Fly Tying Swaps are great for beginning fly tiers. They
are also wonderful for those who are more advanced. A
Swapmeister starts the fly swap and sets the conditions
and terms. On the Bulletin Board there is a section for
"Fly Swaps." I hope this will be of some help to
Swapmeisters who already have taken on the duties
and to future Swapmeisters.
I started a fly swap for "Beginner's Only." This fly swap
was created for those who have never been in a fly swap, or
are just beginning fly tying. I limited the swap to eleven
(11) members, to make the number of flies required for the
swap manageable. This fly swap quickly filled, and others
asked to join, I started a second group to accommodate these
The first group started with a December Fly, the other group
started with a January Fly. All members of the first group
were to tie "The Revenge," a nymph pattern by Chris Marshall.
This fly pattern can be found in
From Canada series, in the Features Section of FAOL.
Most Fly Swaps are a one-time-only affair, but there
are a few that are a continuous fly swap ("Beginner's Only"
was setup to be continuous). The Swaps can range from
flies for a certain water, fish, or category (e.g. Dry,
Wet, Nymph, Streamer, or Terrestrial). The swap can also
be for a specific pattern type (e.g.. Mayfly, Woolly
Buggers, or Midge). The variations are endless, some using
specific materials or colors.
Each group was offered three choices in selecting the
category for the January Fly. Here is how the voting
is set up. 1st Choice is 5 points, 2nd Choice is 3
points, and 3rd Choice is worth 1 point. The five (5)
categories are; Dry Fly, Wet Fly, Nymph, Streamer,
and Terrestrial. The members then get to choose a fly
pattern in that category. Group #1 is doing a Dry
Fly (their choice through voting), of a standard Mayfly
pattern (Swapmeisters choice). Will group #2 chose to
do a Nymph Category (their choice through voting),
pattern selection open (Swapmeisters choice)?
At the end of the voting, the total for the category
chosen, becomes zero. All other categories retain their
totals to be added on to the next month's ballot. I
did this for a few of reasons:
One fly category would not be constantly repeated.
Balloting for February's Fly started on January 1st and
closes January 8th. This allows the members of the each
group to choose a pattern and acquire needed materials.
All flies are to be mailed to the Swapmeister by the end
of the month (February's Fly should be mailed by February
Each category would be tied on a regular basis.
The most popular categories would be tied more often.
There is a lot of work involved with being a Swapmeister:
Keeping track of the balloting.
It helps if you create a separate category in your Address
Book for the members, which also includes mailing addresses
and telephone numbers.
Keeping track of which flies have been received.
Compiling the patterns tied and the recipes, for
mailing for that months fly.
Making sure that "Toe Tags" are on all flies to
be shipped out.
Paying for any short postage.
Answering all the email questions the members have.
Updating the group members of the status of the fly swap.
I also have two members of the "Beginners Only" who live
in Canada. Because of this fact there are additional
requirements for mailing:
Custom Declarations on all shipments. The form should
state the quantity (10), the item (fishing flies) and
the value (No Value), and statement: this shipment
is for a Fly Swap Trade!)
Being a Swapmeister has been fun and is well worth the
time and effort to keep things running smoothly. Just
by seeing the flies as they arrive in the mailbox
brightens my day.
Postage has to be paid in postage of country of origin.
This means the Swapmeister has to pay postage at their
end and the Member pays for postage back. Normally the
Member has a return envelope with return postage attached
in the form of stamps (meter postage is void after the
date it is created, and is only good for mailing from
the point of origin on the meter label). You will have
to check with your local post office as to the rates
for mailing thru the International Postal Union.
International Postal Union is a membership of every
nations Postal System for International Mailings.
Without further ado it is my great pleasure to show here,
a photo of "The Revenge" as tied by Chris Marshall,
followed by photos of the same pattern tied by the
eleven members of "Beginners Only" group #1. Remember,
some members have been tying flies for a few years and
are new to fly swaps, while others are new to both fly tying
and fly swaps.
All photos were taken in my new photo studio setup after
reading Al Campbell's series, which ran in his Field Editors
column on FAOL. I have a blue green matting board that I
bought at a art store ($4), and for lighting I use two shop
clamp type utility lights ($12) with white shields, that
have the new GE "Reveal" Incandescent Light Bulbs ($3),
100 watts each. They are said to remove the yellow from
the incandescent lighting. Flies are held by Hook Clips
that I wrote about in "Tying Tips" and the box to mount
the flies for the photos was courtesy of Mark Steffen
who mailed me his flies inside the box for the next swap.
Please check out the Fly Tying Section, on the Bulletin Board, here at FAOL too.
If you have any questions, tips, or techniques; send them to