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#41 trouthunter


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Posted 15 December 2008 - 08:49 AM

What a lovely topic, not easy for me to read and get all the points in English, but really worth the effort of understading.

Not easy also to add some more thoughts here. More or less everything has been said on the subject and all the points have their value.

My personal opinion is that I hope we could keep moving on the forum giving and receiving critics. I am asking my self why we frequent the forum and what we search here. Why we post flies ? Not only to polish our ego (which is more or less normal as we are human being) or just to have appreciation for our efforts. I think it is more for sharing our emotions, our happiness and sadness. To share our works searching for comments and possibly for critics, which can help us to grow. Critics are necessary, they are the spice that gives flavor to this site, a part of course the friendly atmosphere that is impregnating the forum pages.
Then, again, it is not easy to manage emotions and reactions. We are all human being, we react in different ways to certain critics. But I am quite sure that the time we decide to participate to a forum automatically we accept to enter a comunity of people and if we decide to post our flies then we accept that those flies are exposed to the public opinion. So, I mean, we should be prepared to critics.
No one of us has born with a bobbin in his hand (except Bud maybe...) so we should be the first to make self critics to our own flies from the beginning. We have to be honest, our first flies are always a disaster, it is the due we have to pay. If we are not prepared to receive critics when we post an ugly fly then probably we are not prepared to be part of a comunity like this.
I still recall when I was tying my first salmon flies one of my best friend and mentor always used to call them with the name they deserved: shits. The awareness of my faults was the fuel that made my growth and perseverance possible.

Creating a dedicated critique corner could be a good idea but I feel that at the end it will drive on it the main attention and it may be confusing. When we have to decide to post a fly , which forum we are going to use ? The main one or the Critique corner. Do I decide to just show my flies or do I decide to expose them to critics. The second option fits better with my way of thinking the forum.

Wow, so difficult to express in a differetn language our thoughts. I hope anyway you can get the point



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#42 TKontio


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Posted 15 December 2008 - 10:55 AM

Great to hear that so many of you are up for constructive criticism. I'm all for it and if I hadn't get that kind of critique from better tyers I wouldn't be where I am today.

I don't get much from those "Great fly !!" comments. Of course it's nice to see that someone thinks you have tied a beautiful fly but since before posting I have probably teared my fly apart hundreds of times in my head and found almost every little detail that has gone wrong it isn't what I'm looking for. I'm very fortunate with having a chance to show my flies to couple of really great tyers and get honest critique on them here in Finland. I have learned so much from the sometimes blunt comments on my flies.

I have received some great tips here as well and am forever grateful to those who have guided me. I have also learned from looking and studying other peoples flies. When you see something you like (or don't like) go in to great details to find out why and use it in your own tying.

And as said there are no short cuts in this craft but you can avoid a lot of trial and error by listening and thinking what other people have said and done. I have noticed that my tying has taken the biggest leaps in getting better when I haven't got time to tie at all. That's when I have really put my thought in to what I'm doing.

At the forum in Finland we have a guideline that you shouldn't just pick up faults in other peoples flies. You can of course give advice on how to correct them. And the most important thing is that the best way to show what should be done different is to tie that same fly yourself. I think that really helps beginning tyers to see how the fly could be tied.

Best regards,


#43 ted patlen

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 03:06 PM

i know that this thread was all about critiquing flies and comments , etc,

but i gotta add that without this forum, i would never have met so many people from all over the world. the word is WORLD. not just regional friends, or from the same country...the world!

this board is somewhat magical in that i can sit hear in north jersey (not joisey) and converse with others with the same madness in scandinavia, the british isles, italy, south america, and australia which is the other side of the globe for me. before this, if some of you remember we used something called "mail" which took forever to get a response.

there are some negatives about this forum but we're talking about the WORLD.

i could wax poetic for a while but that would border tediousness...i think...no, i know you all get my point

happy holidays


#44 WaterWolf


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Posted 15 December 2008 - 04:28 PM

