Sea Run Cutthroat fly: Day One – thanks to David Wang

Jay Nicholas Sea Run Cutthroat Fly 1

Here you go David Wang – I will post one fly each day for five days – all will target sea run cutthroat trout, but all are also suitable to swing for summer steelhead on warm autumn evenings and cool mornings. No recipes. Nothing fancy. All tied on #8 hooks.  All wet damp flies. No rationale or hype. Just five flies that I hope to fish in the next month.

This is not something I would normally do, but out of respect for David Wang, Frank and Jeanne Moore, Mia Flora Sheppard, and my many fellow tyers, I sat down this morning to tie all five flies. It was not simple. Then came the photography. Naturally I forgot how to do that part and had to re-discover the process like always.

I do not have someone to nominate for this task/honor to continue, but will leave this to anyone to take up if they are willing and able to do so.

The days are pushing over a hundred degrees here in Corvallis lately. A cramp in my left shin is hampering my walks. Four more weeks ahead to get off the stupid stupid stupid anti-depressant meds. I should be ready to fish by then. Meanwhile, here is Fly One. I’ll take Courtney and Lisa to Farmer’s Market this moring for a few hours shortly. My best to everyone on this Saturday.

Jay Nicholas, August 20th 2016

What’s Up – August first, 2016 . . . . .

Too much going on to go into very much detail, but here are a few quick snapshots. In the middle of a bout of depression, I’m fighting by exercise and pharmaceutical interventions. The side effects suck but I’m keeping busy and exercising to get the old body moving and see what happens next. Damn the depression —  full speed ahead.

My life is perfect.  My brain chemicals are the pits, but the new meds allowed me to quit gnawing and clipping my nails for the first time in years. Go figure. Sleep? Huh?

on to the fun stuff….

JWN Streelhead Scan 0 copy

  1. I need to re-scan sketches for Modern Steelhead Flies book with Rob Russell. Should have finished this last week, but maybe this week.

Jay Nicholas Michael Gorman SRC Flies

 

2. Michael Gorman donated flies for me to include in a new book that I started last week: Sea-Run Cutthroat flies and flyfishing. His flies pictured above work for summer steelhead too and will be individually featured in this book.

Jay Nicholas puget sound SRC flies

3. Blake Merwin of Gig Harbor Fly Shop donated flies for the book too, Puget Sound beauties, that I will provide photos and recipe for each.

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4. I am waiting on a guest Foreword for my new edition of an Intruder Book: Advanced Intruder Strategies. Greg Senyo is taking time out of his busy schedule to pen the foreword – thanks tons Greg! Almost there man!

5.  Matthew Supinski is writing a foreword for a new edition of Book of Revelation. Again, thanks tons Matt. Soon.  Soon.

6. Expect a Kickstarter campaign in November to fund printing of my 600 + page, 220,000 word Salmon Journal, with over a hundred full color plates, art and flies. OMG this will be amazing. Hard cover. Two volumes. Probably in the 200+ buck range for this set but a collector’s edition that has actually been edited by a professional (not just me) who understands and respects the beauty of the run-on and incomplete sentence.

7. There is more, but suffice to say, I am blessed in many ways by family, cats, friends, and life. Fishing has taken a back seat lately. My trip to the Umpqua was a disaster. Legs too unsteady to wade. Oh well, thus the exercise program and then I’ll try it again in a few months.

8. On the blessings side, an evening and morning with Frank and Jeanne Moore was a long missed joy. I fed the trout in the pond, sat at the table with my dear friends, and talked about family, fishing, and life.

9. It is amazing how much of a struggle it can be to write coherently when I’m in the midst of a depressive bout. Words all muddled, the order of the flow is all jumbled up, and I try and try again to re-organize it all, succeeding a little in four times the duration it should be expected to take. Oh well, the draft of the SRC book is improving and my team of supporters working with Al James has my Salmon Journal to polish with my guidance and support.

10. letters and notes from friends tell me I’m not alone — we all need to remember that we have friends and that we all struggle in our own way, and we all need to do the best we can every day and it will get better if we swim upstream …..

May you all find peace and goodness in little things today, and every day you read this

Jay Nicholas, August 1st, 2016 (anticipating my next fishing trip too)

Someone will be skating this week!

Jay Nicholas Steelhead Skater a

Jay Nicholas Steelhead Skater b

Nothing fancy here. A simple to tie dry fly for summer steelhead. Inspired in part by Brett Jensen and the Klamath Skaters he designed for Aqua Flies. I’ll skate this fly today and the next several, hoping to get crushed by chrome.

