doncaster.
Fly tying for Scott Doncaster started in 1994. When asked why and how he became interested in the art of fly tying he jokingly admits that at the wild and restless age of 22 he and a friend got tired of wasting their time drinking every weekend so decided to take up fishing as a more productive way to spend their days.
His girlfriend at the time, now his wife, bought him a fly-tying kit for Christmas. Not long after this he was introduced to a fly rod by his sister's boyfriend and of course he dove headfirst into the sport of angling. A short time later he decided to tie his own flies. At that time he didn't know anyone in the fly tying community so spent the rest of the winter studying the fly patterns in the small L.L. Bean fly-tying book in the kit. This was followed with the challenge of finding a source for fly tying materials. In the beginning he worked with the materials in the small fly-tying kit. He sought resources and eventually located a little fly-tying shop in Amherst, which was run by the Ripley family. As his tying ability progressed he began experimenting with the more intricate and difficult fully dressed fly patterns. It was at this time that he found Bryant Freeman, owner of Eskape Anglers in Riverview, New Brunswick. From that day on his hobby of fly tying became his passion and obsession.
Over the years he's devoted countless hours to learning the art of fly tying and along the way met many talented and experienced tyers. Of the fly tyers he has met he has never favored any particular one tyer over the other, but accepts and appreciates everyone of them for their individual talent and is always eager to try and learn from them all. He will admit however that if he had to choose one tyer who has had a lot of influence on him he would choose the two-time World Champion Fly Tyer, Jerome Molloy from Saint John, New Brunswick. Having a private fly tying lesson with Molloy was responsible for improving his fly tying immensely. Bryant Freeman has also made a tremendous impact upon him with because his integrity and knowledge in all aspects of fly tying and angling.
After working in the grocery business for a few years Scott decided it was time to make a change. He had honed his fly tying skill and had the confidence where he realized he could use that skill as a means of earning an income. In 1999 he began selling his flies commercially and continues to do so throughout Canada.
Doncaster's favorite fully dressed fly pattern is the "Jock Scott" because it requires so many materials and to fit them all on the hook is indeed a tremendous challenge. His favorite hair wing patters is the "Rusty Rat" because when it was invented it was a style that was not seen at the time. It introduced a new look to a fishable salmon fly. It also has a great story behind it.
Scott's thoughts on developing new patterns are simple. If you are going to do so you should try to find a new material. So many flies that are supposedly new have all the same characteristics as patterns from the turn of the century using all the same materials, so are they really new? But by using new materials flies act differently and can truly be deemed new patterns. "I have had success with a pattern I developed which uses Arctic Runner hair. It's called the SD Desperation. It was brought out of the box without a name and was only used when a fishing companion had caught three salmon and I was still struggling to hook one. The "SD" stands for my name, the "desperation" my state of mind. I ended that day with two fish. Not enough to catch up to my friend but enough to make the drive home bearable", says Scott..
Scott Doncaster is a humble individual, a non self-promoter, who shies away from the recognition he deserves as a recognizable up and coming fly tyer in the next generation. In the past he has resisted being the subject of newspaper articles or television stories even though he has been asked numerous times. Scott is the first to admit he has lots to learn and can always improve. He doubts if he would ever be at a point where he could feel comfortable being declared an expert fly tyer. Recently he received a silver medal from the FQSA in the Featherwing Creation Category and a bronze medal in the Hairwing Category.
Doncaster's not a bad angler either considering he first tried fishing when he was 21-years old. About a half hour from his home in Amherst, Nova Scotia is a little river called Phillip River. This is Scott's favorite river because it is where he first started fishing and he knows it very well. In the Fall of 1996, while fishing along his favorite river he caught his biggest fish. "I was fishing alone about mid-morning when I hooked the fish. Shortly after hooking it I realized it was a big fish. I was trying to figure out how I was going to get it landed, but lucky for me two gentlemen appeared on the wooded path and offered their help. By chance they also had a set of scales and measuring tape with them. The beautiful hen salmon weighed 22-pounds. I caught her on an "Ally's Shrimp", said Scott.
Scott is the current President and an active member of a river group in Nova Scotia that focuses on Cumberland County River Enhancement, a project to help preserve the rivers in Nova Scotia, which are at great risk.
Scott lives in Moncton with his wife Vanessa and son Judson.