Dory Fishing with Frank Amato: August 23, 2015

Wow! Look at all those bass under the boat!
Wow! Look at all those bass under the boat!

Nearly unbelievable that Frank and I just met in person, although it seems like we have been friends for years; decades even.  Our rapport was immediate and genuine, the sort of thing you can just feel.  Better late than …… or so I hear.

Frank joined me on a smoky Sunday morning, unusual for the coast, and we fished with Capt. John Harrell of Pacific City Fly Fishing. The ocean was a little rough (ha ha) but manageable.  Johnny found a patch of relatively calmer water with a big school of bass under the dory, spread as shallow as the feet to as deep as fifty feet.  We fished Clousers featured in Sea Flies, and yes, the catching was quite entertaining, with many doubles to keep us jockeying for position.

Frank with a nice bass.
Frank with a nice bass.
Johnny and Frank share a laugh.
Crab on the menu for the evening.
Jay and Frank.
Photo op at end of successful trip.
Frank helps John ready the Dory to load up.
Frank admires Jack’s “found” lure collection.
Not quite a thirty pounder.
Still, a beautiful fish and a great grab.

After two hours of fast paced black rockfish action, we pulled crab pots, headed to shore, hitting the beach by 9.

Frank treated me to scones and coffee from the Grateful Bread, we enjoyed our treats on the deck at my family cabin in Woods, and we talked like we had been fishing together our whole lives. Jack Harrell called and told me the fish were filleted and bagged, the crab cooked and cleaned, all on ice in our coolers.  So we headed over there to load up and then made the arduous five minute return drive to the cabin where Frank interviewed me about my book publishing binge.  There was plenty to laugh about, future collaborations to ponder, and great plans made involving fishing, writing, and publishing.

Frank headed home about noon, and I took a walk down to the estuary.  Hummm, a salmon rolled.  Back to the cabin I walked, hooked up my boat, and grabbed three salmon rods.  Four hours later, on a modest incoming tide, I got grabbed as I lifted my fly to re-cast.  I was sure I had a thirty pounder on, that salmon flashed so brightly and pulled so hard.  I called Jack and he drove over to share in the action.  Small town that’s for sure.  Jack – Ive got a big one on.  How big?  Big.  Unless it is only twelve. You know me, Jack, my fish are always bigger in the water.

Jack arrived just as I netted the sub-20 pound king, shaking with the adrenaline rush.

Met on shore by three vets with the Healing Waters Project, I offered a dozen flies for them to fish and the salmon for their dinner, part of the traditional Pacific City hospitality. Their plan was to fish the following day in an event sponsored by Royal Treatment Fly Fishing and friend Joel Lafollette.

What a day.  Time for a quick coffee and hit the road for home and family.

My best to everyone who reads this – Jay Nicholas, August 26, 2015


While I was fishing recently… June 8, 2011

Every once in a while ……

Jay Nicholas –  June 8, 2011

Great Grabs: November 4, 2010

One of the places where I would like my family and friends to leave a pinch of my ashes.  Not too soon though.  May this be a place where salmon gather each year, long after you and I have passed on.

Great Grabs: November 4, 2010

Jay Nicholas, March 5, 2011

Jay Nicholas’ Salmon Fisher’s Journal: Great Grabs – October 20, 2010

Jay Nicholas’ Salmon Fisher’s Journal

Afternoon sun, bright king salmon rolling in the pool, a 300 gr., 30′ shooting head, and my trusty  Burkheimer 7115-4. Remember to keep a low rod angle, folks; this Spey rod makes an awesome delivery system to overhead cast shooting heads for king salmon.  Posted on January 28, 2011.  An enduring memory from my 2010 salmon season.


Jay Nicholas’ Salmon Fisher’s Journal: Great Grabs – October 18, 2010

Jay Nicholas’ Salmon Fisher’s Journal:

Great Grabs – October 18, 2010


Jay Nicholas’ Salmon Fisher’s Journal: Great Grabs – October 17, 2010

Jay Nicholas’ Salmon Fisher’s Journal:

Great Grabs – October 17, 2010

Great Grabs – October 5, 2010

Great Grabs – October 5, 2010


November 25 2008 – Great Grab

Six days fly fishing for kings in the last two weeks.  Six days dawn-to-dark on the water.  Most were cold, rainy, nasty days fishing high water.  Six days chatting with guys back-bounding eggs and Kwikfish.  Six days and only a handful of rolling salmon to encourage me.

Six days, one grab – and a too-large leader-loop severed by  bead-chain eyes.


And then, on the seventh day, I got this slow, steady pull, on a very long line, in deep water.  I set-up and found a good, slow, head shake that erased the emptiness of six lonely, fishless days I had just endured.

I played this fish in deep water.  At one point, I felt another salmon entangled in my leader, but it soon came free.  I got out of the boat, ready to beach the fish on a gravel bar.

A big male.  Not chrome, not bronze, but that in-between grayish hue.  The fish slipped upriver under my driftboat, still anchored in the riffle.

Eventually, I pulled him out from under the boat and over to the shore.  A good, strong, deep bodied chinook.  A few sea lice still clung to the area behind the adipose fin.  A fish to bring a smile any day, and especially on the seventh day.

I held him in the river’s flow, and in an instant, he was off, sliding back into the pool, in the company of other salmon.