Father’s Day 2018

Jack V. Nicholas, circa 1956 0132

Dear dad.

Just a quick note to let you know that my life is good, family is well, and I am blessed with many wonderful friends. Yes, I know that the term “wonderful” is generally over-rated, and I in particular probably use it a little too often, but I’ll also say that when I use the phrase I try to be very conscious about what it means—full of wonder—in a good way.

Dulcie Joan Nicholas circa 1958 0142

I’ve been composing this letter in my head for weeks now, and finally sat down to the computer to write it today. Paragraph after paragraph crafted, edited, rewritten and then—deleted.

Jay and Dulcie Nicholas circa 1955 0109

You were the adult in the room, I was the child.

Jay Nicholas fishing circa 1954 0217

If I had one wish it would be this: I would go back in time to a day in the spring of 1968. I would be home for the weekend with my friend Steve Thorstead. We would be wearing our orange OSU crew shirts and packing up to go back to Corvallis.

 Jay Nicholas in OSU Crew shirt, circa 1968 0244.jpg

 I would ask Steve to give us a moment alone. I would stand you and mom side by side. I’d look at each of you carefully, so that I could remember you forever. Then I would give each of you a long hug, hold each of you by the shoulders, and tell you not to worry. “I’m going to be just fine,” I’d say. “I’m going to be father to two fine children who will make their way in life,” I’d say. It will take a while, but I will find love. “I’ll work hard, be blessed with the support of many good friends, and I’ll fish,” I’d say.”

Steve Thorsted, Jay Nicholas, and Dulcit NICHOLAS circa 1968 0242
 

“Thank you for loving me and getting me started. Dad, thank you for introducing me to fishing. Mom, thank you for the hours you sat in the car, alone, in winter near Heidelberg, while I cast my Super Duper in that pond, hoping for a trout to tug on my line.”

Jay Nicholas and Jack V Nicholas on Metolius circa 1964 0207

 “I’ve got to get going now, but please remember, every day, I love you and everything is going to be OK.”


 
Yup.

That’s what I’d say.

Jay Nicholas, June 16th 2018

Good Morning Facebook

 

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I almost NEVER look at my Facebook feed. Did it this morning. Made the trip from happy to sad and back. Considered opting out—again. Decided not to. Facebook is like life. There is joy and despair in the world, our community and our lives. Not realistic to ignore the aspects of life that I don’t agree with.   Ideas and opinions that I find disappointing are agreeable and bring joy to others.  Life is never simple. Friends are complex individuals. I’ll stay, hoping that an occasional post shared from this blog to Facebook will bring something good to a few people, like-minded or not.

On this Memorial Day, I share my wish that each soul on this earth will experience something good — and that some unpleasantness will be resolved or if necessary, endured.

The future is ours to build.

Jay Nicholas May 28 2018

 

In Memoriam – my friend Norm Norlander

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My dear friend Norm Norlander passed on recently, leaving me with a heavy heart and the urge to head to my fly  bench where I devoted several hours tying some of my favorite summer steelhead wet flies on the NORVise Norm developed years ago.

Jay Nicholas Summer Steelhead Flies Macks Canyon

I first met Norm two decades ago as I struggled to learn how to use his rotary vise. A few phone calls later, Norm kindly walked me through the basics of his vise and the Nor Bobbin’s clutch feature and I was off and running.

Jay Nicholas Summer Steelhead Flies Moose Baby

Thank you Norm. I miss being able to pick up the phone and continue planning  our upcoming trip to dory fish at Pacific City this year.

Jay Nicholas Summer Steelhead Flies Green Butt

The flies shown in this post are a few of my favorite summer steelhead patterns tied with my NORVise.

Jay Nicholas Summer Steelhead Flies Stargate Blues

 

Jay Nicholas Summer Steelhead Flies Boss

Norm’s contribution to the fly tying fly fishing industry are many, — I’ll always remember his kindness right alongside his willingness to help us all strive to be better tyers and people.

Jay Nicholas – May 2018

 

 

 

Catching up – April 20 2018

  1.  heading to the Spey Clave for a brief visit today with Garren Wood.

2. Boomer and Gracie are getting along very well. Our family is blessed to be able to care for their every whim, Our folder of cat photos is larger then my folder of fly and fish photos.

Jay Nicholas Boomer and Gracie

3.  Fished with Bob Hooton. Hope to see more of my friend in months to evolve. I remember when I put coolers of ghost shrimp on the greyhound bus in Coos Bay to ship to Bob in corvallis so he could fish for the early runs of summer steelhead in the Santiam system. This was in about 1978 and 1979. Wow. The fishery has sure changed since then.

Jay Nicholas and Bob Hooton Pacific City a

4.  Fished with my friend Mikhail Skopets from Russia. Good time. Safe travels Misha and come back to fish again, Maybe we will catch a springer next time.

