Sylvester Nemes Dies

Sylvester Nemes, champion of the wet fly and author of the classic The Soft-Hackled Fly and Tiny Soft Hackles: A Trout Fisherman’s Guide (updated and revised in 2006), died on February 3, the Bozeman Chronicle reported yesterday. As we noted two years ago in our review of The Soft-Hackled Fly, Nemes “helped create a resurgence in what many fly fishers had dismissed as an arcane method of tying and presenting flies. Prior to this book, soft-hackles had lost favor to the more ‘scientific’ imitations of dry flies and nymphs. Now few trout shops don’t offer at least a few ‘spiders,’ ‘wingless wets’ or ‘soft-hackle emergers.'”

“Nemes, predictably, [was] a purist. (He once responded to someone who asked ‘Do you ever tie your flies as beadheads?’ with ‘Why don’t you just get a spinning rod?’) But he demonstrates that all the careful attention to color, materials, and tying techniques that are so important to dry flies and nymphs matter just as much in what looks to be the very simple construction of soft hackles. Soft-hackles, you might say, are only as simple as you want them to be.”
Ben Pierce writes extensively about Sylvester Nemes on Outdoors Chronicle: “Sylvester’s fame extended to Japan where there is a fishing club named in his honor and a fly rod manufacturer that produces a model bearing his name. In 2008, he was the recipient of the ‘Legends of the Headwaters’ award from the Madison-Gallatin chapter of Trout Unlimited.”

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