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

Fly Fishing Baja with Gary Bulla 2017

Jay Nicholas Baja Dorado by JB

I just returned from a very enjoyable week fishing with Gary Bulla in Baja, La Ventana and Baja Joe’s to be more specific. Gary runs a great show for fly anglers of all skill levels and his panga captains are gentlemen as well as fly fishing mentors.

I put together a short clip of highlights from the week, of course I failed to record some of the hottest action during the week plus, I lost one of my cameras at the end of day 6 of the trip. Oh well, stuff happens don’t it?

I also posted a trip report with more photo images on the Oregon Fly Fishing Blog.

In short, I did not catch a rooster, but I came close. Really close. I was told that you can’t retrieve too fast for the dorado and roosters, but I now question that advice, as I’m pretty sure I pulled my fly away from both species at crucial moments when they were trying to chomp it.

Again, oh well.

Jay Nicholas with Gui in Baja

On day 6, our guide Fedilito cruised in near a buoy and threw a few ballyhoo to see if there were any dorado about. Well, there were three dorado ready to chase bait and they commenced to crash the surface, throwing water two feet in the air in the process.

This was my first week fishing for dorado and I had never seen fish of this size crashing around chasing bait. My angling companion for the day, Karen, commenced casting as I did. She is an experienced dorado fisher and kept her cool, but I was going nuts casting to the giant fish as it raced around in front of us. Of the three dorado we saw, two were very large and one was modest sized. We both cast and cast, Fedilito threw a few ballyhoo to keep the fish active, and  — oh my gosh — the biggest dorado was chasing my fly straight towards the boat as I was retrieving! I probably only had ten feet of fly line out of my tip-top when the dorado consumed my fly and turned away from the panga.

As usual, I shouted with excitement, just like a kid.

Game on.

I did not capture any of the excitement before hooking this big dorado, but it was much like the action of a few days earlier when I hooked a modest size dorado and managed to record that event on the Go Pro. I am pretty well captivated by the sight of brilliantly hued fish chasing bait and flies around in plain view. This sort of fishing excitement is something I could easily become addicted to. Oh my goodness.

Our panga captain Fedilito was as pleased as I was to have the big fish take the fly. It was a good 200 yards into my backing in a flash and jumping while I turned on the Go Pro. Fedilito cautioned me — grande dorado, no break.  This fish was a real prize to a young panga captain.

Here is the video clip. I hope you enjoy it. Better still, I hope you are able to go fishing down in Baja someday yourself. I never imagined that I would make the trip but thanks to my dear friends Gui and Jim, I decided to accept their invitation to join them and I booked a trip and a flight less than two weeks notice.

Sure glad that I did.

My best to you always. May your fishing and your world be good.

Jay Nicholas — May/June 2017

ECHO OHS fly rod: two-hand casting excellence in the tightest quarters

Echo OHS Fly Rod a

Just a quick notice that I’ve written a review of this very fine new OHS fly rod by ECHO for the Oregon Fly Fishing Blog—after fishing this rod a full ten days this winter season. Tim Rajeff coached me into the proper wt. Airflo Scout head and tip to load the rod properly for two-hand casting, and I love fishing this rod in everywhere from close quarters to wide open runs.

Rather than a full repeat of the review, I’ll include a link to the OFFB here, and publish both posts simultaneously . I realize that my reviews make almost no mention about the OHS rod’s cosmetics and hardware. These rods are built very much like the Echo 3 Switch Rods with emerald green shaft and anodized aluminum reel seats. The rod includes the option for shorter and  longer butt handles—I fish the OHS exclusively with the longer handle (it screws into the reel seat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here are a few OHS rod and line matches if you will strictly be casting two-hand style, as I normally do.

ECHO OHS 6 wt. — 270 gr Airflo Scout8 ft Airflo T-10; or OPST 96 gr tip.

ECHO OHS 7 wt.  — 330 gr Airflo Scout10 ft Airflo  T-10; 10 ft Rio T-11; or OPST 96 gr tip.

ECHO OHS 8 wt. — 390 gr Airflo Scout10 ft Airflo  T-10; 10 ft Rio T-11; or OPST 96 /132 gr tip.

If you plan on using the OHS rod as it was originally intended (single-hand casting with a haul to load the rod properly), it is fair to suggest that you subtract 60 gr from the recommended head weights listed for each rod above.

Jay Nicholas winter steelhead 2017.jpg

Swinging for winter steelhead on the upper river has been a scratchy proposition for me this season. One friend fished about 6 days and caught 3 fish. Another friend fished close to two weeks and has hooked (and lost 5 fish). My count for 10 says swing fishing is three fish lost and one to hand. A challenging but successful season in my mind.

I loved the light-in-hand feel of the 7 wt. OHS rod.  It is shockingly light compared to most 7 wt switch rods. When I finally hooked a steelhead that held onto my fly (on the last day of the upriver season) I had my hands full of excitement with a nice 12 pound (I swear) hen. We all have different perspectives, but I felt that the 7 wt is entirely powerful enough to fight the fish.  At least it worked out for me. If you have doubts, I’d suggest that you reach for the 8 wt.

 Two-hand casting with this 10 ft. 6 in. rod is so pleasurable that I don’t even dabble at developing my single hand casting style—I’m satisfied to classify the OHS as a mini spey rod—realizing that I’m missing out on half of the rod’s performance capabilities.

