Monday morning, and I’d like to share a great reception I had up in West Linn a few days ago. Joel invited me to do a presentation and tie flies for folks looking for a respite from the Typhoon that was sweeping the valley on Saturday. The turnout was great, many regulars and all very kind people.
I had an hour to talk about hatchery and wild anadromous fish on the Oregon Coast – but that ended up being an hour and a half with questions still rolling when Joel dragged me out to the tyer’s table. Where people were already jammed around waiting for me to begin tying.
Although the photo at the top of the page shows my comet – boss box, I tied tuvbe flies for winter steelhead and managed to product about 4 flies in the next two hours. Rob Perkin kindly went on a lunch run and brought me back a delicious bowl of Mushroom soup to keep my blood sugar sustained.
I had a chance to re-connect with old friends and meet several new friends who are, like me, dedicated fly tyers. About the time the Typhoon winds rolled into the valley, I packed up my gear and headed down I-5 to return to my family. Gusty but not too bad a drive. My supply of winter steelhead marabou tube flies is growing and I sure hope we have a good run with good conditions to swing fish this season.
Here is an example of the flies I have been tying the last week or so. Thank you Joel, for the invitation to present at Royal Treatment. Thanks to Nick and Josh also – it was great to see you taking care of customers at the Shop.
My best to you all and thanks for your kind notes and phone calls.
Wow, where has the time gone? I’m counting down the hours until 7 PM when I’ll be showing my saltwater fly fishing video at the Santiam Fly Casters meeting at Pringle Hall in Salem. The venue is one block south of the Parkway on Church St. I am REALLY looking forward to meeting new friends and connecting with old friends at the meeting. I’ll talk about how much fun saltwater fly fishing is and how accessible it is too. Dwight Klemin told me to expect 50+ people at the meeting and that sounds like a fun crowd that should include a few hecklers to spice up the evening. Thanks in advance for the opportunity to be there!
So I’ve progressed from not being able to tie a single fly to being able to tie a half dozen a day and I see this as a very positive movement in the right direction. I can now sit for ten or fifteen minutes at a session and painstakingly craft a single fly that should take 3-4 minutes under what I once considered “normal” conditions. There are other positives too. Far more positives than I’ll bore you with. Thanks to all my friends who trust that we are each as we need to be right now, whether relaxing, working, waiting, or fishing. Speaking of fishing, I’m nearly ready to wet a line. Hummmmmmm, it’s a small step but pretty positive. Maybe not a marathon session, maybe just a few casts, but I’d like to have a hook on a string in the water soon. Over a hundred degrees predicted for the Valley today. Might need to head for the coast soon. Blessings to all of my friends who are supportive in so many ways. I’ll be speaking in Salem on September 8th and hope I see some of you there. I’ll be ready to rock!
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….
I need to re-scan sketches for Modern Steelhead Flies book with Rob Russell. Should have finished this last week, but maybe this week.
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.
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.
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)
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.
Lisa was going through our keepsake box recently and found this advertisement, from the July 10th 1952 Salem Statesman Journal. She saved it for me. I was intrigued to see that Pacific City ranked with Astoria, Depoe Bay, and Winchester Bay in terms of being able to support a business that sold and serviced bicycles in addition to selling fishing tackle.
It turns out that a neighbor has just opened a bicycle shop on the corner across from the Shell Station at the stop light in Pacific City. I’ve been eyeing the fat tire bikes for rent and sale on the corner for the last several weeks. Guess I’d better check it out soon.
Meanwhile, fishing has been slow in the estuary but hot in the ocean anytime we can get out in the dory.
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!
The latest edition of Flyfishing and Tying Journal (Winter 2016) has two articles written by my new/old friend Frank Amato. Long story short, Frank and I barely escaped meeting throughout our respective careers, not easy, since we both followed each other’s professional work for decades. We finally met and fished with Capt. John Harrell in the dory Gold Comet, and had a great time in Pacific City with John, his dad & mom Jack and Mary.
Frank joined me fishing before he interviewed me about the books I’ve self published. The catching was as much fun as the fishing and Frank took home a cooler packed with sea bass fillets and cooked crab that he enjoyed and shared with his co-workers and friends.
Frank, a respected book author and publisher, had taken note of my crazy assortment of self published books related to flyfishing, fly tying, and conservation, and asked to interview me as part of doing a review of my work. Wow, what an honor.