After some thought and without making this a catharsis on my feelings about the forum it does come down to a few points for me… some of which have been mentioned during this thread. To me this forum (and the classic streamer and wet fly forum for those who do visit it on occasion) is a place of many different things but the common thread is the passion (or obsession biggrin.gif ) to tie flies: to share your work, interesting techniques, historical facts, get help, ask questions, etc. No doubt there is a foundation of skills or technique that is needed to do this and many have probably learned much here – critique or in a much better sense “constructive criticism” is appropriate for those who want it - note the want part which is entirely up to those who post (the question to me has it been from the right people in some cases??)… I am not comfortable “nit-picking” on certain aspects of a fly in terms of technique… “ribs” always comes to mind for me, length of throat hackle which can be a personal choice too. I am more than happy to help people when asked and I feel I have something to offer but I am not comfortable throwing out critiques if not asked specifically of me.... On the other hand I am not offended by critiques or comments on my flies.. if I feel they are helpful I will give it thought in future ties… sometimes it becomes opinion which is a fine line to walk… opinion or critique are not the same or are they?

Style to me is not something to critique… style is an individual thing with no right or wrong… I can appreciate many styles and many of us have developed our own styles… for those who post here I can probably pick out who tied it just from looking at the fly. To critique one’s style is not warranted – we see things in different ways and we all have opinions on what we like or don’t like when it comes to styles of flies, music, art or whatever… You can try and be a perfectionist BUT nobody is perfect and in particular I have never tied a perfect fly nor have I seen one from anybody else. Fly tying is a constant learning process… I think even for the best of tyers this is true and no matter how many years you have done it there is always something to be gained as you continue tying!! I am more of a visual learner… reading helps but I like observing… Just my 2 cents.. actually less based on the market depreciation..

All comes back to the fact that this is all for fun, yes fun… to focus and tie in a serious manner is one thing but don’t take it too far (personally I don't like at all the term celebrity when it comes to anything but especially fly tying)… an escape and pleasurable pursuit (nahhh.. obsession biggrin.gif ) and a chance to meet and make friends from all over the world (as Ted just alluded to... )

I for one think this should stay as one forum as it has been… to each their own.


#45 joelst


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Posted 16 December 2008 - 09:20 PM

smile.gif Bud, Great thread! I haven't tied a salmon fly, dee fly, or spey fly in years. They used to be my passion.I tied a spey fly today because I needed a break from streamers. Wnet to post it on this site, and saw your thread. PLEASE, post this on the Streamer & Wet Fly site also. I think this is one of the best of the many threads I have seen posted anywhere. I love critiques!How else do I know what I did wrong. If somebody hadn't kindly pointed out that Cheek was a bit square on one of my streamers, I never would have noticed. A lot of us are older than dirt, and we need all the help we can get.We don't notice things like we did when we were younger. At least, that's my excuse. When someone gets way out of line(there is one or two), the moderators should jump in and let them know. I have never been offended by anybody on this forum. It is a great bunch of guys. I really don't think we need a separate Critique forum.
Just an old ,am's 2 cents worth.
By the way, how's the snow? Did you really buy a snow blower? And thanks for sending the snow back up this way!!Not!!
Joelst cool.gif
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#46 Bud Guidry

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Posted 17 December 2008 - 11:55 PM

i want to thank all of you for replying to this thread and more importantly for giving us a little more insite to who we all are and how we feel about this subject. as most of you may know i was hit by a virus. all three of my computers were linked together so it got all three, i've been offline for a few days and am only reading these replies now and i have to say i'm touched by all this, i can only speak for myself but i now have a greater respect and understanding of you all and my goal was achieved with this post. i wanted to bring our members closer together and was praying we'd all walk away with a better understanding of other members. it worked and you are all deserving of an applause

this post has only made us stronger as a group and i feel the results and rewards will be noticed in the near future. you all came thru for me and i thank you all, the beginners for posting their thoughts and also the masters for addressing the issue. we can now move on with friendships, teaching and learning at a higher level . a better understanding how things work here. your all a great bunch of people representing all corners of the world drawn together by a common interest and you all should be proud of yourselves

cheers to all of you

man it's good to be back






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#47 Shawn Davis

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Posted 20 December 2008 - 03:16 PM

