Start Tying your own Flies!- A Political statement! [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Start Tying your own Flies!- A Political statement!


striblue
06-17-2005, 07:34 PM
All you Fly fishermen out there.... start to cosider tying your own flies-All made in the US, ad stop the slave labor of Bagladash, India, South America and SE Asia... where they spend up to 12 hours a day tying flies for the US Market. Tying your own will provide an other completion to your love of your sport ot pastime. ... And don't give me the argument that at least we are providing employment for these people because YOU are not the managers othese sweat shops.

flytyer
06-17-2005, 08:13 PM
John,

I think you are onto something with this.

With my tongue firmly in cheek, What are those poor folk in the countries you mentioned going to do when they lose their lucrative $1.50-$2.00 USD/10-12 hour day jobs tying flies?

I appologize in advance to anyone who is offended by what I'm about to say.

Also, have you noticed that the best of the imported flies cost as much as those tied commercially for resale by local tyers? And I constantly hear complaints about the cheaper imported flies falling apart on 1 or 2 fish (if they even last long enough to hook a fish). But hey, $1.00 or less for fly is a bargain and it helps offset the $500.00+ tied up in a single rod. :biggrin:

Let us also not forget that the vast majority of fly shops don't buy from local tyers. They buy imported ones and so are also part of the problem. It has to do with being able to pick up the phone or send off an internet order for 100 dozen flies and having them in 2-3 days. They seem to forget that Individual local tyers can't afford to have hundreds of dozen flies already tied with the hope that the shops will buy them. Oh yeah, the customers won't buy flies that are over $1.50 despite the fact that they buy rods costing between $500.00 and $950.00 and reels priced upwards of $700.00.

striblue
06-17-2005, 08:25 PM
Well..You nailed the whole thing on the head!

Slinger
06-17-2005, 10:45 PM
This is one of the reasons I won`t sell flies. I have tied commercialy, and the whole thing discusted me. Most people won`t pay what a custom tied piece of art is worth. I`ve seen thousands of imported flies and I wouldn`t fish with them. Each year I give away hundreds of flies to people, but not Lefty! It disturbs me to tell someone the cost of a fly so I usually end up giving a couple if they are reasonably cordial. I use the best hooks, .75 apice, the eyes on my Clousers cost .50 apice, the material is the latest and best available and it takes 20 to 30 min. to tie one up. Then the guy at the shop wants to pay $1 for them, not likely!
Everyone knows I like to rehash old stories, so here`s one. One evening at Quonny, Cuz and I were comming out of the back pond and stopped to tailgate with a guy who had also just finished up. He moaned and groaned about the lack of fish, he only had 4 more days before he headed back to the heartland. Cuz and I had just had a banner evening, so he showed us what he was using. Does anyone remember the cards of flies, all bubble wrapped, for like $1.49 in the old days at the discount stores sporting goods dept.? Well they reminded me of them. So I produced a couple of flies that I knew would get him some fish. The longer we talked and told stories the more Cuz kept saying " You gotta try one of these". Long story short, he left with a box stuffed with Slinger originals, not bad for the bubble!
Any way, back to the question. I don`t give a rats ass about the labor market in Indonesia, or the people that buy that stuff. They get what they deserve. And a 10 hr job for a couple of bucks a day is better than picking thru garbage to eat!
Slinger

ashbourn
06-18-2005, 02:38 AM
Your agruement is valid but not all countries have the same conditions and when compaired to what other people in those countries make alot of fly tyers are doing well. I still feel that you should buy US flies. We also run the problem of finding american tyers. I work in a small fly shop in upstate New York and we sell all US flies and finding good tyers is a very hard thing.

striblue
06-18-2005, 02:32 PM
Here is a response I made to a reply on another board by a regular good guy I know though that Board.