Frank and I sat on the front porch of our family cabin at Pacific City and talked about our similar history in Oregon, and found we had far more to share than our time allowed.
From Frank’s review—I quote.
“In figuring out where Jay’s Professional and fishing life fits into the literature of our sport I am most reminded of Roderick-Haig-Brown. In my estimation Jay’s contribution to the science and art of salmonid fly angling and conservation through his books, science, and angling life most reflect the ideals of the legendary Haig-Brown.”
Thank you, Frank. The self-publishing world is tough, as is the traditional practice of book publishing. It is an unexpected blessing to have you find my work in the vast field of fishing related books and to take a liking to it.
Rob Russell just shipped off our full draft of Modern Steelhead Flies to the editors at StackPole Books a few weeks ago. Huge accomplishment, with over 400 flies from innovative steelhead angler/tyers and tons of step-by-step photography. Stunning photos, stunning narrative, a great read and bound (ha ha) for recognition of a keystone book in steelhead fly literature.
I know this seems beside the point but it isn’t. Rob is the lead author, I’m the co-author, and Jay Nichols (StackPole) will help us make the story legible. Rob and I are expecting a fair amount of work still to come, on a tight time-table, as the professional editors challenge us to deliver the best of the best.
Stay tuned with credit cart handy, because Modern Steelhead Flies is close, and will be a stunning visual and intellectual masterpiece in the fly tying literature – trust me on this.
Meanwhile, I’ve polished Oregon Chinook Flies as much as I can stand, and pulled the trigger to self-publish this little gem on Amazon. At 77 pages at 8.5 X 11″, this full color book is stuffed with photos of roughly 200 Chinook Salmon flies. Like all of the books I’ve self-published, this surely still has a misplaced word or two, plenty of incomplete sentences, and – well – let’s just say that a professional editor might roll his or her eyes at my unsupervised writing.
Never-the-less, I’ve received wonderful support and encouragement from many, including the 22 Chinook anglers/tyers who contributed their flies to the book. If you note the difference between 22 and 24, it is because two of the angler/tyers represented in Oregon Chinook Flies are deceased. Gene Davis and Jerry Stoopes were pioneers in the Chinook fly rod game, and I thank Stan Davis for tying his father’s flies, and Jeff Hunter for tying Jerry’s flies for this book.
Justin Coupe (Rivers of A Lost Coast) read this book draft closely, offered some great creative suggestions to improve the book, none that I can execute now, and closed by saying:
“Great work Jay, glad someone captured the history. It’s important to do these types of things because no one else is. I hope we meet on the water soon and if you’re not looking I’ll nudge the butt of your rod to keep you alert.”
Thank you Justin.
Oregon Chinook Flies barely scratches the surface of a rich angling culture. This is a work of deep personal significance. Quoting again, Justin said,
“The foreword is excellent and Rob Russell did a fantastic job laying the scene and parameters of the book.”
There is a story behind the story of this fly book. I’ll not go into the briar patch here, just note that writing about the culture of fly fishing for Chinook salmon is ripe with emotion.
I’ve reserved the first 50 First Edition Print Run to issue as a limited edition of signed, personalized copies for readers who contact me. Direct sales are my best deal economically, and I’ve met some great friends through direct sales of my other books.
Oh yes, the book. Hummmm.
This is not a traditional fly tying book, with crisp photos set against a bland background. No recipes for these flies. What you get is my artistic rendition of the Chinook flies fished by 24 Oregon anglers, photographed against a second photograph that features some aspect of salmon fishing. I’ve also noted the size of each fly and analyzed the entire collection to characterize the colors, styles, and sizes of the portfolio.
Joe Sugura contributed a nice piece on the Russell Chatham ‘Comet, Jack Harrell relates the history of the Ramone Salmon Killer fly, and of course, 22 dedicated Chinook angler/tyers contributed short stories about their files and the culture we all love.
Oh yes, Frank Amato read the draft said he loved the book, and told me that the first edition of STS in 1967 (Vol. 1, No. 1) included an article by Roderick Haig-Brown on the question of “Will the Chinook Take a Fly?” Thanks for your encouragement Frank, and for the neat Landing Net Brace you sent me recently. It came in handy three days ago.
Let me know if I may provide copies, let your local fly shops know about this book, and thanks to everyone for your support and patience.