Very nice thread - finally had time to read the whole thing. Just the fact that a discussion of this sort has taken place on the forum with such levelheadedness and thoughtfulness says a lot about the community of people here. Outstanding.

I agree with much of what has been said, and it has been said very well, even by those for whom English is a second language.

I'll only try to sum up one thing I thing that pervades many of the posts here - being kind in critiques is important, but being thoughtful is equally or even more important. Many have lamented the shallow "Nice fly" comments that saturate many of the threads, and we certainly wouldn't want the forum to devolve into more of that. I would follow that up, then, with a challenge to those posting the "Nice fly" comments - why is the fly nice? In other words, be thoughtful. While we're on egos, it's another form of ego-polishing to believe that just your crowning a fly "nice" is contribution enough to the discussion. Just saying a fly is "nice" is about as productive as saying it "sucks" - both types of posts are dismissive and inconsiderate of the work and thought that went into the fly. So if you like something, be just as careful about putting into words what you like as you would be when you critique something.

If someone posts a fly and 90% of the comments are "Nice fly," and then Dave Carne pipes up and says, "Nice fly overall, but the wing's a little long," he looks like a jerk and the tier has exactly one productive comment to go on - Dave's. If those other nine posters had been more specific about what they liked about the fly, then the tier has 10 comments to go on - nine about things they did well and one with something they ought to consider doing differently the next time. (And that's not to say that Dave doesn't ever say positive things about flies - I was just pretty sure I wouldn't offend him by using him as an example...)

Then there are tiers on here whose flies you'd have a hard time finding anything wrong with from a technical standpoint (or whose famous name makes their flies intimidating to critique), but if all those members get when they post something is a litany of "Nice fly" comments, then how are they to know why people like what they're doing? And how can any further discussion be held on this or that aspect of the fly? Even something as simple as, "I love this feature - how do you do that?" serves to further the discussion.

So my challenge would simply be: Be thoughtful or don't bother posting. That's the best way to both maintain an overall positive tone AND have productive discussion. As someone who doesn't have time to read everything posted, I'd personally love it if each thread had 5 thoughtful comments and no others rather than 2 thoughtful comments and 28 of the "Nice fly" variety.

Shawn Davis

Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies


#48 hoddi


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Posted 24 December 2008 - 10:59 AM

QUOTE (Ronn Lucas @ Dec 14 2008, 09:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
"....Each member has their own style. Maybe choose the one who's flies and style of tying appeal most to you. ....To post a fly however, seeking input may not be the most effective approach....Imagine going to a tying class with you as the only student with 20 tyers trying to teach you how to do things. With all 20 tyers having their own opinion about how things should be done. At the end of the day it's probably not the most effective approach. Using "private message" comes the closest to approximating a private lesson in person....."

I would take a different view of this. There are two distinctly different issues here. What is wrong and how to correct or prevent it. There is only one position, ribs are uneven/start or end at the wrong position/etc. There are several ways to correct or prevent this. The floss is lumpy/dull/badly tapered/etc. There are several ways to correct or prevent this. The proportions are wrong/wings too high/low/big/etc. There are various ways to correct or prevent this.

I maintain that one should learn the very basics from one or maybe two sources so not to confuse the tyer. This will shorten the learning curve. What needs to be done BEFORE trying to tie fully dressed flies is every tyer must be able to do floss glass smooth over an untapered body/tag. Leave tapering till later. To minimize bulk, make feathers do what is against their structure in many cases, get proportions right, do multi layer wings, long and short bodies with floss, get the head right and so on. After the basics are maybe not mastered but close, the tyer will be able to tackle fully dressed flies and get reasonably good ones in short order. Itís all about time. How much the tyer is willing to waste is the issue. I wasted several years back in the day. You canít go back and redo lost time.

