Close but ……..

Jay Nicholas Rockfish Cloousers.JPG
I wanted to share a photo of two flies I was fishing in the ocean one day this summer with Kevin on his Breaker Dory.

I was fishing two flies on the same leader, as I sometime will. and was missing fish after fish. Most of these were Pacific black rockfish.

At one point I pulled in my line and looked at my flies. This is what a fly tied with Steve Farrar’s Blend looks like when it has been chewed on and spit out by a fish (of any species).

I should note that the practice of fishing two flies is very dangerous, even if it is fun. I have had grief on occasion when hooking two giant lingcod. or when a salmon gets wound up in the two hooks and breaks the leader. I’m often tempted but only yield once in a while.


By the way, these are very effective Clousers.

May you have a day filled with only goodness.

Jay Nicholas – October 2017

Thanks to my friend Kevin


Jay Nicholas Echo Bad Ass Glass Review eKevin is my neighbor in Pacific City. Kevin takes very good care of me and makes sure that I don’t overdo my exertion when he takes me out on the ocean in his most excellent Breaker Dory. He provides some of the best classic rock on the speakers while we cruise and fish the ocean. His fish finder is awesome! Kevin taught me how to chum properly  – instead of just hacking a handful of bait as far away from the boat as I could manage. Kevin, serves up great lasagna and all sorts of left-overs when I’m too tired to eat anything but microwave dinners and cereal (almost all the time because I never cook). Kevin knows how to fish. He is relatively new to fly fishing and fly tying but he is a fast learner. The only thing Kevin likes better than catching fish is making his guests feel comfortable on his dory and helping them catch fish. He has a great dog, Cody, who barely tolerates me because i feed him occasionally. Cody will protect me from all the other dogs in the neighborhood no matter how big they might be.

And since I’m feeling like there’s more to say—I may be repetitive but I need to say this: Kevin takes me fishing in his Breaker Dory. Kevin does all the prep and clean up before and after we fish – making sure that I don’t over do it  – knowing that I can no longer tolerate the level of exertion that he first saw me put into my fishing when we first met back in 2012.And when i say all the clean up I mean all of it including the fish filleting and packaging.  Kevin got to know me when I fished pre-dawn to well after dark – day after day after day.  Kevin has been kind and hosted my friends by taking them fishing on the ocean in his dory, and these trips have been a great joy to my friends. Kevin knows how to find rockfish, lingcod, silvers, and tuna on the ocean. Some of my fondest memories were days when it was just me and Kevin fishing in his dory. Some of these were tuna days, some were sea bass days, and some of these were silver salmon days.

Kevin is a friend who I know I can count on for anything — asking for nothing in return. He is the king of guy who is always looking around to see if he can help people in some manner, I guess this is the firefighter’s spirit showing.

Thanks Kevin.

Jay Nicholas – October 2017

What’s Up?


Jay Nicholas and Boomer

Well, at least I got the date right this time.

1. I have the flu. Not fun. I’m going to be OK – but for now?
2. Just finished a complete re-edit of Salmon Fisher’s Journal. Big deal. Excruciating effort. Much needed. The manuscript (perfect before I started) is tighter, cleaner, more streamlined and logical. Or something. At least it is shorter now, allowing for TONS of color images in both volumes of the finished book.
3. I have fished a little.
4. I caught a few salmon.
5. I’ve tied a few new flies.
6. I gave a presentation down at lakeside for the Lower Umpqua Fly Club. Very nice people. Looking forward to going back one of these days.
7. I missed yesterday at Royal Treatment because I was so darn sick.
8. Rob Russell and I will re-schedule soon.
9. Rob and I signed 300 of our books at Angler’s Book Supply last week.
10. Modern Steelhead Flies just made the NYT Best Seller List. (Just kidding)

11. I am seriously considering opting out of social media.

I miss my friends Larry Cullens, Jerry Stoopes, Ermie Walter, and Gene Davis. Rest in Peace.

I also miss many friends I have lost contact with as a consequence of my focus on far too many things, including at the very forefront, completing work on Salmon Fisher’s Journal.  I’m sorry. I doubt I’ll ever make up for my neglect.

My best to you all on this rainy, windy, Autumn Sunday.

Jay Nicholas October 22 2017

Modern Steelhead Flies is out! (and in stock)

MSF Cover

This here is a formal late as ever invite to join the right honorable Rob Russell and me at the Caddis Fly Shop this Sunday October 15th in Eugene Oregon for the release and book signing of a super dandy new book on steelhead flies and yes — about fly fishing for these steelies.

Ok, so this notice is a little tardy.  Best that Robert and I could muster. We will hold more of these events at other fly shops like Royal Treatment and Ashland fly shops (and wherever we can muster an invitation) but for now, we are gonna get the show off to a lumbering start.

Thanks in advance to any and all who can join Rob and me at the Caddis Fly on Sunday.

Jay Nicholas, October 11th, 2917

Cortland fly Line Review 2017


This is my review of several Cortland fly Lines that I have fished in 2017. My short conclusion is that Cortland in general performs at a very high level, and I have full confidence in these lines.

I have fished lines by Airflo, Rio, Cortland, Wulff, Teeny, and other non-branded lines I have obtained from China. The number of inadequate (crappy) fly lines I have fished in the last fifty years can be counted up on one hand.

* Back in the 1960s, my SA fly lines would crack after a season or two.
* Twenty years ago a fly line from __________ was impossible to cast because the finish was sticky.
* Two years ago a fly line from _______ fished just fine but the finish was incomplete in a few small regions.

