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I learned from Singlebarbed tonight of the death this week of Sylvester Nemes, the creator of the soft hackled fly. Singlebarbed credits Nemes with "saving fly fishing from a fate worse than death" by countering the trend at the time toward an orthodoxy of precise and rigid imitation in fly tying.
I am pleased to own two of Nemes' books, gifts from Brother John. Both are signed, and the Spinners volume includes an actual fly on the title page. Tied by Sylvester? I like to think so.
I love soft hackles. They're one of the first flies I tied, and they have profoundly influenced my tying style. They're easy to tie, lovely in their simplicity, and lovely to fish. And they've brought many lovely trout to my net.
Thanks, Syl. Wherever you are, may you go softly...