Iíve had the conversation with other tyers about are we doing new tyers a favor by helping them avoid the mistakes or would it be better if they were forced to find solutions to problems themselves. I believe that solving problems makes us better tyers in the long run but it does consume time. On balance, I believe helping is the best route. When I am mentoring someone, there comes a time when I push them out of the nest so they will find their own style and methods. I am not doing it to be mean but when I see that they have pretty good foundations, that is the point I step back. I will always be there to help after that too but the relationship will be different in that they will build the house (tie the fly) with the tools I have given them. Maybe one or two of them could step in here and give their view on this. I should insert here that just as a carpenter or mechanic, they can do the job with the basic tools but they will continue to add more tools over time to better do certain aspects of the job at hand.

Hello Ronn
I am a no vice tier when it comes to a Classics flies an discovered the forum about one month ago. I had tied Classics for about one year and never had any advice until I came here. Well I pretty much did everything that was possible the WRONG way. I got some critics and It did not only help a lot it also did make my tying easier and more fun. I was so lucky that one of the experts took me for a privet lessons that is I post a pictures of the fly while I was tying it and he post comments back to me.
This really helped me a lot so in the end I tied one with out help that was much better than anything that I could have done before joing the forum. Yes critics can hit you hard but it really is a fast track for learning.
Bud I take my hat off for you asking those questions it really showes how nice people you all are. About the style issue well I just go to some book or internet page find a nice looking fly I try to tie it. The way people tie their flies differ a lot and for a new beginner like me it looks like there are no rules, but then the forum helps get things the right way.


#49 lukas


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Posted 18 December 2011 - 10:44 AM

I just noticed this
As being new to this i love the invaluable help and critique from who ever cares to give. I will strive to put the solutions in that have been offered sometimes i have misunderstood, sometimes i forget,sometimes they dont work
I like when DC critiques and a good few others as i know i am in capable hands then,doing something right or wrong,That kinda way in my work environment we get client managers who critique our work,but me at one time being on the client side know 90% of them couldnt do it or havn't done it
All i mean is critique from someone who has done and can do and understands is invaluable
Its nice getting lovely fly i like that etc wont learn much, i use this a lot as i like what i see and as yet do not have the skills or experience to give what i term valuable critique
I am thick skinned and takes a lot to knock me pick self up off the floor dust down right who;s next
I tie alone get wee bits of e mail help so only books and internet for reference dont like asking people feel i need to find out and figure out

Iam also the worlds worst at saying something in good intent with no malice and getting it wrong ie words come out wrong or in wrong tone and upsetting people
Lets fish the Clyde

#50 old fart

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 04:01 PM

What I would suggest is that any flydressers out there want opinions or comments they simply ask for c+c please as the posters on the Canon forums on POTN.
I'm very reluctant to critique now because I've retired from the classics,I cannot even remember the last fly I dressed it's been so long.
The progress made since I gave up is nothing short of phenomenal,the application of materials to the hook is superb style and colour scheme is a very subjective and personal matter.
More power to your elbows!!!!!!!