Bob, Thanks for that comment. I can not pretend that I know all the facts here. The post was prompted, if you can beleive it, from a CNN report that 1 in 14 Americans are illegal aliens from Mexico (Who , BTW, insist on being called "unauthorized Migrants"). I don't know if this is accurate, but then I wanted simply to say that we should tie our own for the two reasons I stated.( Also, I know all about the history of Ellis Island and the "building of our country...but history does change .It is not the same time as it was in the late 1800's. We are in a Global economy and finally big execs are being found guilty on Securites fraud- so there is light at the end of the tunnel, and gete this, also stealing ) The Fly Shop owners are sucking wind because this stuff is on the US market and is cheaper to buy so it is quite understandable. But there are shops that tie ther own...like Harry Koons, who, everythime I go to visit him, he is sittng tiying his own flies to sell.... a small display case with HIS flies. Now I know that the other fly shop owners don't have that time and they have more business than Harry because of size.... etc. But if fly shop owners can get a bunch of tyers to tie some flies, put ther names over the display, say they are local flies, etc... etc. it might make an impact. At the same time the guys who tie can make the price reasonable and not have to kill themselves to produce any amount. Sure.. the shop owners can suppliment the inventory with the off shore flies...but it's a beginning... maybe this "pie in the sky".... If I owned a fly shop I think I would also have to sell art work from local artists, sell coffee, etc. to make ends meet and to compete with the big boys... but it is the local shops where we feel comfortable to hang out and soon will be a part of American History...so you can send off to Cabelers (SP), etc. What a difference it makes for the personal touch and all that stuff... I know it is "business as usual"...But when I stand at a big fly shop and can pull bucktail out of the tie down that is telling me something. Tying is an Art... sell it that way. This may be very difficult to acheive ..so I am the first to admit it... but I guess the question really is. Do we want to do, or help do, something about it... and can we really do that... and do we care. Just a point of view. that's all..... PS. Please Powers, go easy on me , you know how sensitive I am. This is a fishing board so I did focus on the tying

flytyer
06-18-2005, 05:44 PM
Ashbourn,

You and the shop you work in are to be commended for selling only US tied flies. However, it has been my experience that your shop is greatly in the minority.

I disagree with you about how difficult it is to find good US tyers. I have tied professionally for individuals and commercially for shops for more than 20 years and I have run into three main problems with shops: 1) they don't want to pay a reasonable price for flies; 2) they expect to be able to get 30-75 dozen flies in 2-3 days or a week at most and the majority of really good tyers have a job to pay the bills so they can't crank out that many in a short time; and 3) they flatly state up front they don't buy local flies because their customers won't pay more than $1.50 for a fly.

Regarding #2 in the above paragraph on what constitutes unreasonable price, I submit the following. It is not reasonable to expect to buy hair wing steelhead and salmon flies for $12.00/doz (with spey, dee, and G.P.s being only minimally higher). It takes an hour to tie a dozen of them properly and quality looped, up eye salmon irons run from $18.00-$35.00/100. This means that at $12.00/dozen the tyer has a minimum of $2.16 in hooks alone ($0.18x12=$2.16) to as much as $4.20 ($0.35x12=$4.20). Since this must be taken off the price/dozen, the tyer actually receives between $9.84 and $7.80 after just the hooks are paid for. After taking out the cost of the other materials used in these flies, the tyer actually is making between $7.40 and $9.40/dozen, which in reality is his hourly wage. Of course this assumes the tyer is buying hooks and materials in bulk quantifies at wholesale from a materials distributor. If he doesn't buy the materials and hooks wholesale, his wage goes down considerably. This is not a reasonable wage for a skilled job like fly tying.

This only gets worse with flies like spey, dee, Ally's Shimp, Irish Shrimp, and G.P.'s that take more time to tie. For instance, G.P.'s take around 12 minutes each for the best tyers. They use a lot of golden pheasant breast feathers on each fly (actually it takes 8 breast feathers for one-2 at the tail, 2 at the 1st body segment, 2 at the 2nd body segment, 2 at the last body segment) and 3 hackle feathers (1 on each body segment). And G.P.'s are almost always wanted on large sizes and hooks like the Alec Jackson Spey Hook (the more expensive hooks in other words). Let's see, this means the tyer gets to tie 5 of them in an hour, gets paid $16.00-$18.00/dozen from the shop for them. After subtracting the cost of hooks and materials, the tyer gets to pocket $10.00-$11.00/dozen. So he is working for $5.00/hour (notice this is less than minimum wage in every state) since it takes over 2 hours to tie a dozen of G.P.'s.

Local tyers also cannot afford to have many dozens of flies pre-tied waiting to be sold to a shop. This is due to fly fashions changing from one year to the next (based on what the latest whiz-bang fly is according to the fly magazines) or the shop owner deciding to no longer sell more expensive flies like spey flies, etc. Thus the tyer is stuck with a lot of flies the shops don't want this year, which he can either hang on to in the hope that next year he can sell them, or offer them at a huge discount just to get rid of them and get his material costs back, or he gives them away to folks he meets on the river just to get rid of them.

