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Thread: How did the Great Tiers get into the Business?

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    Sep 2010
    Kapaa, hawaii
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    Default How did the Great Tiers get into the Business?

    I am re-reading Eric Leiser's book on the Dettes' and other early New England tiers.

    What I have wondered about for years is this: What separates/separated an enthusiast tier from one who ultimately has a fly shop?

    Hard to explain what I am getting at here. I know many guides who tie a lot. I know many purely non-professionals who tie a great deal. Many have tied a great deal for 30-40-beyond years. Now, I venture to say that most would tell you that during the first one to three or more years their flies were not consistent, high-quality flies even though they were tying high volumes.

    Now, picture a young Walt Dette taking a Rube Cross fly he purchased apart one thread turn at a time to determine how it is tied. Then, in short order, be selling flies for a living and doing well at it. This without help from others in learning how to tie flies. No books with good instruction; no videos; no willing mentors; etc.
    Now, you cannot say, I believe, that somehow Walt, Winnie and their daughter each happened to possess some miraculous talent from nature. Certainly they were talented, but they weren't born with their skills.

    So, for example, what did their first 800 dozen flies look like? At what point did their flies become high enough quality to have fishermen come to seek their flies?

    Walt did not fly fish until a teenager. I don't think he started tying flies until his early twenties.

    I find this so interesting. I wish there were a better historical documentation of how they developed. How long it took them to "perfect" their craft. What did the first flies they sold look like. etc, etc, etc.

    Anyone else wonder?
    Last edited by Byron haugh; 11-21-2012 at 11:35 PM.

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