I have also stepped on fly lines with cleated boots, nicked them on sharp edges in my boat, pinched them in reel spools, stretched them to their limit, and so forth.

Today, the overall quality and performance of fly lines is quite like the performance of fly rods—very good.

Actually, I think it is more of a challenge to pick a good fly reel than it is to select a good rod and line.

Dick Sagara has helped me home in on several Cortland fly lines to fish and I thank him for his constructive suggestions. My experience with these lines has included the following environments and species.
* Baja – Dorado, skipjack tuna, jack crevalle, roosterfish
* Oregon lakes – trout up to 12 pounds
* Oregon estuaries – sea-run cutthroat, spring and fall chinook, coho salmon
* Ocean offshore Pacific City – black rockfish, lingcod, silver salmon, albacore tuna, chinook salmon, blue shark

With the overall notation that all of these lines performed 100% to my performance expectations – I should also note that I am not a world class caster—I would say that my demands on my fly lines is representative of the dedicated non-professional angler so if a line works for me it will probably work for the vast majority of anglers. The Professionals might want more.

Denny Rickards – this is a trout line that floats but has a short  7 ft camo intermediate sink tip. I LOVE this line when I’m fishing for sea-run cutthroat in rivers and estuaries. This is my line of choice when I want my fly to fish shallow.



big game intermediate clear

Small and Big Game Intermediate – this is an excellent fly line that I use when fishing lakes and estuaries for sea-run cutthroat if I want to fish my fly from the top foot to about three feet deep. This line is offered in clear or camo, and I honestly can’t make up my mind which I prefer. Both are pictured above. The big Game Intermediate is the same line on a stronger core in higher line wts. I fish these lines for salmon in the estuary and again, go back and forth between the camo and clear lines to fish on any given day. These intermediate lines sink at somewhere around 2.0 in to 2.5 in per second, so I would call these fast intermediates.


Precision Compact sink – this has been a great fast sinker I have used mostly when fishing the ocean from dory boats. I have fished the 350 and 425 gr lines on rods from 8 wt to 12 wt. These lines (available from 200 gr to 425 gr) cast very well and sink quickly. Highly rated. The only lines I have found that sink faster are the T-14 custom cut lines by RIO and AIRFLO. These respective lines have a longer sink tip (~35 ft) and are denser, but are not fun to cast because they have no taper whatsoever.


Compact Intermediate Blitz – I have found this line to be among my top choices for fishing estuaries for salmon. I think this would be a great line for stripped bass too. The 200 gr and 275 gr Blitz lines should be a nice clear tip alternate to the RIO Outbound and AIRFLO Sniper lines fished for Puget Sound cutthroat and coho.


Precision Tropic Compact – I fished this floating line in Baja for Dorado, skipjack tuna, jack crevalle, roosterfish in the 350 gr and 425 gr line wts. This is a great casting line that excels when you want to make a long cast with minimal need to back cast. This is often the situation when fish follow close to the boat. You need to retrieve to leader length, then work out engouth line to load the rod to re-cast. This line has a short (~30 ft) powerful head that allows anyone to load the rod quickly. I really like this line for run and gun fishing.


Precision Compact Float – This is a short head, powerful fly line that I prefer when popper fishing in the ocean and estuary, and also when fishing Clousers in the estuary for Chinook salmon. This is a smooth long casting line that will load your rod quickly and maximize the time you are fishing because you will not need to make many false casts before letting-fly.

In conclusion – Cortland fly lines have performed in every measure neck-and-neck with RIO, AIRFLO, and WULFF fly lines. One performance issue I have not found in Cortland lines (for big-game) is a hover line: a line that sinks at perhaps 0.5 in per second. I have only found these lines offered by SA, RIO, and Wulff.

I believe that anyone who is considering a Cortland Line will be pleased with the fly line’s performance.

Jay Nicholas – October/November 2017




Snapshots from Pacific City, October 2017

Yes, this will be short.
Yes this is content light.
That’s what I’m capable of right not now it will have to do.

Jay Nicholas & Jack Harrell

First thing I’d like to do is say thanks to my friend Jack Harrell.

Thanks Jack for putting up with me no matter what.
Thanks Jack for the love that you and Mary give my family.
Thanks Jack for the day you unhooked my 9.9 and loaded it in my truck.
Thanks Jack for every time you called me no matter why.
Thanks Jack for the many days you have rowed me around the lake or the estuary.
Thanks Jack, for the coffee and scones and time sitting on the porch talking.
Thanks Jack for listening to the stories you’ve heard me tell a hundred times.
Thanks Jack for the kindness you have shown me over the years.
Thanks Jack for keeping a messy fly shop and talking to kids.
Thanks Jack for the kids you influenced when your drove the school bus.
Thanks Jack for your time up feeding salmon at Rhoades Pond.

And oh yes by the way.
Thanks to Mary for all the dinners, and breakfasts, and lunches.
Thanks Mary for your patient understanding.

Finally, thanks to Jack and Mary and John and Gracie for your hospitality and good nature and help and support and food and oh-my-gosh, I could go on and on.

But I’ll close by remembering the day I called and asked for something to eat and drink – Jack got me a turkey sandwich and drink and delivered it to me on the river. I remember deliveries dropped off the bridge and deliveries on the shore.

Your friendship, my dear friend. is precious beyond price.