And a tyer is foolish if he sells his flies for $8.00-$9.00/dozen so the shop can sell them for $1.50 or less.

Add on to the cost of hooks and materials Dingel-Johnson federal excise tax of 10% (which all tackle makers, including fly tyers are to pay on the gross price), the required federal self-employment (actually Social Security) tax of 15% on the profits, any local or state taxes the tyer is subject too, and the cost of business or resale tax licenses and the $7.40-$9.40/dozen for hair wing salmon or steelhead flies becomes $5.55-$7.55/dozen to his pocket. In other words, at $12.00/dozen for flies that take an hour to tie a dozen, the tyer makes $5.55-$7.55/hour. This is not a reasonable wage for a job that requires a lot of skill that takes years to develop.

ashbourn
06-19-2005, 12:19 AM
It's not finding good tyers it is finding good tyers that are willing to tie over 100 dozen a year. We are lucky we can sell our flies for $2+ each and our patters do not change much. We even pay out tyers $14 a dozen or more, and on patterns that require hard to find material we will alot of times send them some. But even still it seems like we are losing more tyer then we are getting just because there are so many other ways to make more money. It is great for some extra money or to retire on but other wise it is a up hill battle.

There is only man I met his name is not coming to me that has made a very good living. He has a room with a bunch of tables and 6 or 7 vises and everynight him and his wife lay out the material he will need for the next day then ties the next more for about 8 hours. He even said alot of times when you that that much you thend to cut corners besause it is all about how fast you can tie.

flytyer
06-19-2005, 12:52 AM
Ashbourn,

100 dozen per year is not very much at all. When a friend of mine had a shop before he retired 5 years ago, he bought 850-900 dozen steelhead flies (more than 100 dozen of them were spey flies) from me each year.

The problems I have run into the last 5 years are either the shop isn't selling many flies because the guys who buy from the shop get their flies from one of the several outfits selling imported flies direct to the consumer at $1.00 or less per fly, they buy all their flies from Spirit River or Umpqua, or they don't want to pay enough to make it worth my time. I refuse to tie spey flies for less than $22.00/dozen wholesale because I tie them on AJ Spey Hooks and use blue-eared pheasant or Whiting Spey Hackle. Likewise, I refuse to sell G.P.'s for less than $26.00/dozen wholesale when it takes more than 2 hours to tie a dozen of them. At the same time, I will sell Bob Arnold's Spade steelhead fly for a lot less because I can tie more than a dozen of them in an hour.

As far a cutting corners, the best tyers don't do that and never will. Anyone who has bought flies of mine or who has been given flies by me knows I don't cut corners or use inferior materials. Likewise, the best tyers tie on Daiichi, Tiempco, or Targus hooks because of their superior quality. I use Daiichi exclusively because it has been proven they have the best points in the business and they hold up very well to underwater rocks.

ashbourn
06-19-2005, 05:24 PM
Back in the day we hard alot of tyers that would tie 750 + dozen a year but many have retired or found other ways to make more money. We only have one left who does over 1000 dozen. Many of the others are real talanted in one area or another, but because of other jobs that make many times more then what they could tying. Right now we have about a dozen people who tie a few flies. This is a great thing to fill up the cases with the hard to find flies or the current trends but alot of tyers seem to be moving away from the older pattern because of the over seas tyer have the market. Many get skilled with a few patterns so they can be tyed at very fast speeds when still being very well tyed. I just wish there were more people like you flytyer who with the best material when still tying in the numbers you do.

natrix
06-20-2005, 12:50 PM
I have been waiting for the right time to throw this out.

Tying Flys, A Fair Price, and Whatís Wrong With Flies That Arent Tied by Guys Like Me.

By Austin Legler

If the fly I tie falls apart oh well, I usually have another one just like it, and I have learned something in the process. Some times the ratty ones that have lost half of their materials are better at catching fish than the sleek newbieís. I cant quite re-produce that half chewed off look that a good fly acquires after a few fish have tried to kill it.

I regularly check the fly bins at the shops I frequent just to gather intel., on the latest new twist in materials or design. I see the price of small trout flies varies but mostly they are in the $1.00 to $1.50 U.S. retail. There are some flies I can tie several dozen in an hour, and at the going
(foreign fly) rate of $8 to $10 per dozen or so for custom trout flyís, im pretty sure I couldnít pay the bills if I tried to make a living at it.