I’ll also reiterate that these rods are ideally suited to small and modest sized rivers. They will cast a country mile, handle in the tightest quarters, and I would recommend these short (10 ft 4 in) rods in a very wide range of fishing habitats. For places like wide open runs on the Sandy, Clackamas, or Deschutes, I would often reach for a longer Spey rod. Even on these larger rivers, I have fished specific places where trees and brush complicate casting with longer two-hand rods. These make a perfect place to swing the OHS rod without stress or strain. Wow, another excuse to buy more tackle.

My best wishes to you:

Jay Nicholas

Nicholas’ Anchovy Gurgler

Underside view of Anchovy Gurgler.
Underside view of Anchovy Gurgler.

Nicholas’ Anchovy Gurggler

First, I know it is silly to claim this fly as “mine.”  So many thousands of fly tyers have tied Gurglers before I even knew about the pattern that surely someone must have tied a fly pretty much like this, but wait! Maybe they did not have the advantage of the Mirage Lateral Scale and the EP Senyo’s Chromatic Brush and the EP Minnow Head Brush to tie their fly so maybe this is actually an original creation.

Whatever.

This fly rocks the Pacific black rockfish when they are on the prowl for big baitfish scattered among crab spawn.  I thank John Garrett’s coaching via Facebook because when he was tying Gurglers I noticed the V shape he cut in the fly’s back (I had always just cut the foam straight across but this looks so very much nicer).  This is glued to the back with brush on Zap-a-Gap, but sometimes I do not glue it down to create a little higher profile, not that It is noticeable to the fish, but I like both the glued and non glued versions for their different looks.

Side view Anchovy Gurgler.
Side view Anchovy Gurgler.
Bass perspective view of Anchovy Gurgler.
Bass perspective view of Anchovy Gurgler.
Seagull perspective view of Anchovy Gurgler!
Seagull perspective view of Anchovy Gurgler!

Hook Gamakatsu SP11-3LH Saltwater size 1 or 1/0

Tail: White bucktail under Fl. blue buck tail + Mirage Lateral Scale
Body: Senyo’s EP Chromatic Brush, Blueberry 1.5”
Gills: EP Minnow Head Brush bloody Red
Foam: Blue thin .002 foam from Hareline Dubbin
Thread: Danvillie’s 210 D white or fl blue

Are the bass super discriminating regarding the profile of a surface fly they will take? Probably not.  Still, I love this fly and it catches fish.  I hope beyond hope to catch a king salmon on one of these someday.  Who knows.  Maybe.

New Camera Captures Image of Anchovy Gurgler at 28.3 MP.
New Camera Captures Image of Anchovy Gurgler at 28.3 MP.

This here is an image of the Anchovy Gurgler shot with my new camera, whoo-hoo!

Hope you enjoy this post and tie up some gurglers for whatever fish you are chasing.

Jay Nicholas

April 2015

Three Flies to Fish Out of Pacific City – in a single day!

Three flies - one day - in Pacific City
Three flies – one day – in Pacific City

I had to chuckle the other day when I glanced at my SIMMS Boat Bag and noticed the wild assortment of flies tangled in a little scruffy patch on the top of the Bag.  Among the dozen or so flies were three that I had recently fished in a single day, and caught fish on too. Pacific City is a paradise for me, my analog to Rodrick Haig Brown’s Campbell River home that I read and dreamed about my entire life.  The fishing opportunities within an hour of our cabin are so rich and enjoyable, and while there are certainly more glamorous and exotic destinations around the state and the world, I find myself quite amused and engaged with the fishing here close to PC. The day in question began with a quick trip into the Ocean with Ed and Kevin in their dory, fishing for pacific black rockfish, blue rockfish,  and lingcod.

The morning fly for the ocean - a fine clouser.
The morning fly for the ocean – a fine clouser.

This modest size clouser caught 4 species of bottom fish, including blacks, kings (nope, that is the auto correct changing “lings” to “kings“, blues, and yellowtail rockfish. On the beach by ten AM, I had to rest, so I took a short nap, re-read a few entries in the Fly Fishing Book of Revelation and then headed up to the Town lake, a mere three minutes from the cabin.  The little Chironomid nymph in a size 16 was about right to entice a nice summer steelhead kelt that was all shiny and full of jumps and runs, plus a few hatchery trout. Note: the hatchery trout prefer a bead head gold ribbed hares ear nymph to the buzzer.

Size 16 Chironomid Nymph - perfect for the Town Lake Steelhead.
Size 16 Chironomid Nymph – perfect for the Town Lake Steelhead.

Back from the lake by 3 PM, I unloaded trout rods, donned waders and cleated boots, and drove up the Nestucca, where I swung flies throughout the evening.  I did not hook any steelhead on this particular day, but on many occasions I have, and (fish or no) any evening swinging flies in a river that is only 20 minutes from my door is a great joy.

One of my favorite winter/spring clear water steelhead wet flies.
One of my favorite winter/spring clear water steelhead wet flies.

Of course there is always work to be done, like mowing the lawn, tidying tackle, tying flies, writing about these adventures, working on book creation and sales. and helping Chris with customer recommendations, not to mention an occasional fly tying video. But all in all, life is good and the sight of these 3 flies helped me remember just how diverse the fishing opportunities here on the Oregon Coast. I bet there are many places around this state and others where you could fish three wildly different flies in a single day too, and I’d love to hear from anyone who is willing to share their home water stories.

Jay Nicholas May 2015