Pacific City Dory Launch and Fly Fishing for Rockfish

This is a very short video that records highlights from a recent (mid July) trip on my friend Kevin’s dory. Kevin, Rob, and I fly fished for Pacific black rockfish and had a very enjoyable day on the ocean out of Pacific City.

The video shows the process of dumping the dory off the trailer, a little of the fishing, and the run onto the beach at the end of the trip.

Several people have asked for video of the launching process, so I hope this helps people understand the what is involved when we launch into the surf. I note that the ocean was very calm on this day.

My best to you all.

Jay Nicholas July 22, 2017

Beyond Fake – Faux Bucktail Clouser

Jay Nicholas Faux Bucktail

Chris Daughters asked me to check out the new Faux Bucktail and shoot a video to introduce this material to consumers. I picked out a few colors and it sat on my bench for over a month, with me looking at and wondering if I really wanted to mess with the stuff. It looks so picture perfect. Each fiber is the exact same length and each fiber has a perfect sharp tip. I could tell that the material would not compress and flare like the natural, and that didn’t make me happy.

Eventually I gathered courage to test drive the material.

My first dozen flies were not entirely satisfactory and I was beginning to doubt the stuff. I should note that I was also trying to tie some odd patterns and not my usual flies, so that probably influenced the outcome of my experiments.

Eventually I let go of the exploratory patterns and settled in to tie my signature bucktail fly, the Clouser Minnow. Although the result is a slimmer fly than I am accustomed to tying, the results are quite pleasing. Plus—I am convinced that my new FAUX Clousers will stand up to chewing by black rockfish far better than natural bucktail clousers have in the past.

Anyway, I invite you to check out this video, the long version of one that I recorded for the Oregon Fly Fishing Blog. See if you like the fly I’ve created and then decide if you want to try the new material or stick with the usual stinky natural bucktails!

Me? I sincerely hope I’m out in a dory sometime in the next few weeks to fish these new found materials.

My best to you

Jay Nicholas – Spring 2017

Fly Fishing Glossary, the Saga Continues . . .

Jay Nicholas’ Fly Fishing Glossary.

This is a peek into the dark and dusty corners of fly fisher’s heads.  This has nothing, repeat, nothing to do with the inner workings of my own considerably tidy and conventional thinking.  No.  These are crazy ramblings, pure incontrovertible evidence that my friends, the people I hang with, are – well – over the top.  Like Brad Pitt in 12 Monkeys.

He had it right (Brad). Everything, and I do mean everything, is designed by powerful economic interests to entice us into buying stuff.  Stuff on top of stuff.  New stuff to replace our perfectly old stuff.  Like our Pflueger Medalist fly reels of the good ‘ol days.

Then too, our lives are ruled by a committee of powerful heartless trolls.  These individuals, I am sure, manipulate our every move.  They send us on missions to purportedly accomplish something important.  Like collect spiders and cockroaches.  They put us in harm’s way.  All for their own purposes.  They hear all, see all, call all the shots.  The committee’s mission is to ensure our obedience, to make sure that each of us follows orders.  We spend our life struggling against their imperative.

Pardon for just two minutes. There, just tore out my front teeth so they will not be able to monitor my next few statements.  Ha ha.

God.  I just had a scary thought.

Rivers without salmon.

Shudder.  More on that topic when I remember.  Who am I?  Why am I here?  Am I a paranoid delusional schizophrenic?  No, my diagnosis is different, I think.  Meds, must take meds now.  Ahhhh.  Feeling much better.

The fly Fisher’s Glossary. I started to ramble on the Oregonflyfishingblog and you can catch up on previous glossary entries at:

Here, continuing after Elmer Fudd, is the continuation of Nicholas’ Fly Fishing Glossary, for the hours when you are bored out of your skull reading about hatchery fish and wild fish and conservation and global climate change, and how we need more research to figure out how to save salmon (duh), and how BP will pay for all legitimate claims, as if such a thing was possible – – – –

BTW: I will start with a few entries that were not included on the Caddis Fly blog at on the first go-‘round.


Air Cell Supreme (noun)

Fly line manufactured by Scientific Anglers.

Back in about 1962 or 63, I tied parachute flies for Norm Thompson’s at their Southwest Portland retail store.  I charged them 35-cents per fly and they were tut-tutting at me because that was more than they paid for any other fly they sold at the time.  I don’t remember how many dozen flies I tied, but I used every penny to purchase a Pflueger 1494 reel, a Phillipson six-foot, five weight glass rod, fifty yards of backing, a full box of a dozen (dark green) Gladding tapered 6X leaders, and a SA Ivory Air Cell Supreme fly line.  I was in heaven.

I went fishing on the Metolius and caught a mess of trout.  Norm Thompson’s sold all the Parachutes in about fourteen seconds.  Peter asked me to tie them up four-hundred dozen Parachutes so they could sell them through a catalog.  I laughed and went back up to the Metolius to catch another mess of trout.  In retrospect, sadly, I am pretty sure that many of these were hatchery trout, but who knows.

I remember those trout gliding up out of the deep blue, opening their mouths, and wondering what the heck was going on when I jerked my high-floating Parachute out of their open mouths before they could chomp it.