I guess I can understand why the price of a trout fly is an issue with some flyfishers. I recently bought a new fly box. One of those new CF boxes with the micro slit inserts it has 20 rows of 24 slits per insert (for small trout flies) thatís 960 slits. Believe me I have every one filled with something. If I lost that box, and I had to replace it by buying flies it wouldnít be cheep. Pay the mortgage? buy new flys? mortgage? flys?, actually Id just start tying.

So I what Im saying is that if your going to pay me to tie your flies you have to make it worth my while and its not going to be cheep. However I can understand sticker shock and the reason people will settle for flyís tied in Srilanca or Korea, Mexico or any one of a dozen third world countries where poor starving peasants get paid nothing so some fat cat can make a 300% profit by selling them to American fly fishermen who donít have the where with all to tie there own flys or buy then from a guy like me.

I stopped counting years ago but I probably spend at least as much or more on materials as I would on flies so maybe cost really is not the issue.
I think if I did buy flies I would buy them from a local custom tier because to me there is more to it than just getting the best deal and shaving off a few cents per fly.
Perhaps if Im Joe American fly fisherman the issue is that I have wisely swindled my way into getting something for nothing or gotten a good deal or gotten my monies worth regardless of what it cost the rest of the world. I say its on the order of leaving all your garbage on the river bank next to a burning tire with a pile of dead suckers for the rest of us to enjoy.

I got ripped off in a fly swap a while back. A guy by the name of Mason Hunter in Canada took everybodyís flies and didnít send any back. Mason fishing with stolen gear is bad karma. You will I promise get strained through a snag one day, get run over by a boat or be eaten by a shark when you fall over board, or maybe my dog will bite you just cause you got bad vibes. Believe me he knows the good guys from the bad guys.

On a trip to a fishing lodge in Mexico several years ago I was asked If I would sell some flyís. $30 US/dozen was way too much for the high rollers, so I traded a couple of my deceivers for a Cuban cigar which Im pretty sure they paid at least $10 for. Go figure. It sure was a good cigar.

Everything is for sale these days. Apparently there are enough people out there who are willing to pay (but not to much) for the experience of fishing, and that has always seemed just a little to easy to me. There is something about having spent my youth fishing with crummy equipment, getting wet caus I didnít have waders and using flies tied from road kill that I think gives me the right pick on those of you who just walked out of he Orvis store and are on your way to the Madison R. to find your soul in some quasi religious moment you imagined your self in after seeing the movie. Buddy it aint there. Its in your heart, in the time spent on the rock pile, washed through the hole, swimming white water in your waders in the dark with your dog, blood and sweat and hardship, split shot in the back of the head, barbed wire cuts, and run ins with the odd angry bull, rattle snakes, nasty looks from the other half ,and the pitiful look from your dog freezing and wet in the back of the drift boat as you row in to the teeth of one more October blizzard.

Buy local, support your local trout bum most of them know what their doing. There is an old saying, buy the best quality you can afford. That goes for cars, lawnmowers, hand tools, and fishing equipment. To me there is something fundamentally wrong with a trout fly made in Srilanca by someone who dosnt flyfish. Cheep is just cheep and thatís about it.

striperstripper
06-20-2005, 06:30 PM
Being a frugal(cheap) crusty yankee to the marrow I refuse to pay for something I can do myself.I can't remember the last time I bought commercially tied flies,I know there are alot of talented tiers out there who deserve considerably more for their labors than shops are willing to pay, so please don't take this the wrong way but all it basicly takes is for someone to be shown fly tying fundamentels and they can be tying flies that will catch fish ,and once that happens as I think we all know it becomes an addiction.Before you know it the roll top desk is covered with hackles feathers,flash material,bucktail and well you know. (help) :Eyecrazy: :hihi:

striblue
06-20-2005, 08:37 PM
Amen... exactly my point!.... also ,In fact, take a look at guys like Joe W, in a wheel chair, and can not fish anymore, and yet keeps tying, or Dave Fix who can still fish but finds it hard to get out but teaches beginners at UFT, or Al Brewster, who at 80+, who can still fish , but ties flies for his friends and relatives. Why do they do it...Because it keeps them connected and they simply like it. So if you are able to fish... double your pleasure. Like Bob Pink was thinking when he showed me how to tie my first clouser.... stuff like that. The politics of this does have an impact, but I should have not used this as a political statement as stated in the heading. This post was my real point.... more local stuff will have an impact...but at the same time it provides FFmen with a more complete enjoyment.