Jay Nicholas July 17th, 2016

Retro Shank Intruder

Jay Nicholas Retro Steelhead Shank Intruder a

Gosh I’ve been way to busy lately with far to little time to tie or fish.

So I grabbed my vise, moved the keyboard and wrapped this fly out — hoping to fish it somewhere in the next few weeks. Just this one fly and now back to work. More soon.

Jay Nicholas Retro Steelhead Shank Intruder b

Jay Nicholas Retro Steelhead Shank Intruder c

This fly is tied on a vintage Eagle Claw 1197-b size 2 hook. A dinosaur to be sure, but it will penetrate and swim with a lot of motion.

May we all find willing fish on our next venture to the river.

Jay Nicholas – June 29th, 2016

Post Script: by request, here is the recipe for the June Thunder Retro Shank Intruder.

“Blue Thunder”

This hook is a size 2 but the main point is to use heavy wire so a long shank heavy wire with hook cut off and a small stinger would be preferable to this one.

Tail: none, the hook is gold.

Butt: Senyo’s Pink Lady Fusion Dub.

Butt collar: Kingfisher Blue hackle to please, this is hen neck.

Body: Lagartun or Hareline Flat Braid, blue holo.

Shoulder dubbing ball: Senyo’s Fusion Dub Smurf.

Shoulder Collar: Fish Hunter Purple Spey Marabou.

2nd collar: Black Craft Fur spun in loop.

Flash: Mirage Lateral Scale. Shoulder: Pro Sportfisher Jungle Cock Natural.

Nearly Time for Spring Chinook

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Spring Chinook Gotcha 

Might as well tie a new fly for the 2016 season, something perhaps unexpected but likely to produce if fished at the right time and place. Hummmmmm. I know what to do. Kings eat plenty of Krill in the ocean, not only baitfish. This basic pattern is one that I found laying on Chris Daughter’s desk at the Caddis Fly. I asked him about it. He couldn’t remember—thought I had tied it. Nope. I fished it last spring for sea runs and had one of my most productive days ever in the estuary. Of course it helps to find the fish too. I tied up a dozen (10 yesterday and 2 this morning). I’m going to see if the Spring Kings will eat these beauties. My thanks to whoever crafted the sample that I’ve modified here.

Wish me luck, and may you have a wonderful season too.

Oh yes. These are tied on a #6 SW Gammie, light wire, with glass beads for the body and Ice Dub for tails and shoulder. Wing is orange ProSportfisher American Possum with a hint of black bucktail over the top. Bead Chain is large with the rough edges filed down. Thread is white. I have used clear or orange glass beads and a variety of clear and shrimp pink Ice Dub for the tail. I think these will do the trick for something in the estuary, at least the Staghorn sculpin should like ’em!

Jay Nicholas, April 7th

New Book on Estuary Chinook Flies is Close

Jay Nicholas Oregon Chinook Flies draft cover.
Jay Nicholas Oregon Chinook Flies draft cover (out of focus!)

That’s one of the key reasons that I’ve been rather quiet of late, working on – among other things including fishing – final edits to my latest book, featuring the estuary chinook flies of 24 Oregon salmon anglers.

Quite an undertaking and tons of work and fun at the same time.  A photo journal of over 200 flies typically fished in the estuaries and lowermost reaches of coastal rivers, this is not a how-to fly recipe book.  Nope.  It is an artistic impression of the working flies stuffed into the boxes of anglers obsessed with the pursuit of king salmon, principally targeting fish that are fresh from the sea in places spread out along the reach of the Oregon Coast.

This is the pile of Chinook flies submitted by 24 oregon anglers for the book.
This is the pile of Chinook flies submitted by 24 oregon anglers for the book. I know this photo does not show much, just a pile of envelopes and fly boxes that people sent their flies in, but the contents are stunning!  Over two hundred Chinook estuary flies to drool over that are pictured in this about to be published book.

I have been working on photographing these flies, tying to make the images appealing without emphasis on being able to see each  hair on each fly set against a pale blue background. So, I decided to photograph each fly set against a photo I printed out – a photo of something related to our fishing passion.  Naturally.  Here is an example below.  This is a photo of a fly by Rob Perkin set against a Jack Harrell photo of me getting close to netting a spring chinook.

One of the Chinook estuary flies that will be featured in Oregon Chinook Flies.
One of the Chinook estuary flies that will be featured in Oregon Chinook Flies.

