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Fly Swap FAQ

Are you a fly fisherman who like to swap flies with others? This idea was brought to my attention a little while back and I think we should give it a try.
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Fly Swap FAQ

Postby Todd B. » Wed Oct 31, 2007 4:25 pm

Given that there seems to be an interest in holding some fly swaps over the winter I thought I'd post a fly swap FAQ before we get the swaps going.

What is a fly swap?
    A fly swap, basically, is when a number of flytyers exchange flies and tying techniques with one another. One of the tyers acts as the swap host or 'swapmeister' and coordinates the gathering and the distribution of all the flies for the rest of the swappers. Swaps are open to everyone and your level of tying skill is not a prerequisite.
How do I join one?
    Often new swaps are announced by the someone willing to assume the roll of the swapmeister for a particular fly swap. All you have to do to join is send an e-mail or PM to the swapmeister requesting to be a part of the fun. They will in turn send you their particular swap instructions, letting you know what type flies to tie, how many, where to send them, deadline dates, etc. Please try to follow the instructions as best you can...their job is not an easy one!
How many flies do I have to tie?
    This really depends upon how many people have signed up for a particular swap. I've seen as few as four to over fifty. An average size swap is usually about 15 to 20 tyers. Most swaps require that you tie up one fly for each participant. In turn, you will receive one fly from all the other tyers, for your efforts. On some of the larger swaps the swapmeister may ask that everyone tie 12 flies each and in this case you would receive 12 different flies in return.
How am I supposed to send them?
    Your swapmeister will provide an address to which your completed flies should be mailed. Please make sure you supply a return envelope and adequate return postage. If you are unsure on the return postage the pre-paid priority post soft packs are convenient.
    Note: Depending on the thickness of the flybox you mail, additional postage may be required. Be sure to have your postmaster ensure that this is not an issue.
What's the best way to package my files?
    On each of your flies you should attach a 'small' tag on which is your name and e-mail and the name of your pattern, so that all the flies can be identified by their recipients . The tag should be a tiny piece of paper to which you can impale the hook point. Do not attach tags with strings or wire as untangling a mess of flies can be a nightmare for your swapmeister.

    Then place your flies in an appropriately sized crush-proof container (this container will be returned to you filled with all the treasures from the other swappers). Keep in mind that some of the other tyers may be tying flies that are larger than yours, so make sure that your container is large enough. Your swapmeister's preference (for ease of distribution) is a container that is flat and lacks compartments. Altoids tins are perfect as are small to medium plastic flyboxes. Other types that work well include floppy disk, camcorder cassette and VCR tape boxes. Travel soap holders also work well or small compartmented Planos.

    Things to avoid are film canisters, cardboard boxes or any hard breakable plastic boxes. Some swappers like to package their flies, especially unhackled types, in individual ziplocks or paper envelopes. That's great, but you have to remember to still include a box for the return of flies that are not packaged in the same manner.

    Now place your filled box in a self-addressed padded return envelope. It is the norm to also include the tying instructions for your pattern. Make sure that you include adequate return postage...sometimes it costs more for the return trip due to larger flies or extra materials. It is best to NOT afix the postage but to include it inside the padded envelope. Now place your return package in a larger manila or tyvek envelope, address it to your swapmeister and ship it on out before the deadline date. It's always a nice gesture to include an extra fly or two for your hard working swapmeister...he will appreciate it!
A few other swap tips.
    Please read and follow your swapmeisters instructions. It is a good idea to print out his rules and save them, as they will contain important information like deadline dates and shipping instructions.
    If you get overwhelmed and feel you cannot complete the swap, don't feel bad, we all know unexpected commitments arise that prevent us from completing certain tasks. But, please let your swapmeister know as early as you possibly can. It is very possible that he can find a replacement tyer for you and you won't be delaying the completion of the swap.

    Mail out your flies well before the deadline date. You don't want to be the last tyer to finish and make everyone else wait while you frantically try to finish up!

    An efficient swapmeister will keep everyone apprised as to the status of his swap. Expect to receive frequent updates and please let him know how you are coming along if he asks.

    If you have a question, don't be afraid to ask your swapmeister. There are NO stupid questions!

    Last, but of the most importance is to HAVE FUN!
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Todd B.
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