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Use of "The Real Thing" or "Subs"
#1
In my 'Silver Jock Scott' post of the other day...discussion came up about the of various materials used by us in our flies and that gave me pause for thought...so I decided to put some of my personal thinking on this out in the open for discussion.

I'll start with the new classic salmon tying group I've been part of for the last few months...The Valley Forge Classic Salmon Fly Guild. There are 16 names on the email list at this time...12 of whom are to be considered active members. Of those 12...4 are experienced tyers and the others are rookies with a strong desire to learn about tying these flies, elevating their tying skills and to be a part of this small niche of the fly tying world. Part of their learning experience is focused not just on techniques, but very much on the materials as well.

So what do you tell these beginners? I for one make it clear to them that there is no harm/no foul if subs are used for some of the exotic feathers. Obtaining the real thing can not only become all consuming, but will no doubt be expensive (!!!!) Should they choose to go the only the real deal route...that's fine. What I don't want to see happen is one guy sitting at the table who can and will go for it and the guy next to him who doesn't have the wherewithal to do the same step away from tying these flies because he feels he isn't doing things with the proper and traditional feathers...maybe even a little embarrassed because he cannot do what someone else is doing.

Therefore I suggest some possible approaches I am giving to these guys......

First - For the beginner...encourage the use of subs and make it clear there is nothing wrong with that. The idea is to keep the interest of the tyer in the flies we are working on, and the techniques required to tie them. Use of quality materials are a major factor, not their bird of origin.

Second - As the tyers progress, they can begin to search for and try to get the things they feel are most important or they need. Do so only through reputable purveyors like John McLain among others...but again use of subs is fine and some folks might consider doing that more ethical.

Finally - For me personally I'm happy to say I have an adequate supply of very fine materials and I probably should use them more often that I do. Good lord I'm going to be 71 in a few months...so why not eh? I have a hook in the vise right now and as I ponder what materials to use I should reread what I just typed Rolleyes  Like I tell those rookies however...no harm no foul using subs. We shall see.

Please feel free to speak your mind on this folks.....
Petri Heil,
George
The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits - Albert Einstein
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#2
George: Whether you learn at home in a class size of one or in in a larger group of aspiring tiers, the playing field should be equal in order to assess progress and talents. I learned and believe in this as a result of teaching culinary arts @ college level for many years. No student was allowed to bring in a truffle to replace a common white mushroom and foie gras would never be allowed to stand in a chicken liver's place. Only then could a student know that the ingredients were not responsible for their outcomes. It all comes down to learning the foundations !!!! At our school. once a student had demonstrated his/her abilities, advanced students got to work with the more pricey stuff and most did a good job of it. I'm happy that most use of " The real thing" materials in fly tying is responsible, respectful, and showcases their value. Great thread George, I expect to chime in again

dave
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#3
I personally have a desire to throw most of the flies that I tie in the water; therefore I don't have a real issue with using subs for the majority of what I am tying; although occasionally I endeavour to try to do showpiece and look for the real deal if possible.
Since I have gathered more fly fishing gear than my wife likes the show pieces are few these days.
Cheers,
Mark
He who shall not be able to make a trout fly, after studying these diagrams and directions, must be deficient either in brains or in manual dexterity. : Edward Fitzgibbon 1853
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#4
I personally do not have an issue with tying with substitutes versus the real deal. Once in a while I will use a few rare, or hard to obtain, feathers but only if I am trying to tie a mounter. There are a lot of great substitutes out there and I feel that a beginner should stick to those until techniques are learned.

Would I prefer tying with the real deals? Darn straight I would, but the funds are not always available.

Regards,

Marty
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#5
Ok, here's a fly I tied earlier this week. Call it "Two Many Cooks" after the song. Mostly cheap materials including plain ol Ringneck wing. It's an ok fly. New tyers need or should be encouraged to use what they have before spending lots of many expensive materials they may never use. Many of them won't even continue tying these flies.


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Ronn Lucas, Sr.
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#6
I've yet to tie a gutted salmon fly for fishing so everything I've tied is for show. some for the horror show, true.
though I don't have an issue with others tying with subs, I'd rather not. I try to tie the flies as they were intended.

I suppose it's akin to recreating the mona lisa with pencil crayons. it can be done and done well but it's still drawn.

and I don't teach anyone anything tying-wise but I'm tying a js with rampant (when he's not gallivanting) and I suppose, as an example of what I'm stating, have given him all the proper ingredients.
I wouldn't feel right tying with real and giving him subs... that's just pompous. 

when I dream of fishing salmon flies I picture myself throwing rangers, general pracs and the like.
if I tied and threw a genuine jock scott it would be for a momentous event, perhaps in the spey itself.

I shan't be chucking any chatterers or black arguses, that's for sure.

cheers,
shawn
the difference between art and a hobby is you can plagiarise for a hobby.


