Fun With Swaps
By Richard Zieger, Iowa
Archive of Panfish
Had some time today so I started looking through
some boxes I had swap flies in. I figured out
I have been in about 75 swaps so far. That makes about
15 swaps a year for every year I have been tying. It is
a great way to see new patterns and see how other folks
Ran onto patterns I did not remember having. It was fun
also to see how my tying had improved a little. It was
also fun to see all the names that came up in the boxes
on the tagged flies. I may have to keep some of them out
and get into a frame of some sort as they surely will be
famous some day.
Also saw how far behind I was on cataloguing the flies.
I am putting each fly and the pattern on one sheet of
typing paper and putting them in plastic sheet protectors.
This way I can divide the flies up into different types
and by having the fly name at the top of the sheet I can
keep them alphabetical to make it easier to find. I found
some 4" ring binders on sale so I have plenty of room to
put them in, I just need to get it done.
It was fun to see the innovative ideas that different tiers
have come up with, remembering that one of my favorite beetle
patterns came in a swap. Tie on foam that you have cut for
a beetle-shaped body but wrap the shank with ice chenille
before you pull the foam over to tie in at the head. I have
these tied in several colors and have caught a ton of bluegills
and some nice bass on this pattern. I have also lost several
flies to large bass that hit this fly and then took me into
any type of obstruction that could break the leader. But you
can't catch them if you don't hook them.
It was fun to read a few of the letters I got from other people
who were in swaps. One of the best was from the first swap I
was in that I tried to dub a body. This tier wrote me a letter
and included one of the first flies that he had ever dubbed.
He suggested two things to me that I have tried to do. First
was to save a few of the flies that I tied each year just to
see how my tying has changed and improved (there are questions
about any improvement). His other sage words of advice for me,
were to take the dubbing I was going to use on the fly and divide
it in half. Take half that and divide it in half again. I should
then take 1/3 of that to use on the fly. Do you get the idea
that the flies were the size and shape of a dog poop? What
impressed me again was that this was not criticism but
encouragement to improve my tying skills.
One thing that I did not do at the start that I have tried
to do in the past few years is to mark who sent extra flies
to me while I was the Swapmeister. This is not something
that I asked to be done but several people have done it. Got
some nice flies in but I don't remember who tied them.
I always, my personal agenda, try to send a couple of other
flies to the Swapmeister. This is just a thanks for the work
that they do in organizing and running a swap. I have not
joined in three swaps where part of the "rules" were to send
a couple of extra flies for the Swapmeister.
I would encourage you to join in a swap if you have not.
They are fun and you learn a lot. You can join swaps at
more places than I can tell you without missing some of them.
Lots here on FAOL, check the Bulletin Board listing for Fly
Hope you can get out on the water.
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