Jay Nicholas and Mikhail Sopets at Pacific City

 

5.  Dinner at cabin with friends Ed, Guido, and Misha. Crab dipped in garlic butter at midnight. Rockfish and spaghetti dinner. Stories told and corrected for the record.  Good times but I was up waaaaaay to long after my bedtime.

Jay Nicholas with Guido Mikhail and Ed at Pacific City 2

6. sketching – adipose on a male chinook

Jay Nicholas Chinook 07122016 4

 

7.  Fly photography. These are favorite summer steelhead wet flies.

Jay Nicholas Summer Steelhead Traditional Flies copy

 

9. Looking to the future and completing Salmon Fisher’s Journal. It will be done in its own time. Progress is good but slow. The end result will be stunning.

Thanks for everyone’s well wishes and patience. My best right back to all of you. I expect fo fish a lot in the next several months, spaced in with family time, work on the Journal, fly tying videos, and lord knows what.

May your time here be filled with kind people, flies, and fishing, and whatever brings you joy. Share your joy please.

Jay Nicholas – May 20 2018

 

How are we today?

 

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How’s Jay?

Well here we go once again with most likely way more than anyone is interested in but I’ve learned that there are a few very kind people who follow this blog or maybe even stumble into these rants who find a laugh or a tear or a nugget of wisdom or surprise in these disjointed thoughts and take the energy and time to send me an email or text or post a comment thanking me so here goes and yes I didn’t get out of bed this morning until six AM which is waaaaaaay later than the 3:30 or 4:00 hour that usually sees me holding the handrail very carefully as I step slowly downstairs and plop myself in front of the computer to begin my day and guess what I’m often already dressed for the day because of the wonder of sleepin jeans and sleepin simms flannel cold weather shirts which my son David tells me could be the next big money making venture across the globe for men of my age who decline to wear stained grey sweat shirts and similarly stained grey sweatshirts but alternatively choose unstained levi’s and flannel shirts to wear virtually 24/7 however one big as far as I can tell is that all of us don’t need to purchase specialty garments labeled as sleepin’ jeans because we are perfectly comfortable already right now and have been for months or years with sleeping in our regular jeans and flannel shirts so why on earth should we want to go out and spend our rapidly shrinking cash reserves on clothes we already own and yes if you happen to be like me among the retired work force who are still working because health insurance costs so dang much and inflation although is small always always out paces cost of living ha ha ha ha retirement funds so what the heck we’ll just keep right on sleeping in the jeans and flannel shirts we already own but excuse me for goin’ on so long about this I did want to mention that I finally yes after more than a year of procrastination published the SECOND EDITION of Book of Revelation the Ultimate Irreverent Fly Fishing Glossary and oops I may have broken protocol by using capital letters for the book but ain’t going back to correct this breech now anyway the second edition includes several hundred new definitions and terms, and new original sketches and a very nice foreword by Matthew Supinski and low and behold I by chance of the universe I recently talked to a formerly complete stranger who lives in California and learned that he not only enjoys the glossary himself but so much so that he has purchased several of these to serve as gifts for his fishing friends and of course this made me smile a very big smile because for one the glossary is a book that I worked on for YEARS and of which I am very pleased that I took the time and effort and more and more realize that there is NOTHING like it out there in the book-o-sphere even remotely like it and by this I mean that there are no similar books on the commercial market that capture the lunacy of what it means to be an angler and in particular a fly fisher and honestly ever time I pick this book up and flip through the pages I can’t help but wonder just who the hell wrote it because my ability to free associate in an outrageously silly manner seems so greatly diminished these days that I sincerely doubt that I would be able to persevere and create the content to define over fifteen hundred words and phrases related to fishing and fly fishing and then sketch nearly five hundred accompanying illustrations for the dang book and on my best days maybe I could but a close examination of the content tells me that this was a once in a lifetime literary ha ha accomplishment for this guy and ya know this may be true for most of the books I’ve written with one exception the two intruder fly books as a case when the second book built on the first and actually carried a more sophisticated philosophy and content and technique and fly recipes than the first and darn it at times I wonder if I should dump intruder essentials and only keep advanced intruder strategies on the bookshelf but hell I’ll just let them both live for now at least and since I seem to be on the topic of books yes work on salmon fisher’s journal is proceeding very very well but very very much slower than I had hoped or predicted or even suggested but damn it I am not about to sacrifice quality of the final product for meeting an arbitrary time table so what has taken so darn long well for one thing the content has been edited and condensed and critiqued and reworked again and again and again until I am finally satisfied at least to the extent that means I’m exhausted with the revisions and ready to let it go but of course it will receive a final proof at the bitter end and there will be a few pages that will receive a little more agonizing retrospection and the changing of a few words to get the message as close to right as I’m able and we are in the process of laying photo images into the design now and there will be the usual number of switch outs or substitutions and there are still flies that have not been photographed yet and whoa the process of photographing flies is not nearly as straight forward as anyone would ever imagine until the fateful day when said anyone person actually tries to photograph flies especially chinook flies and finds out that their purple, pink and blue comets look great digitally but their hot orange and fluorescent chartreuse comets are so washed out as to be a complete mess and fluorescent flame red chenille almost always blurs out because it is too bright but oh well my own photography leaves much to be desired but my friend scott is a professional and is graciously donating his time and expertise to produce really great fly photo images thank goodness so yes the book is on track and will be first cabin when it is printed but I really cannot imagine that this will occur in less than three months but I’m not about to budge on quality oh oh have I said this already oh well that’s just how it is and I will add