Monday, March 25, 2013

a rant, sort of

Now, I'm no expert, nor have I ever proclaimed to be one, at fly tying, but something bothers me lately with flies I see posted on forums etc, and its this....

The endless need to blow smoke up folks arses about their flies - and by this I mean bad looking flies that are prescribed by the masses to be 'works of art'

Maybe I'm getting old (34 this year) or maybe I'm just cynical. Probably both. But, there comes a time when we have to draw the line and lay it out straight to fly tyers that their flies look crap. I'm sorry if this hurts anyone, but that's how I feel, because when I started tying classic flies, the critique was laid on thick and heavy.

I'm a believer, that if a fly looks crap, its needs to be said. Not necessarily as I've just said it, because there are ways to positively critique items without causing offence.

What I hate is people of similar skill level, or even better skill level, than the tyer of a fly, stating that a fly looks amazing, is a work of art, when its clear as all day to anyone with eyes that can see, that the eye of the hook is crowded, there's varnish (or head cement), or worse, black varnish all over the hackle, or wings, the ribs are uneven, the body hackle is long enough to look big on a 10/0 shark hook,...yada yada yada. I could go on, endlessly. 
Do folks not realize, that by continually reinforcing poor work, the tyer gains little to no advantage? He continues on in oblivion, tying flies that fit the positive praise of his previous work, and wonders why he cant make the flies look like those on magazine pages, websites and online stores....

Fly tyers of the world - its time to get honest. If you don't feel like you can give a positive critique including some things to improve, then don't bother to comment on a fly. Think of it this way, would you go to a chemistry lab and tell the chemist you liked his experiment if he'd just blown up half a lab (not a dog)?? I doubt it. So, If you're not qualified to give critique, then don't give it. Just view the fly and move on.

If on the other hand, you are qualified, then give an honest critique of what you see. Dress it up, dress it down, but either way, give it honestly, to help the new comers to the craft get to where they want to be, and that is tying flies that look good.

Fish don't necessarily care how flies look, but sometimes they do. Flies, in my opinion, catch more fishermen, and they do fish, and maybe I've been caught, one too many times.

That is all.


P.S. here's a fly - a redo of the Wild Irishman I posted last week, on a Sunday style Limerick - 2/0
Hope you like it, though there is plenty wrong with it (head is crap for a start)!!


  1. Grumpy old man! I know what you're saying though. I see it on our wonderful forum. I'm no expert in pretty flies (I tie for function because I lack the skill to tie for art!), but I can see the difference in quality between the flies that are posted. Some dudes post fly patterns to show off a functional fly. They ain't pretty, but you know darn well they're going to catch a lot of trout. Comments of "nice ties" in those threads mean something different to me than guys who are posting flies like the ones you tie. Those, in my opinion, are tied for the sake of art, and should be held to higher standards. "Nice tie" means something completely different in this context, and even though I suck at tying, I can see the flaws you speak about. I agree, the people posting these flies need critical feedback, not smoke blown up their butts. I'd give it if I could, but when I look at ties and something doesn't look right, I don't know what it is! I just know something doesn't look right.

    1. You're definitely right about context and that its usually the ugliest flies that catch the fish....

      Nice alternative perspective...thanks for the comment!!


  2. Some people don't want to be critiqued. They just do it for fun, to blow off some steam, etc. I'll offer advice if the person asks or seems as if he or she is looking for help. The last thing your average fly tyer wants to hear is someone picking apart his or her fly because one rib is uneven. Those who are looking to get to the next level...they're hungry and they make it known (like yourself).

    As for the "art" thing...At least in the realm of classic salmon flies, they pretty, but there's nothing artistic about them. If I copied a Matisse painting, would it be art? Even if I put my own little touches on it, I didn't create it. Well, maybe it is art, but it wouldn't be my art.

    Now someone's own fly pattern, tied for artistic reasons, that could be a different story...

  3. Wow, Great Rant.. I'm new to the whole Fly tying and I'll tell you what there is a lot of just really shitty looking fly's that are professed as the best tied out there.


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