The book will feature a foreword by Rob Russell, who by the way is in the final throes of completing a book Rob and I are doing together (I’m not sure if I should be divulging too much so let’s leave it here for now). In case you don’t know,  Rob is uniquely qualified to address many aspects of estuary fishing for Chinook salmon, from the flies, the culture of the fishery, on to the fish themselves, Rob’s experience-set is one that I respect greatly.

Meanwhile, in the world of self-publisjng, I have been enlisting the support of several friends to help find typos and bloopers in Oregon Chinook Flies, and their help is greatly appreciated, as is their willingness to allow me to feature their flies along with a short bio of each tier/angler.

Marked-up draft copy of Oregon Chinook Flies.
Marked-up draft copy of Oregon Chinook Flies.

My computer is full to the brim at the moment with images and drafts, so it is past time to do some house-cleaning and get this book out the door very soon.  This has been a joyous project and the results will, I think, be of interest to all who pursue kings on the flies.  This is your chance to get a peek into your fellow Chinook hunter’s fly boxes, without needing to be sneaky about it.  How many have a chartreuse comet?  Is the Clouser a common fly in these boxes?  What about Intruder style flies and tube flies?  What are the most fished color themes?

All that, and more, will shortly be revealed.  Will it be enough?

Hardly, I expect.

Give me two weeks, with luck, and thank you as always for your patience and good will.

Jay Nicholas, August 3, 2015

Challenges during a fly photo shoot

Chinook Salmon Comet Flies by Jay Nicholas.
Chinook Salmon Comet Flies by Jay Nicholas.

Yep, I’m working on another book, this one with a working title of Authentic Chinook Flies, due for publication by August, I dearly hope.  Fact is, there are unexpected challenges one faces when shooting such photographs, as the photo series below will reveal.

First trial photo: Comet I retrieved from upper jaw of Chinook in Nestucca during 2005. background photo is of Clay Banks Hog line in 2003.
First trial photo: Comet I retrieved from upper jaw of Chinook in Nestucca during 2005. Note that leader fragment is still attached to fly, just as I found it.  Background photo is of Clay Banks Hog line in 2003.
Uh, oh.  Some creature is lurking in the background!
Uh, oh. Some creature is lurking in the background!
Boomer loves to mrs with my flies, but honestly, he likes Rob Russell's flies just a tad better than mine.
Boomer loves to mess with my flies, but honestly, he likes Rob Russell’s flies just a tad better than mine.

Oh well, such is the nature of the silliness we deal with in the Nicholas family, and we do love our cats so I took a break to serve morning cat snacks to Boomer and Rollo, his brother, then closed the den door to resume shooting photos for the new book.

I hope this image gives you a smile for the day, and offers a hint of anticipation for the next book too.  Meanwhile, I have a party to go to this weekend with my family and then I just may fish a little.

May your day be bright and this season bring many great grabs.

Jay Nicholas,  June 11, 2015

Steelhead Gurgler/Skater with EP Critter Brush

This is another chapter in my latest infatuation with Gurgles, this here steelhead skater. Hold on.  I typed in Gurglers and auto correct gave me Gurgles! I used black foam and super glued the doubled front end because this allows me to stand that front surface almost straight up and wow that makes it push water like so very nicely. Pictures are worth the thousand words but here is the recipe followed by photos. Hook Gamakatsu B10 S size 2 Tail: Elk Mane from Hareline Dubbin + Mirage Lateral Scale Body: EP Wooly Critter Brush, Black/Red Foam: Black thin .002 foam from Hareline Dubbin Thread: Danvillie’s 210 D black or grey

Steelhead Gurgler with EP Wooly Critter Brush.
Steelhead Gurgler with EP Wooly Critter Brush.
Steelhead Gurgler with EP Wooly Critter Brush - all size twos.
Steelhead Gurgler with EP Wooly Critter Brush – all size twos.
Steelhead Gurgler with EP Wooly Critter Brush - oooops, I forgot the flash in the tail!
Steelhead Gurgler with EP Wooly Critter Brush – oooops, I forgot the flash in the tail!
Steelhead Gurgler with EP Wooly Critter Brush - bird's perspective  view.
Steelhead Gurgler with EP Wooly Critter Brush – bird’s perspective view.

These flies wake across the river quite nicely, I fished them several evenings last week on the Nestucca and rose one late winter steelhead in a tailout at dusk.  Casting an ECHO DEC HOGAN II 6.5 spey rod rigged with Airflo Scandi Compact 450 gr line + Airflo Floating Polyleader and 6 ft straight #12 Hatch Professional Fluorocarbon tippet. Brush on Zap a Gap applied to the doubled over front “bill” of this fly seems to help it stand upright and improve the water pushing power of the fly. I’m looking forward to fishing this fly as the summer steelhead begin trickling into the river, and I bet a downscaled version will get the sea runs going too. Hope you find something fun here and the inspiration to tie your own. Jay Nicholas, May 2015.