that my heart is still heavy over the fact that one of my friends or should I say one of the men who I have and still want to consider a friend and so forth became so distraught that they wrote an anonymous letter that in thinly veiled terms threatened me and lisa and my family with what could only be interpreted with harm unless I did NOT publish salmon fisher’s journal and I can tell you redacted so here’s the deal I wrote some stuff about how I felt about the letter and then flat out decided to delete it because who cares anyway and I hope it was one of my friends who suffers from severe mood swings when they have consumed too much mood altering substance(s) and transforms from a genuine friend into a tortured wounded very alone individual who lashes out in his pain but I may carry my own sadness over this incident to my grave unless the man has the courage to come to me and tell me they did it and then I’d probably say I understand and thank you and let’s get on with our lives and let the incident lay on the trash heap of salmon paranoia and not allow it to taint the good parts of our relationship OK enough of that oh yes I had two Saturday evenings in the ER and was in the hospital for three days last week and then redacted but now I am home now with my family and appreciate seeing how each day goes and redacted blah blah blah and oh yes where winter steelhead fishing is concerned this was close to a no-show with me fishing maybe 6 or 7 days swinging flies on the upper nescucca and trask and earning several pulls but if you fish for steelhead you know exactly what I mean by use of the term pull and understand that it could have been a forty-pounder or a twelve inch cutthroat so  I’ll just say that I was honored to be able to get out and wade and climb up and down the steep river banks and not break a leg or have my heart seize up and make a few casts and have an overall satisfying several days even without doing any steelhead catching and so I’ll now report that I just returned from my usual hour long walk at the gym on the treadmill at 2.2 miles per hour and feel just fine so there you have it and here I go into the day and I think I wanted to say something about being so very grateful for the genuine friendship that some very ordinary and very at the same time exceptional people have extended to me and when I say friendship I realize that this word is conditional and much misunderstood and overused and one example is Facebook an environment where people can have thousands or tens or hundreds of thousands of friends and followers and likes and all that crap but in reality how many genuine authentic friends can any of us ordinary humans have and nurture at one time anyway well in my way of thinking the actual number may be as small as two dozen or less than a dozen or ever less than a half-dozen at any one time of course I do have some friends who I do consider genuine friends who I may not see for years at a time and we still do have I think a real bond that is independent of the fact that we have been apart for so long and we are able to pick right up where we left off but on the other hand and again in my own particular case I probably interact on a regular basis with less than ten people at any given time and these of course on a practical basis receive the vast majority of my personal energy and I do wish I had more of this magic energy and time to spread around further but I do not and so there it is some of the people I do consider my friends have expressed on one hand that they felt like I didn’t value them and maybe on the other hand they wondered if I was mad or angry or disappointed with something they did or said and if you think I’m kidding I’m not there are two friends who told me they thought I was angry at them for some reason or another because they had not heard from me but the truth was that I was just busy and that was the only thing going on and I thanked them for telling me so I could assure them that I was not at all anything but neglectful and then there are two of my friends who I still consider friends who have come very close to washing their hands of me because I do not see them very often but again I’ve only got just so much energy to go around and well I will likely call or text one of them today and see if we can go get coffee soon and hope for the best so let’s move on and allow me please to say that I really enjoy tying silly old Clousers because you can tie them big and small dull and bright flashy and not and in various styles and with various eyes and these darn flies are amazingly effective and I’m still wondering if I might try to get to baja this year and I would love to get up to the dean but probably won’t on either account and or oh my goodness I may be able to go to a fantastic place in 2019 to support the fly fishing art and do a little fishing also and I sure hope it actually happens but of course we will need to wait and see and for the moment I need to post some videos including a bloopers video and I have needed to post to my blog and this is not easy to do what I’m doing right here but in some respects I owe it to anyone who is crazy enough to read it and owe it to myself too and at this moment I cannot even remember what the heck I’ve talked about oh by the way remember our dear kitty Rollo died suddenly around last November and we were all really shook up by that and especially his surviving litter mate Boomer but as time went on we decided to bring a young cat into our home and after several months we are all enjoying each other’s company and all of a sudden I want to say that I have met a small number of the nicest kindest most supportive people on Facebook which was a surprise but a nice surprise and I am grateful to each of these people and I am sick of politics and people and gosh almighty why can’t people be kind to each other and conduct ourselves in constructive ways that improve the quality of life of people we interact with each day well I just don’t get it but I do know that every time I am courteous to a stranger I meet in the course of my daily. routine that person feels just a little happier if only for a few seconds and that is something good that if everyone did this all day every day would probably make the world a better place and even though what I just said probably sounds silly and shallow but maybe we should all consider if it is true and then do it and so I started with how’s jay but really the whole point of this rant is to say that I’m fine and I hope that everyone who reads this and everyone they know and everyone who knows the people they know are doing fine as well because lordy life can be short and we leave so much undone that we really should have done and wanted to do but just didn’t get around to it all and if I could do one thing it would be not to wish you a big fish today—but to wish you a little joy and a little happiness and a little love today and I’ve come to the end of what I can bear to write this morning and will now bid you a g’day as my wonderful beautiful gentle mother Dulcie would have said if she were here.

