Expert Advice, Hints and Shortcuts

From the World’s Leading Fly Fishers
– Compiled and Edited by Jay Nichols

Information for your Library or Fly Shop

1001 Fly Fishing Tips

ed. Jay Nichols

Headwater Books; First Edition, 2007

ISBN-10: 0979346010

ISBN-13: 978-0979346019

224 pages; 8.3 X 5.6 X .5 inches

Potent stuff! Whole generations of fly fishing knowledge presented in a densely packed volume. Guaranteed you will learn facts and easily applied skills that will make your fly fishing life a whole lot easier.

Jay Nichols, a former managing editor of Fly Fisherman magazine, has rounded up, arm-twisted, waylaid, and cajoled 30 renowned fly anglers to drop by with some of their intermediate to advanced level secrets. That's an achievement in itself! The end result is a phenomenal $19.95 list book, spanning 210 pages.

Upon first glance, 1001 Fly Fishing Tips looks like one of those superficial beginner's tips books, but take a good look at this one, it's worth it. This book really does a superb job of filling a niche. You would be hard-pressed to find a better gift to send to a newly minted fly angler.

You know you’ve hit the jackpot when you start seeing tips that take normal human beings years to figure out. There in plain view – simply and clearly presented – are the answers and advice. The amount of frustration this book could save makes it a bargain. Are we all for reducing fly fishing frustration? Heck, yes!

While fly fishing is great for instilling the value of patience in an on-demand world, anything that smooths the bumps in the learning curve is a huge asset. This is a key point, when you are trying to win a friend or family member over to the sport.

What’s Inside?

Among the 30 contributors are people like Lefty Kreh, John Barr, Mike Lawson, Lani Waller, Bob Clouser, Bob Popovics, Dan Blanton, and more. For people new to fly fishing, these names won’t mean anything, but be assured these are stellar fly folk passing along their hard-won knowledge.

For example, six pages of Lefty Kreh's casting advice, minus the illustrations you'd find in his own books and videos, start a section that also features Bob Clouser, Ed Jaworksi, and Simon Gawesworth (Spey casting).

An excellent gear and rigging chapter includes, for starters, George Harvey's Slack Line Leader formula, several types of yarn indicators, how-to's on tandem fly rigs, Zap-A-Gap loops, and making your own braided loops.

Fishing techniques are covered like how to bang the bank from a drift boat, how to differentiate rise forms and what they mean, and how to spot fish.

Some fly fishers will appreciate the six-page digest of fly fishing etiquette. That’s good news for those tired of the rigors of combat fishing. These pages should be issued along with fishing licenses.

One of the constants of the book are safety tips and precautions. Essential advice to keep the young’uns and chronic mistake-prone – out of trouble.

The book ends with several "How To" pieces for fishing destinations – such as backcountry, saltwater, flats, beaches and jetties.

All told, in a race to fit the largest number of worthwhile tips into a compact book, 1001 Fly Fishing Tips is a easy winner.


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How’s this for a test? Split the book at random and pick a paragraph with a blind, finger-stab selection. Here are the chance-chosen items that came up...

Fearless Casters Catch More Fish (pg. 44)

Use the structure. Bounce your dry flies off rocks and cast bendbacks and other weedless flies to the bank or brush and pull them off. You may lose more flies, but there is often no other way to get your fly tight to the structure where the fish are holding.

Stillwater Trout by Brian Chan (pg. 52)

Look into the Water

Carry a small aquarium net to capture pupae, nymphs, emergers, and adult insects so you can match fly patterns to size and color. Place the specimens in a vial or white dish to get a better idea of color and to also watch the insects emerge.

Organizing Lines - Band-It (pg. 106)

If you don't store a line on the spool it came on, you can keep it in a managed coil with twist ties, pipe cleaners cut in half, or rubber bands. Wrap the rubber band around the coil, and pass one end through the larger loop, cinching tight. The rubber band will stay in place...Velcro strips sold in garden and hardware stores also work well to corral line.

Cleaning cork fly rod grips (pg. 126)

Scrub with soap and an old toothbrush or similar small brush to cut any grease (Simple Green also works) and then follow up with a scouring cleaner such as Comet or Soft Scrub with Bleach. Some anglers use Wonder Cloth or Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser to clean cork grips.

Trico Time by John Barr (pg. 152)

If trout are rising sporadically, they are probably feeding on the duns or some other insect. After the spinners hit the water's surface, the pace of the rising increases to a frenzied, rapid cadence. This is your tip that the trout are feeding on Trico spinners. Trout can get picky when feeding on Trico spinners, so you must have a good spinner pattern in the correct size.

Staying Warm (pg. 170)

Bring two or three pairs of wool, fleece, or neoprene fingerless gloves on cold winter days. Leave an extra pair of mittens in the car just in case. An extra pair of dry gloves in your vest can keep you fishing after everybody else goes home. Stuff some inexpensive liner gloves into your vest or pack. They don't take up space, but you'll appreciate the spare set if you get your main set wet or leave them at


Fishing Etiquette by Paul Weamer (pg. 194)

Boating: Communicate with other fisherman. If you're not sure which side of the river someone is fishing or where to float through a pool packed with boats and waders, then ask the other fishermen how they would like you to proceed around them. Most anglers will appreciate that.

That’s seven tips. For another 994, buy the book and make Headwaters Books proud.


Fly fishing is indeed the poetry of angling.

– Dr. James A. Henshall

Jay Nichols combined his love of literature and fly fishing, when he founded Headwater Books in 2007. He is also fly fishing acquisitions editor for Stackpole Books. Both companies and the Nichols family call Pennsylvania home.

Jay earned his graduate degree in Literature at the U. of Montana, Missoula, then worked for Montana's Mountain Press, and Falcon Press as hiking guidebook editor.

Fly Fisherman magazine was next from 2001-2007, where Nichols was first a senior editor, then managing editor.

As a freelance editor for Stackpole Books, his projects were Barr Flies (John Barr); Clousers Flies (Bob Clouser); Fly Fishing for Smallmouth (Bob Clouser); and Casting With Lefty Kreh.

Says Jay, "People seem to like 1001 because it has something in there for everyone – fresh/salt, beginner/expert. You can dip into it, now and then, for some light reading. It doesn't require a big commitment.”

“Currently spending time with my family and trying to get better at mandolin.”- Jay Nichols.

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