Taking Care of Business

Jay Nicholas Boomer Cat 1

Good morning this is going to be one of my rare but occasionally to be expected unpunctuated rants that is a hell of a thing to read but is the only way I’m really able to say what’s on my mind and right now that is a lot and the very first thing I’d like to do is to let my friends and casual observers and readers know that my family is doing well and I’m fine which means that I’m functioning within design parameters and by this I mean that I live with a variety of realities that accompany my age, environmental exposures, and life experiences and this is a hell of a thing to explain but one way to think of it is that age is a mixed blessing for example in my case on one hand my physical and mental capabilities have clearly declined as I’ve aged especially in the last decade but on the other hand my life experiences continue to help me be more humble and better appreciate the many gifts of good will and native smartness that I have received from the people I meet but it also seems at times that each step towards being a better person is likely to be followed by a step backwards into selfishness and insecurity but oh well, I do think that there have been more steps forward than back so I guess all in all it’s good and this is as good a time as any to say that I’m on the verge of opting out of Facebook and that I’m already gone from that silly Linkedin and Instagram because quite practically I barely am able to attend to the most important things in my life hold it for a minute I realize that I am without a doubt failing to accomplish even 25% of the activities I want and need to these days so I’ve decided that one of the things I can do is to excuse myself politely and respectfully from so called social media because the clear fact is that although I post to Facebook it is an automatic feature performed by sliding a button here on my wordpress blog page and BOOM in less than a heartbeat my wordpress post magically and creepily appears on my Facebook page but I NEVER go into Facebook to look at anyone else’s page and I do NOT get my news from social media and I have no idea how many likes I get but the last time I checked it was a very small number and the idea of opting out of social media carries a little angst because I have several very good friends who routinely post to and communicate on social media and I hope that when and I’m 90% convinced that I will opt out that I do not loose contact with my dear friends but again I’ve been feeling absolutely overwhelmed and unable to multitask and consistently fall short on my social and practical obligations like for example I have not called Steve yes you know who your are and Mike but at least I have seen Steve a couple times in the last year but Mike who has given up on me long ago and even  I can’t even remember how many years it has been since I’ve seen you but I am grateful for the days we rode out bikes around the Valley and carb loaded at Woodstock’s and coffeed at the Beanery and tried to chart out our life but those are only two examples of people I miss but on the other hand I have been delivered by chance into the circle of friendship with so many new people that have been kind and are wise and genuine lights in my confused life and while I’m at it yes as usual I’m continually blessed by my family at every step in life while I’m running around or glued to the computer or the fly bench and I love you dearly and want you to know once again like a broken record that you have heard many times that I’m at peace and will love you always but expect you all to darn well get on with your lives Ok that’s enough of that and y’all shouldn’t make more of this than it deserves and where was I oh yes I find myself all to often with someone standing in front of me with a smile on their face and talking to me as if I should know them and I look at their face and have to say who are you please remind me because as we stand here at this moment I have no idea where we met or any thing of the sort and this is embarrassing but the reality of my life and is unlikely nay there isn’t a chance in a thousand that this situation will change and I should be heading for the gym to walk but I feel like it is important to finish this rant so I will and I am so grateful excuse me if I’ve already said this for the many people who have given their genuine friendship and there is an overused word but I mean it in the best possible way and they have also been genuinely kind and understanding and so there and I’m sitting here working on this post with my desk a terrible mess of disconnected scraps of pater and notes on napkins and lists on 3×5 cards and printer paper folded in half in an effort to prioritize things to do but I do not seem capable of sorting through the lists and figuring out what I should be doing first and this is a clear example of one of many ways that something is deteriorating but by god I can still fish from dawn to dark if dawn is 7 AM and dark is 5 PM and focus every minute on where I’m anchoring and casting and changing flies and leaders and casting angles and such but I sure as heck fall short of being able to see the big picture and get my life organized and yesterday I asked Lisa if she could try to help me because I have a hunch that too much is falling though the cracks and oh by the way work on Salmon Fisher’s Journal is progressing albeit at a pace that is slower than I had hoped but my team has plowed though two full edits of the nearly 300,000 word manuscript and think that we need to wade though one more full edit but in the meantime my production team have continues work on design layout photo editing and  all the tasks that will ensure that this book will be in total really fine and appreciated by everyone who has a two volume set and that I will be really proud of but I’m quite sure that we will not be able to deliver the final product until april or may instead of February as I stated originally bot I’d rather push the delivery date back instead of compromising on the quality so that’s that and a fact I’ve only discussed with a few people is that I was surprised to learn that the actual cost to print the book will be nearly twice the amount I had originally estimated because I totally misunderstood the printers quote and have since explored offshore book printers and that route would indeed being the cost per unit down but only if the number of units printed is significantly increased and ha ha I cant’t pay for 2,000 copies and by the way also don’t have space to store 1,700 copies in my garage so at the end of the days as they say our print run will be roughly 250 books and everyone who pre purchased a set should know that you paid less that it will const to print the books and that there is no margin for shipping either so now I got that off my chest and will get back to editing and design and take comfort that SFJ is well on its way to being real and tangible and the very best book my team and I are able to produce and we finally shipped out flies and sketches we promised months ago but better late than never and I might add that I’m downstairs in the den writing this post on a computer that has been shutting down on me and the house is very quiet with two sleeping cats, two sleeping grandkids, a sleeping son and daughter in law and my teen Courtney is sleeping at their apartment in town but is in our hearts always and it is just a hair shy of 6 AM and in an hour of so my family will be stirring but by then I will have finished this rant and oh wow I have not yet mentioned salmon fishing this fall so here goes my 2017 springer season was nearly a no show if not for roughly 5 days when the season was supposed to be over when Jack Harrell and I stumbled into several schools of shiny bright springers that we fished practically alone  and my fall season was mostly occupied hosting new friends but very little time fishing alone as I typically prefer and on a few day when I could fish I was dismayed by the crowds gathered in places where I was accustomed to fishing alone or with at most three other boats but I did fish one day  alone and caught one chinook shared with a friend I barely know who I finally this year remembered meeting over a decade ago at the Woods boat ramp when he was launching his fiberglass pram after fishing the Trask in the morning having caught a bronze buck still laying in the bottom of the pram and we talked and he gave me two of his chinook flies that by mere chance I still have today and I am sure happy that I finally realized that the fellow I met so long ago is Jeff and that we were both on the water one day this fall and he by the way caught a salmon too so he was able to take two fish home to his family my oh my how complicated but simple the world can be on occasion and then I finished the season with several consecutive days fishing mostly alone in areas mostly away from crowds and caught a few shiny salmon and thoroughly enjoyed myself and then had the joyful experience of hosting Trey and three of his friends from Japan and we all had a very fine three days together at our family cabin and fished a little and enjoyed albacore and salmon and salmon eggs and although is is highly unlikely that I will eat salmon caviar until they return to visit it was a wonderful experience to share the time with these fine people nd gosh right now I’m looking at my cat Boomer’s belly because he just flopped down on the desk in front of me and is asking for a tummy rub while purring loudly and oh by the way I have over a half dozen draft blog posts sitting here that I will most likely publish in the near future while I consider inactivating my Facebook account and working on SFJ and shooting fly videos for Chris Daughters and lord knows what else and if anyone has made it to this point please excuse me because I have no Idea if I have covered even half of the crap I wanted to talk about but this will have to suffice and Lisa I love you and to all my dear friends I’ll say top of the morning to you all and close here.