Jay Nicholas, 17 April 2018

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7 new Nicholas Fly Tying and Fishing Videos!

Seven new videos posted on my Youtube channel.  Tons of good stuff going on. Thanks to Will at Ashland Fly Shop for organizing a fly club presentation and tube steelhead tying class last week. Thanks to Jon Hazelet and his family’s hospitality. Thank you all and I hope you find something entertaining here. Many more ideas to follow up on. JN – March 2018.

5 videos related to fly fishing for Lingcod and tying lingcod flies.
3 videos related to my recollections about the Metolius back in the 1960s – 1980s.

Salmon fishing with Marty and Mia

Jay Nicholas & Marty Sheppard Sept 2017

This is obviously a late post from last fall)1017) but when I found it I figured it was time to put it up.

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So I’ve devoted at least a half dozen days on the water this fall trying to get a grab from a salmon, to no avail.  Headed out one short evening to fish with Marty and Mia Sheppard, One of us had two grabs (Marty), one of had one grab (Mia), and one of us had no grabs (me). Whatever became of the salmon, whatever rods we fished, lines we fished, flies we fished, waders we wore, sunglasses we wore and so forth—are irrelevant.

What matters is that we had a  chance to talk, like friends do.

Thanks, my cabin has room for you whenever you can make it back to the ocean.

Jay Nicholas – October 2017

 

PS: the most awesome photo above is by Mia.

3 new Nicholas YouTube videos!

This has been another great week for video production adhere is a quick list of what’s new on my Youtube channel.

Tips for tying a summer steelhead fly with chenille. This material is still a great fit with our most productive flies.

Intruder fly tying discussion. This is a thirty minute video that features a general discussion about Intruders, especially those tied on ProSportfisher tubes. The fly is a great one and I try to mention features of these flies and the intention of tying, materials and so forth. This is not the full story but it is a start and I hope it entertains and informs a little.

Olive and Orange Tube Intruder based on Jeff Hickman’s Fish Taco.

Cream Balanced Leech. A hot new pattern useful in many waters, and most recently popularized on Pyramid Lake – fished under indicators.

Thanks for your kind notes and feedback, I hope you will have fun with these videos.

Jay Nicholas, February, 2018

2 Nicholas videos posted to YouTube

This post is to let readers know that I’ve released another new pod of videos on my YouTube Channel.

Each of you has different levels of experience and interest, so the best approach is to browse the list and decide if any are in the ballpark of your playpen.

Fly Tying Discussion – Intruders I. This is a 33-minute video in which I discuss the thinking and techniques of tying Intruders. This is hopefully the first of several that will follow.
* General composition
* length
* waist
* intention
* materials
* use of flash
* platforms
* weighting

Fly Tying Discussion – Chenille body techniques on a summer steelhead fly
Chenille can be applied in many ways to achieve different effects on your flies, this video shows several of the finer points I’ve learned over the years when tying with chenille.

Thank you all for your good wishes.

My YouTube channel is located here. I crrently have 33 videos posted and have ten nearly edited and ready to publish in the next month.

Jay Nicholas – February 2018

Rob and Erin’s new Drift Boat

Salmon Anglers on a fishless evening

Note: this is a belated post of a blog I drafted in October 2017.

I’m quite sure I haven ever seen such a fine drift boat. Rob and Erin crafted this vessel with care. The boat is so fine that it shimmers—eluding the possibility of looking closely at its detail—which is similarly superior craftsmanship.

This is a good time for me to say thanks to Rob and Erin for the goodness and love they have shared with my family.

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I hope to see you on the water with Cooper soon.

Jay Nicholas – October 2017