Positively, all fly lines sold today are re-dyed Air Cell Supreme lines.  I learned from diligent Internet research that SA manufactured approximately seventeen thousand trillion of these lines back in the 60s, and had them secreted around the globe in secure warehouses for future use.  These fly lines cost about .000003 cents per each to manufacture, so even with instlflaltionary computations intact, these would represent about .05 cents per each in today’s pretend stock market imaginary currency or about .0000056 Euros per each fly line.

My Internet research also revealed that Cortland, Rio, AirFlo, Teeny, Wulff, Loop, and all the other arcane fly line marketers do not have any manufacturing capability whatsoever.  These shadow companies have simply bought up the original supply of SA Air Cell Supreme fly lines, are dying these different colors, and selling them as new and improved technology.

Bah. Nonsense.  They did figure out, however, to melt four DT5F lines together to make a Skagit compact head.  In fact, they cut these four lines in half before fusing them and therefore obtain two Skagit Compact heads from the 4 SA DT5F fly lines.

Then too, these slick hide-the-pea artists soak old SA lines in mercury to make them sink.  Toxic they are.  But we flock to buy them.  Ahhh, we never learn do we.  Hot orange, lime green, aqua blue, pale pink, and bright yellow fly lines are all simply dye jobs over the original SA Air Cell Supremes.

Clever. Pure genius.  What a money-maker.

All of the fly lines pictured above are re-dyed or re-molded SA Air Cell Supreme fly lines manufactured in about the mid-1960s.

Us unsuspecting and dull witted fly fisher consumers drool at each year’s fly line catalog, setting aside our food and house payment money so we can increase our chances of catching an actual salmon, steelhead, or heaven forbid, trout.  Then we buy the new lines, not understanding that they are really the old lines we tossed in the dumpster.


Love my Nor-Vise…

I started tying flies somewhere around 1962 or 63.  Somewhere in there.  My first vise was, most naturally, from the magical Herter’s Catalog.  It got me going but didn’t survive the rigors of a seventh grader trying to figure out how on earth a guy could make that cool spiral of hackle from the tail to the head of a bucktail caddis.  They didn’t provide much useful advice to Western fly tyers in that little grey  Herter’s Fly Tying instruction Booklet.

Anyway, then i got a Thompson, wore it out and then grew into a Thompson Ultra, I think, and as the number of flies I tied grew, I broke collet washers and vise jaws now and then, but with a good stock of parts, I was entirely pleased with the Thompson.

For whatever reason, in the 1980s I bought a Regal Vise.  Whoa!  I really preferred this vise.  Simple.  Quick.  No adjustments to make.  Reliable.

Skip forward to the mid-1990s.  Wanted to try a new vise.  A fly shop recommended Dyna King.  Bought it and tried it.  Great for certain applications.  Overall, I preferred the Regal.  So I went back to my then-favorite and messed around with various new vise-heads.

Now let’s go to why my favorite, must-have, wouldn’t-in-a-million-years-give-it-up vise is now a Nor-Vise.

I had a dear friend who used a funny rotating vise back in the 80s.  He tied commercially on it and told me it was great.  I think I might have even used it a few times at his home.  I was stump-fingered.  Couldn’t get the hang of it.  Gave up. politely thanked him, and went back to my Regal.

In early 2006, another friend encouraged me to try a Nor-bobbin.  I was skeptical.  I tried it and initially, was frustrated when the thread retraced and i needed to re-thread the silly thing.  But after working with it for a week, I realized the advantages it offered over my cadre of fancy standard bobbins.  This was a bit of a problem because I probably owned forty-something traditional bobbins at the time.

Then I went to a FFF Expo in Albany.  Usually I just smiled and walked past the nice man sitting there demonstrating his invention, the Nor-Vise.

This time, though, I stopped and watched, from a distance at first, then up close and personal.  I was still suspicious, clinging to my thought that this vise was mostly a gimick, a magician’s trick.

But I purchased a Nor-Vise and went to work.

Three years later, the Nor-Vise is my absolute go-to foundation for all my tying.  It holds hooks positively.  It saves me considerable time in fly construction.  It is a marvel spinning dubbed bodies.  Did I mention that it is fantastic for tying dubbed bodies.  My tinsel rib is a marvel to behold.  Stimulators and Wooly buggers with palmered hackles over-wound with copper wire are perfection, and fast to tie.

I could go on but won’t do so now.  I also got to know Norm over the last three years.  Fine gentleman.  An innovative engineer and consummate fly tyer.  A great teacher.  Norm can do things with this vise that are beyond my current skill-set, but the efficiency, reliability, and superior technical advantages of this vise are  mind-boggling.

Wish I had tried one years ago.

No hype, no bull, just performance.

Now for a shameless and blatant commercial suggestion:  give a Nor-Vise a try.  These are genuinely effective quality tools and Norm backs them with a full warranty.  These are available at the Caddis Fly, as are any of the Nor-vise accessories that are not listed in the on-line catalog.

I still keep my Regal handy, because there are a few functions ot tying angles I seem to need it for (like tying on Waddington Shanks).  Those functions comprise maybe 5% of the tying I do, but that 5% is still important.

And the Nor-bobbin? Now have over twenty of these gizmos and use them for 99% of my fly work.  Duh.