Posts Tagged ‘Jay Nicholas


Comets: Salmon/Steelhead love Comets streaking by.

Somewhere, with regards to tying Steelhead and Salmon patterns, I have followed the herd in tying ever larger and ornate flies. Long, leggy affairs that are lashed to a plastic tube or spendy Waddington shank. But, I came across a couple pieces about the Comet fly pattern and immediately wondered how did I stop tying these in the last few years. 

The Comet was always a simple tie and quite productive on the waters, primarily in the Winter. It is worth a review/revival to at least add to the other 2″-5″ long flies with trailing stinger hooks. 

Here is a video and information re the Comet at Oregon Fly Fishing Blog

Here at Fishing with Jay you see two of the primary colors for Comets.

This a simple to tie, very effective pattern for dredging away in the Fall months for Salmon and then into Winter for Steelhead. I have never fished it on the swing with a two hander so can’t speak to that, but no reason it wouldn’t work. Blue and Silver is a fine addition too.


Wild Fish v. Hatchery Fish: When Is Enough Data Captured to Convince

“Since the mid-1970s, large increases in hatchery programs in the U.S., Canada, Russia and Japan have released billions of fish into the water. And the increasing global demand for salmon has resulted in calls to further expand hatchery production, especially in Russia and Alaska. In a 2010 open letter to Alaska hatcheries, seafood processors proposed increasing pink salmon hatchery returns by 25%-115% over the next five years. Similarly, Russian hatchery managers stated in 2010 that Russia is planning to build 23 new hatcheries that would increase the country’s hatchery production by 66% or 680 million fish.

“The scale and magnitude of our current hatchery production system is enormous,” says Rand. “Five billion juvenile salmon are released each year worldwide, and the prospect of additional increases in hatchery production is worrisome for the long-term survival of wild salmon.” (more at Science Blog)



This a very complex issue for this C Average Student. Dams, Irrigation, Logging, Hatcheries, Commercial Fishing, Pollution, oh and Sea Lions, on and on contributing factors go. And, the propensity is to substitute one man made management style over the top of the previous one. We mucked it up and the mean time, the Put ‘n Take Crowd wants their damn fish! I am glad others are taking on this puzzle and that they put it in terms I can understand…Cliff Notes so to speak.

All the good intentions aside, it does come down to prior investments, jobs, business versus a probable crisis in maintaining/restoring the original wild strains. As much as everyone readily paints business interests as inherently bad and the problem, I at first will always point to government management or mismanagement as a greater culprit in messing things up…then poor stewardship by businesses…and the oblivious ‘I want mine’ by the ‘put in take’ crowd helps perpetuate the whole mess. 

While it feels good to quote some Native American slogan about preserving some resource, I wonder how Oregon and Washington…two states that have had overwhelming Democrat power bases for decades….two very liberal/progressive states…two very eco conscious states have made such a mess of the fisheries. All those Democrat Governors have been silent and void of leadership on these issues. Of course, I’m only a C Student…so what do I know?


Fly Tying: Palmered Hackle…The Two Ways

Front To Rear w/ Copper Wire to the Front

Jay Nicholas demonstrates the front to rear, reinforced method. I have never used it much. Excellent for reinforcing the hackle to provide durability from gnarly teeth and forceps. 

David Cammiss Shows Both Palmering Methods Here

I learned the Rear to Front-Unreinforced Method. I rarely have had the hackle break on a Woolly Bugger or Elk Hair Caddis. Practice both methods and see how durable it is for you. 

I have to admit that much of the fly tying durability techniques: head cement, reinforcing the hackle with wire, double whip finishing at the head, head cement on the shank before wrapping the thread or body….have never proven necessary for me…yes, I do on occasion catch enough fish to test that practice.

The only place I have had flies separate from fish teeth or forceps is the front hackle. So, I would imagine my securing of the hackle was amiss. Rarely has the thread head unraveled. And, truly if a fly is falling apart from too many fish or their sharp teeth then ‘hooray for me!!!’


Fly Tying: To Grind or Not Grind

I came across a zip lock bag of dubbing that was clearly not, as it looked in the bag, from any fly shop. Long ago, I took assorted dubbings and selected amounts of this one and that one then put them in an old coffee grinder and blended the components until I saw what I envisioned to be a fishy concoction. 

Blending your own creations of dubbing is a simple project and adds to your sense if unique creations and individual flare. Often, with so many options hanging on a hook in a shop, you will find what you need. Others have done the thinking and grinding and why bother with fussing about making your own? If you have that overly developed sense of creativity in fly tying then you will eventually eye that coffee grinder on the counter and decide it is time to buy a new coffee grinder…and hey, you might as well set that old grinder by your tying station. Here is more input on tying and dubbing as well… Dubbing flies, particularly spiky thoraxes, adds a lot of suggestive life like features to your flies. Knowing all the possibilities of dubbing will greatly expand your creative efforts and thinking about presentation of the fly. 

Photo from Big Kype.Com


Fishing With Jay

Fishing With Jay


Steelhead Jig Fly Tying ~ Jay Nicholas

Steelhead Jig Fly Tying Video

Vodpod videos no longer available.


Fly Tying: Low Riding Stonefly Dry (Jay Nicholas)

Nice looking Salmon Fly pattern (Stonefly Dry), low riding and tempting. Pattern is by Jay Nicholas...with some sort of  Salmon addiction and a lifetime of working to preserve Oregon fisheries. My goodness, it is late April. The Deschutes R. fever is right around the next calendar page. A heavy hackle and larger hook size away from one of my all time favorites from long ago…the Tied Down Caddis. It will come into its own again someday…not as a scud, but as a Caddis pupa.

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