Just 4 Guys Casting

I’ve started experimenting with my cellphone taking slo-mo video of friends casting. This makes perfect sense since we are not catching much. Problem is that my phone has poor quality video at slo-mo.

Anyway, I edited this short 3 minute movie that features a few river scenes and images of my friends and I casting on the river. Please don’t expect great quality video. We are just 4 guys having fun while hucking our flies across the run, hoping for a grab.  And please don’t expect great casting style from me — my friends do better — but we all had fun.

I’ll be experimenting with a different camera shortly, trying to get better resolution in future casting videos.

Thanks for your patience.

Jay Nicholas, winter season 2016/17

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

Late Winter Chrome on the Nestucca River

My Dec Hogan II sees mid afternoon action on the Nestucca.
My Dec Hogan II sees mid afternoon action on the Nestucca.

You never know the joys and challenges life will bring.  I have been blessed with all good news lately, but realize that many of my friends face all manner of heartache on a daily basis.  This may seem like an odd way to introduce a short post on a wonderful day I spent with an old friend – but while our day was very good, the same was not for everyone, and I just needed to say that.

So my day began with breakfast at the Grateful Bread with Jack and john Harrell; we talked fishing and great plans for the season just unfolding, and I headed back to the cabin to mess with tackle, flies, book promotion and the like.  Steve showed up about 9 Am, we visited a little, and then we loaded the boat and headed up to Town Lake.  Five minutes after leaving the cabin we were on the lake, and in short order we were catching hatchery trout.  Several trout.  Ok, maybe more than several.  It took Steve about five minutes to get accustomed to the subtle aspects of the bite and spit tactics, but he got it figured out and was soon showing those trout who the boss was.

The best flies we fished were barbless Jigged nymphs like the Bead Head gold Ribbed hares Ear.    There were other good nymphs too, and our flies were out fishing the power bait anglers in the vicinity, who noted that we were getting bit on about every cast.  The fish were so fast on the take that we only hooked some 20% of our takes, so it was a real challenge and a lot of fun.

I rowed Steve around the lake looking for summer steelhead, found several, and one bit a size 14 chironomid nymph  that he expertly placed about 6 ft in front of the 8 lb fish.  Sure enough, as the fly sank, the steelhead moved towards it and then coasted to a halt.  He’s got it, i whispered, pull back now!  He did and the fight was on.

in mid afternoon, we went to lunch, and then wafered up to head up the Nestucca for a little Spey Casting instruction session.  Well, apparently, I am a poor teacher, but Steve managed to chuck his fly out into the drift, and pretty soon he was fast to wild hen with sea lice at the base of her anal fin.  The fish had been hooked as a smelt because its maxillary bone was injured by an old scar, but the fish was a pleasant surprise on a sunny afternoon when we should only have been casting, not catching.  I got a small bright wild male that came to  a Micro Intruder and our afternoon was perfect in more ways than we would have asked.

Steve was fishing an ECHO Tim Rajeff Two Hand seven wt rod, I fished an ECHO  Dec Hogan II seven wt rod.  I fished an Airflo Skagit Intermediate Head and felt it was perfect.  Steve fished a long piece of plasticized string he found in his backyard in Corvallis, and I’m pretty sure that his casting would be better if he just had a line tuned to the rod.  But being a manly man, he top-handed his casts, whipping the rod furiously about his head, and caught as many fish as I did, so we were both happy and he is now convinced that “found” string is the next phenom in the Spey Fishing World.  He’s probably right.

I was camera-less that day, selling old cameras and waiting for new ones to arrive, but we had our phones so we got a few shots of our fish before releasing them carefully.  I hope these photos do not offend anyone, because the fish were momentarily head above water, but I’m quite confident that the fish were fine, being in cold water and only briefly up-periscope so to speak.

Steve's fine wild April winter steelhead, on one of my signature steelhead flies.
Steve’s fine wild April winter steelhead, on one of my signature steelhead flies.
My fine  male winter steelhead caught on a signature Micro Intruder.
My fine male winter steelhead caught on a signature Micro Intruder.

Photos taken with cameras can be confusing.  The untrained observer might think that Steve’s chromer is larger than mine, but I assure you that his fish weighed perhaps seven or eight pounds, while mine was easily twelve pounds.  Steve’s camera was set on “make your buddy’s fish look smaller” feature, and wow it really worked.

We were both thrilled to have had our flies grabbed that sunny afternoon, and lucky too, because I fished alone the same place next day with no grabs to show for my effort.  Now I’m wandering around Pacific City looking for rubberized string to put on my Spey rod.

At least I know I have good flies.

And good reading too, because I have my very own set of nine books wherever I go, so if I can’t sleep and tying flies is too taxing, I can pick up  one of my own masterpieces and ponder the next stage in shameless self promotion.

Shameless self promotion via product placement.
Shameless self promotion via product placement.

And if shameless self promotion wasn’t rampant enough already, this photo featuring SIMMS sweater, shirt, waders, boots lanyard, nippers, boots, and wading staff could just about put anyone over the edge, ya think? Too bad the ECHO DH II rod and Hardy Marquis fly reel are submerged and not easily visible, loaded with AIRFLO Skagit Intermediate head, RIO iMOW tip (no brand loyalty here) and OPST LAZER line!

So, Ben, and Eric, and Red, and George let me rest for a while, will ya?

Really folks, I’m just poking fun at all us gearheadsl.

I am grateful for this day, and hopeful for the days that will follow, whatever they may bring.

Jay Nicholas, April, 2015