tglynos
06-30-2005, 01:57 PM
How do I know where to buy local, hand tied flies, vs. the mass produced equivalents besides price difference. Looking at a fly, you can usually tell the difference, but sometimes you can't. I have not gotten into the fly tying addiction, but am gradually creeping closer and closer to it, but until then, what are my best bets? I live in New Jersey and fish mainly the salt. thanks,
triston

flytyer
06-30-2005, 02:13 PM
tglynos,

Start by asking those you know who tie flies if they know anyone who would be willing to tie and sell flies to you. Also, ask people in a local fly fishing club or trout unlimited chapter if they know anyone who would tie and sell to you. Follow-up any leads thus generated,talk to the tyer(s), and come to an agreement as to price, etc.

If these result in dead ends, send private messages or emails to folks you have seen post the flies (in your case I assume this means saltwater) for the type of fishing you do and see if any of them would sell you some.

polareyez
07-03-2005, 10:34 AM
The only thing more satisfying than landing a striper on the flats is knowing that one of MY flies fooled him. They're not works of art, they're not intricate,but if I catch fish with them and they don't fall apart, I'm satisfied. If more fisherman took the time to learn how to tie there wouldn't be the need for stores to order a "couple of hundred" flies by Wednesday. Granted, this will probably never happen because too many people these days would rather just walk into a store and buy their flies. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but how much more satified will you be, catching fish on something you tied.

Eddie
07-03-2005, 02:33 PM
How do I know where to buy local, hand tied flies, vs. the mass produced equivalents besides price difference. Looking at a fly, you can usually tell the difference, but sometimes you can't. I have not gotten into the fly tying addiction, but am gradually creeping closer and closer to it, but until then, what are my best bets? I live in New Jersey and fish mainly the salt. thanks,
triston

ask your local shop owner. He might tell you that they would be too expensive to carry, but if you and your friends tell him that you WILL buy them, he probably will stock them. Now, if you complain that they are too expensive, you might understand why your local shop doesn't sell them.
I am lucky n that my local shop has all kinds of locally tied flys.

DFix
07-07-2005, 09:00 AM
How do I know where to buy local, hand tied flies, vs. the mass produced equivalents besides price difference. Looking at a fly, you can usually tell the difference, but sometimes you can't. I have not gotten into the fly tying addiction, but am gradually creeping closer and closer to it, but until then, what are my best bets? I live in New Jersey and fish mainly the salt. thanks,
triston

If you're in Jersey you could do no better than to contact the Atlantic Saltwater Flyrodders;

http://www.ASWF.org

where you'll discover several notable names of members in the fly fishing game, including a fellow named Bob Popovics. I bet these guys could give you a hand. :cool:

juro
07-07-2005, 09:27 AM
Fishing is to me is observation, intuition and response rolled into one fun activity in the great outdoors. With the flicker of a minnow, a chasing movement of a gamefish in the shallows, or a burrowing crab I see things that I need to connect with what I do both on the water and at the bench to complete the picture.

Without tying, that part of my response that shapes the offering to the fish is missing, or it's someone else's response trying to fit my situation. Now in some cases, that might be a direct hit. But over time those patterns will not refine like my own will, in fact rapidly each season as the pattern evolves and becomes highly suited to it's task. The time-tested patterns that an angler ties into his golden years are flies worth their salt, and can't be found in a blister pack.

baldmountain
07-07-2005, 02:37 PM
Dood, you are way too wordy. Why not say it feels WAY better to catch something on a fly you tied rather than on one you bought. ;) :D

Fishing is to me is observation, intuition and response rolled into one fun activity in the great outdoors. With the flicker of a minnow, a chasing movement of a gamefish in the shallows, or a burrowing crab I see things that I need to connect with what I do both on the water and at the bench to complete the picture.

Without tying, that part of my response that shapes the offering to the fish is missing, or it's someone else's response trying to fit my situation. Now in some cases, that might be a direct hit. But over time those patterns will not refine like my own will, in fact rapidly each season as the pattern evolves and becomes highly suited to it's task. The time-tested patterns that an angler ties into his golden years are flies worth their salt, and can't be found in a blister pack.

I just wish I could write like that. :(