Skills

Fishing Soft-Hackles

  • By: Dave Hughes
  • Photography by: Dave Hughes
Sylvester Nemes on the Yellowstone River

I first met sylvester nemes through his 1975 book, The Soft-Hackled Fly. It was a small book, tightly focused on its single subject: wet flies tied with bodies of silk thread, sparse hackles, rarely anything extra. Sylvester’s prose reflected his subject perfectly. It was spare, compact and didn’t stray from its subject. Which is to say, the book was beautifully written. Best to me: It was—and is, because it’s still in print under the title The Soft-Hackled Fly and Tiny Soft Hackles—one of those rare books that enthused me to immediately sit down at the vise, tie a bunch of the flies described, and rush from there to a stream to fish them.

The flies, and the methods described, worked. Sometimes they worked wonders. One of my favorite days with them came on a gloomy fall float of Utah’s Green River, downstream from Flaming Gorge Dam. Few trout rose all day. My friends and I tried pestering them to attention with weighted nymphs tumbled along the bottom, which turned out to be ineffective—and because it produced few trout, was also very little fun.

Welcone to the Jungle

  • By: Phil Monahan
  • Photography by: Scott Sanchez
  • Illustrations by: Fred Thomas
Welcome to the Jungle

Everyone knows that bass love weeds, but to cover big weedbeds efficiently, you often need a boat (although not necessarily a sparkly one). Unfortunately, and most noted in the South, the lake bottom around most weeds is mucky, with a thick layer of decaying vegetation on top. But in cooler climes—the northern tier of the country and at higher elevations—sandy or rocky lakebeds allow wading anglers to get in on the action. And because fish often bury themselves too deep in the weeds for boaters to reach, in some situations wading anglers may have advantages over their floating brethren.

Sylvester Nemes 1922-2011

  • By: David Hughes
Sylvester Nemes

Sylvester Nemes passed away at home, in Bozeman, Montana on February 3, 2011. Best known for his classic 1975 book The Soft-Hackled Fly, he also wrote seven other fly-fishing titles.

He was born on April 2, 1922 in Erie, Pennsylvania. He grew up in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and fished Pennsylvania trout streams. His fly-tying mentor was his barber. When he spotted several simple partridge-hackled dressings in bamboo rod-maker Paul Young’s fly shop, he was forever hooked.

Dick Talleur 1932-2011

  • By: David Klausmeyer
  • Photography by: Tim Savard
Dick Talleur

There are a lot of good fly tiers in the world, but there are very few great ones.

A good tier makes flies that catch fish, but a great tier is an ambassador for the craft. He is a patient teacher and is eager to help novices learn how to tie flies. He willingly shares hard-earned knowledge and expertise with more advanced tiers so they can learn the finer points and create better patterns. A good tier develops new flies that are named for him; a great tier shows a beginner how to make a simple Hare’s Ear Nymph in one sitting so he can enjoy the thrill of catching a fish with a fly that he made.

Fly Girls

  • By: Stephen Camelio
  • Photography by: Dusan Smetana
Fly-Girl

Not every family fishing vacation has to involve all the members of your clan. Heck, not even everyone who joins the fun has to be a blood relation; just ask Oprah Winfrey, who this past fall went fly-fishing with her best friend, Gayle King, during their girls’ trip to Yosemite National Park. We all know that women pick up the rhythm and feel of fly-fishing quite quickly, so it stands to reason that one of the fast-growing types of angling vacations are for women only.

The Better Part (Or Half) of Valor

  • By: Will Rice
  • Photography by: Will Rice
Debora Rice with Nanci Morris, hoisting an Alaska char.

Nanci Morris Lyons is one of the best guides in southwest Alaska, so my wife Debra just grinned and nodded when Nanci told her, “No husband should ever try to teach his wife how to drive a car, pilot a plane or use a fly rod. Come on out to Bristol Bay and I’ll show you how to cast a fly without developing all of Rice’s bad habits.”

Guides as Teachers

  • By: Jim Dean
  • Photography by: Cathy Beck
  • and Barry Beck
Guides Teaching

It’s a waste of money to hire a guide to take you fishing. Say what? I’ll put it another way. If your reason for hiring a guide is simply to catch a lot of fish, you’ll be happy with the result most of the time. But if that’s your only goal, you’re squandering a superb opportunity to significantly improve your fly-fishing skills.

Travel Fly-Tying Vises

  • By: Buzz Bryson
  • Photography by: Aaron Goodis
Travel Vises

There are two primary considerations for any fly-tying vise: It must hold the hook snugly, and it must allow you to tie a fly easily, i.e., the vise can’t get in the way. The only practical reason to buy a travel vise is that it is smaller—lighter and more compact—than your primary vise, while maintaining an acceptable level of function. It’s that simple.

Streamers on Calm Waters

  • By: Dave Hughes
Streamer On Calm Waters

I fished the yamsi ranch last spring, in the sparsely settled and flat pine-forest country of southern Oregon, with owner John Hyde. John grew up on the ranch. He raises range-fed beef when he’s not involved in his first love, guiding folks on his home waters. He’s tall, slender; his hat and mustache are both broad.

The Magic of the Adams

  • By: A. K. Best
  • Photography by: A. K. Best
The Magic of the Adams

Why an article about the Adams? Because I recently rediscovered the Adams as a lifesaver during what could otherwise have been a very frustrating day.

A few weeks ago, my friends Mike Clark and John Gierach invited me to fish some trout ponds not far from Boulder, Colorado that had been stocked with some rainbow/steelhead hybrids several years ago. We’ve fished these ponds several times over the past few years and knew the trout were large, very strong, extremely fast and would eagerly rise to midges. It was mid-April, so we assumed that midges would be the order of the day. I packed fly boxes loaded with midge adult, emerger and larva patterns in all the colors that had been successful in the past.