Steelhead Intruders and Fishing on My Brain

 

Jay Nicholas Cats observing Intruder fly tyingI was pretty sure that I had Boomer’s full attention the last few days when I was worked into a frenzy tying Intruders and Rabbit Tube Leeches and thinking about fishing.  I had all the studio lights turned on in the den and found Boomer lounging on top of my material drawers, on the “warming station.”  Plenty of light to photograph flies makes for a nice warm place for my kitty to nap.

Jay Nicholas Bandit Naps in Truck

This reminded me of Bandit who I found napping pretty much the entire day last time I went on the river with my friend Jim.  Seems like a good life to me.

Jay Nicholas Steelhead In Lake

And when I was looking at the weather report and see rain on the way and should I go fishing today or not I remembered how much fun it is to sight-fish withe small wet and dry flies for summer steelhead planted in a nearby lake.

Jay Nicholas Steelhead Intruders

So I put aside the Intruders and am making this post quickly, still undecided about what I’m going to do today.  Probably some paperwork to get caught up on, right?  Or maybe watch Skagit Master 4 another three times today.  Maybe.

Jay Nicholas Steelhead Intruder a

On the other hand . . . .

Best to you all today, and every day.

Jay Nicholas February 4th

 

Fishing and life in January, 2015

January has been a great month so far and I expect 2015 to keep rolling along.

Jay Nicholas Sunk Koffler Boat a

 

My boat sank in December but my dear friend Jimmie salvaged it and with a little work at Greg’s marina in Garabaldi it should be back and good as new for the 2015 seson that is beginning to unfold.

Jay Nicholas Boat recovery process

Jay Nicholas boat being towed after salvage

Fortunately I have a second Koffler Rocky Mountain Boat just like this one, because this boat is still sitting at Greg’s pending repairs and such, and I needed my twin boat to fish the Town Lake last week.

Jay Nicholas ECHO GLASS Switch and SAGE Domain

Jay Nicholas Summer Steelhead Selfie

I caught some very nice hatchery summer steelhead on small wet flies fishing with Jack Harrell, (Pacific City Fly Fishing) usually with Jack doing the rowing and coaching me casting to the fish we spot.

A new ECHO GLASS Switch and SAGE Domain reel were a pure joy to fish and I may write more on that later but may be too busy fishing so for now, just know the #3  ECHO Glass Switch rod with the #8 SAGE Domain are a great pair.

I’m excited to say that I now have 8 books on Amazon, and will soon have number 9 published in the next week or so.  The next book will be Intruder Essentials: Tying Tube and Shank Intruders for Steelhead, Salmon, and Trout.

Jay Nicholas fly tying with Boomer

Jay Nicholas Steelhead Intruder

Here is one of our fine cats, Boomer, helping during production, and one of the flies that will be featured in the new book.

I’ll be up at Royal Treatment Fly Shop with Joel La Follette in February. This will be fun and I’m still working out of the hermit mentality I was in during so much of 2014.

 

February 14th: Fly fishing the Pacific

I’ll have about an hour or so to present photos and maybe some Go Pro footage of offshore fishing, talk about tackle and tactics, make up stories and pretend that I caught some fish, and generally have fun.  Ill tie flies that afternoon, concentrating on saltwater flies and trying to sell a few books to buy gas and replace gear lost when my boat sank.  Ha ha.

February 21st: tying Intruders 

I’ll have copies of the Intruder book, co-authored with Thomas Rangner.  Tom is a young man who brings fresh perspective to my decades of blah blah blah and he’s the dude who will be creating a DVD of Intruder tying hilarity to add to the Nicholas fishing book portfolio.

Speaking of portfolio, I have posted a few of my sketches and photographs on Fine Art America, and you can see these by clicking here.

Oh still thy beating heart! Now you can order a throw pillow with a salmon or a dory or a bent fly rod on it for a most reasonable price, not to forget canvas, framed prints and such forth.  No sales yet,  Probably a scam for all I know.  Greeting cards anyone?

Enough blatant commercialism for now.  Forgive me.

I’ll be fishing in the next few days again, maybe for freshies as the water drops back into shape.  Got me at least a hundred Intruders created as part of shooting the next book.

Wishing you all the best and I’ll be back soon.

Jay (18 January, 2015)