Jay Nicholas Boomer Cat 2

PS: this year in November of 2017 although physically and mentally I am in far less than optimum condition I would like to say that I am grateful because whatever condition I am in today is about a thousand damned percent better than I was in a year ago when I completely missed the 2016 salmon season and barely survived to see the dawn of 2017 thanks to a stupid stupid stupid anti-depressant ha ha ha ha that nearly killed me after sucking 90 percent of the life out of my head heart and soul but that was then and this is now and I’ve got a day ahead of me to explore and do the very best I can so that is exactly what I’m a gonna do.

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 207


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.


Dave Stewart – “Steelhead Fly Fishing Interview with Jay Nicholas”

I’m baaaaaaaack!

Jay Nicholas steelhead interview by Dave Stewart

Here is Dave Stewart on the right asking the tough questions at my cabin last week.

Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 6.11.31 PM

(Hey there, the image above is not the link to the interview, it is a screen shot of Dave’s most excellent website!)

Goodness where on earth has the time gone? So much has transpired since my last post that I’m a gonna spit out a flurry of posts (ha ha, maybe you are probably thinking) in the next few weeks.

For starters, here is a link to an audio interview recorded by my friend Dave Stewart.

Totally awesome topics in the interview indlude the following:

  • Why you shouldn’t start fly fishing for salmon
  • Tips on finding steelhead
  • Understanding spey lines (and how to avoid destroying the economy)
  • Rio Fly Lines has a cool app that helps you select a new spey line to match your rod (click here)
  • How the non slip uni knot will increase your time in the water (Click Here for a short video)
  • Jay’s Top Flies for steelhead fishing (summer and winter)
  • Fly tying magic and our caveman connection
  • Tying Atlantic salmon flies
  • How to create your own original fly patterns

Dave will soon post the video of the interview, but if you are fly tying and have your iPhone or computer nearby, you can listen along to this audio masterpiece just for fun.

My thanks to Dave for creating this small audio recording for the historical record.

Best to you all

Jay Nicholas – September 29 2017



Photo of the Day August 3rd

Jay Nicholas leaping Chinook salmon.

This is a screen shot taken from a go pro movie shot this season. You will need to look closely, but there is a chinook leaping off to the right side of the photo. Unfortunately this salmon was not attached to my fly line. Still, this is a nice memory of a day when fish were not shy to roll, but were entirely opposed to grab my fly. And yes, I cast my fly to this fish immediately, to no avail. Best wishes to you all

Jay Nicholas August 3, 2017

Donated Guide Trips to Support Salmon Fisher’s Journal Publication

Jay Nicholas smiling while swinging a Burkheimer.
That’s right. Several of my guide friends have generously offered to donate their on-water time to support publication of Salmon Fisher’s Journal. This is a rare opportunity to reserve a guided fly fishing trip with several of Oregon’s premier steelhead guides AND support the publication of my most ambitious writing endeavor.

Here is the list:
Jeff Hickman (Fish the Swing)
— one person, winter or spring as mutual schedules allow, location TBD

Jeff Coffey (Fair Flies)
— one person, Oregon mid coast, preferably October, TWO DAYS with overnight at the Nicholas cabin in Pacific City

Josh Linn (guide and employee at Royal Treatment Fly Shop)
— one person, Sandy/Clackamas, winter or spring as mutual schedules allow

Michael Gorman (michaelgormanflyfishing.com)
— one person, Siletz or Nestucca winter steelhead as mutual schedules allow

How to reserve one of these guided fishing trips?

Contact me at jaynicholas@comcast.net and indicate your interest in one of these trips. I will let you know if any are still available as well as means of payment.

My Kickstarter Campaign will wrap up at the end of this weekend, but this is an open offer that will remain open for a slightly longer window.

Call ASAP to book one of these trips with extraordinary angling guides who are donating their supporting my dream.

Thank you.

Jay Nicholas August 2, 2017