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#7
(07-13-2019, 02:31 PM)dave gotzmer Wrote: George:  Whether you learn at home in a class size of one or in in a larger group of aspiring tiers, the playing field should be equal in order to assess progress and talents.  I learned and believe in this as a result of teaching culinary arts @ college level for many years.  No student was allowed to bring in a truffle to replace a common white mushroom and foie gras would never be allowed to stand in a chicken liver's place.  Only then could a student know that the ingredients were not responsible for their outcomes.  It all comes down to learning the foundations !!!!  At our school. once a student had demonstrated his/her abilities, advanced students got to work with the more pricey stuff and most did a good job of it.  I'm happy that  most use of " The real thing" materials in fly tying is responsible, respectful, and showcases their value.  Great thread George, I expect to chime in again

dave

I love your analogy Dave...especially as someone who considers himself a good cook Cool
There is a time and place for the truffles and foie gras to be used...but that solid foundation you mention is paramount. When I spend time with these rookies I hand out subs and use them myself as a matter of courtesy. But for comparative purposes I also have shown them the real thing next to the copy. At least that gives them a idea of what we are trying to imitate. Learn the right way to tie the flies...then splurge on the goodies if so desired.

(07-13-2019, 06:05 PM)Rampant Wrote: I personally have a desire to throw most of the flies that I tie in the water; therefore I don't have a real issue with using subs for the majority of what I am tying; although occasionally I endeavour to try to do showpiece and look for the real deal if possible.
Since I have gathered more fly fishing gear than my wife likes the show pieces are few these days.
Cheers,
Mark

This is something I've mentioned to my rookie friends...are you tying for show and mounting, or fishing? Let that determine what you feel you need to do to accomplish the desired end with their flies.

(07-13-2019, 06:48 PM)2ndmillion Wrote: I personally do not have an issue with tying with substitutes versus the real deal. Once in a while I will use a few rare, or hard to obtain, feathers but only if I am trying to tie a mounter. There are a lot of great substitutes out there and I feel that a beginner should stick to those until techniques are learned.

Would I prefer tying with the real deals? Darn straight I would, but the funds are not always available.

Regards,

Marty

Like you Marty I personally have no issue with using subs. For the most part they are really quite good. But...as good as they can be, there is a certain difference in texture, a lack of subtlety in color[s]...perhaps best described as a finesse that only mother nature can deliver.

(07-13-2019, 07:26 PM)Ronn Lucas Sr. Wrote: Ok, here's a fly I tied earlier this week. Call it "Two Many Cooks" after the song. Mostly cheap materials including plain ol Ringneck wing. It's an ok fly. New tyers need or should be encouraged to use what they have before spending lots of many expensive materials they may never use. Many of them won't even continue tying these flies.

Well said Ronn. I agree with encouraging new tyers to use materials on hand before taking the plunge for the expensive stuff they may never use. I believe most if not all tyers...especially classic salmon fly tyers...are what I call material junkies. That desire for certain things can all too easily lead someone to spend money that perhaps they shouldn't. Easy trap to fall into. I've always purchased what the budget allows and carefully monitor what I have and what I truly need.

(07-13-2019, 09:09 PM)mitch aka 2 fish Wrote: I've yet to tie a gutted salmon fly for fishing so everything I've tied is for show. some for the horror show, true.
though I don't have an issue with others tying with subs, I'd rather not. I try to tie the flies as they were intended.

I suppose it's akin to recreating the mona lisa with pencil crayons. it can be done and done well but it's still drawn.

and I don't teach anyone anything tying-wise but I'm tying a js with rampant (when he's not gallivanting) and I suppose, as an example of what I'm stating, have given him all the proper ingredients.
I wouldn't feel right tying with real and giving him subs... that's just pompous. 

when I dream of fishing salmon flies I picture myself throwing rangers, general pracs and the like.
if I tied and threw a genuine jock scott it would be for a momentous event, perhaps in the spey itself.

I shan't be chucking any chatterers or black arguses, that's for sure.

cheers,
shawn

As always you can demonstrate great common sense with regards to certain aspects of tying. Like you I'd rather tie all my flies with the original materials rather than copies. I guess my using the Veevus thread is out too Big Grin 

I'm not sure pompous is the right word, but if you are teaching or mentoring Rampant than subs should be okay for him to start. As I said earlier...technique first...the rest will follow.

One thought on a particular sub I just put into a fly. I started the next fly in the JS series...specifically the Blue JS. The tail is made up of topping, scarlet ibis and chatterer. I subbed fairy blue bird for the chatterer because that particular bird's feather color more closely matched the blue of the floss I will use for the forward half of the body. Not what the actual pattern calls for, but it suits my eye better. Texture is a little different, but to me, a small trade-off.

As friends of mine downtown say...ya gotta do whacha gotta do Cool
Petri Heil,
George
The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits - Albert Einstein
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#8
(07-13-2019, 06:48 PM)2ndmillion Wrote: I personally do not have an issue with tying with substitutes versus the real deal. Once in a while I will use a few rare, or hard to obtain, feathers but only if I am trying to tie a mounter. There are a lot of great substitutes out there and I feel that a beginner should stick to those until techniques are learned.

Would I prefer tying with the real deals? Darn straight I would, but the funds are not always available.

Regards,

Marty

Thx for the comments, I think that is very interesting this forum
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