May 13th, 2002|
Soft Hackles in America: three books by Sylvester Nemes
Reprint edition (September 1993)
The Soft Hackled Fly Addict
Soft Hackled Fly Imitations
Bozeman, MT, resident Syl Nemes is largely responsible for the popularization of this sparsely dressed style of fly in North America via his three books on the subject: The Soft Hackled Fly (1971), The Soft Hackled Fly Addict (1981), and Soft Hackled Fly Imitations (1991). The former two are available in reprint editions from Stackpole books.
The first book provides a history of the soft hackled fly and of the author's adoption of the style. The historical view traces soft hackles from Berner through the fly fishing literature of both the UK, even placing these flies in the context of the relatively modern work of Halford and Skues. Nemes also ferrets out the few references in the North American fly fishing canon in Schweibert's Nymphs and Leisenring's/Hidy's The Art of Tying the Wet Fly and Fishing the Flymph.
It is too bad that (to the best of my knowledge) no one has issued a reprint of Soft Hackled Fly Imitations. In this, the third and final volume, Nemes' thinking is at its most evolved and original. He goes beyond the traditional attractor patterns described in his first two books to bring soft hackles in line with contemporary hatch matching, presenting modern patterns and methods adapted to specific hatches including the grannom, baetis, pale morning dun, and others. Syl's Mother's Day Caddis soft hackle in a personal favorite of mine for the grannom hatches which follow the March Brown's on Oregon's McKenzie River. I reach for his Syl's Midge in the winter months when the Crooked River is dotted with rise forms but no hatch is apparent.
These are wonderful books, steeped in the history of our sport and building into the present on the historical foundation. They are of equal value to the fly fisher, the fly tier, and the historian. Armed with a good grounding in these traditions, the modern fly tier can add their own variations of this simple but effective style of fly. ~ Stu Farnham
About StuStu Farnham is a New Englander by birth, who was transplanted to and put down roots in Oregon in the early 1990s. A software engineering manager by vocation, he can be found in his spare time chasing trout and steelhead in the rivers of the Pacific Northwest, chasing his four Gordon Setters (who in turn are chasing chukar), tying flies, reading, or working on his website. Colleen, his long suffering wife of 28 years, is a professionally trained personal chef.
Previous Stu Farnham Book Columns
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