#51 RustyR



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Posted 11 July 2012 - 03:05 AM

Hey folks, Tough topic as most have conveyed. As a Newbie to the forum, I was over the moon to find this forum. This is an art form that could some day be only "show us the Vintage fly pics you have on the iphone app". It is sooo important to have the courage to post your creation. As many have stated, constructive criticism is how the art lives on and the guidance of the professionals on this forum should be appreciated in ANY response!!! I mean for these folks to take the time for pointers, coaxing to keep going is priceless! I would beam ear to ear that the members took their time to explain that the raving beauty I held up for Neptune to see, brought it down a few notches. Uhmm..just needs a "little Wilkinson touch up trim down to the entire bare hook...thank goodness its a blind hook Tinman or else the japanese finish would turn red if it knew" and heres what a tag should try to be.. etc. I agree about harsh words with no meaning but I havent seen it anywhere on this forum...other forums yes. My response to those types of comments by individuals of that calibre would be " when you get to the end of the Yellow Brick Road...ask for a brain"

Seriously, I REALLY hope that the honest criticism continues with the helpful hints that pop up by the members to help the Newbs have an answer to the struggle they are having. Because of the invested time, sanity drain of marrying wings that end up in divorces, big head little head, lop-sided head, nice tag, gut eye loop that could go over a dock bollard, etc. we all have thought at one time our special Einstein flychild is beautiful....well, when I was young, my parents sent me out for milk and then moved. So PLEASE let it be known to all that if you tell me "it's lipstick on a pig" by all means do it for the Tinman!

The dedication to helping people can be seen in the archives(Learn from History is so important) and throughout the posts above me. I commend all of you for this and it is sincerely a privilege to be on here as a member. Thanks!

Rusty Rustenburg aka The Tinman

It's ONLY ankle deep...if you go HEADFIRST! ( new book TBR)


#52 JPS


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Posted 26 October 2012 - 01:06 AM

As a dresser of classic salmon flies I expect perfection in every fly I tie and in every flie I see, why else would we tie these things. ( not to fish with ) Therefore I can say, my standards are very high. Having said all that I have yet to tie or see the perfect fly .

This does not mean that I look for faults when critiquing others, but will tell it how it is.

I see so many new and seasoned dressers make basic errors ,and rush to finish a fly. While its nice to put your latest creation on a forum for all to see one needs to master the basic steps one at a time first. It was three years before I first attempted to mount a set of wings on a classic salmon fly, not because I didnt want to , but because i had not mastered all the other techniques leading up to that procedure. The hardest thing in the world to do is stop and go back and start a procedure again.

If I am asked to critique a fly I will firstly ask two very importent questions,
How long has the person be tying the type of fly being critiqued and secondly how long did they take to construct the fly.
This then gives me a clear indication as to the tyers ability and the time I consider realistic to tie a good example of such a fly.

If I have to be tough on a critique I will always explain why I have said such a thing and advice as to how to improve such an error. I would hope that the dresser I am critiquing would come away knowing although sometimes harsh, following the advice will make them a better fly dresser, after all thats what we should be striving for.

As a finishing note , there is no fly dresser alive or otherwise who would critique one of my flies more stronger than myself
The major problem with critiques is that there is no set standard to which we can go off. Critiques can, and often do differ greatly person to person.

My final note is that there is only one way I know to become a better fly dresser and that is practice , practice, practice. regard John

#53 Djordan


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Posted 02 October 2013 - 09:37 PM

    I agree with so many of these comments, I welcome any critique of my work as I have a strong desire to always improve my tying. I have tried to give a fair number of begining tiers advice and critique their work only to help them advance quicker. At the same time I like to find something positive to say as well to give them encouragement. If someone is so sensitive they feel bad about an honest comment that was intended to help them progress maybe they shouldn't post it to begin with. After finding this forum and seeing the questions and comments only makes me wish I could have been here years ago...I wonder where I would be today had I had so many willing to share thier experience and expertise.



#54 pauliedog



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Posted 05 July 2014 - 11:42 PM

i am very new to this forum. that being said, i have been tying so called classics for around 3 years. i post the good the bad and the ugly from my vice to get some constructive critique. the reason for this is simple, if i only post the flies that turn out i don't learn as much. when i first started posting my flies on public forums i have to admit i got my feelings hurt fairly often, after all we all put a lot of time and money into our craft. in time i realizied that it was the "bad " comments that were making my tying better not the hollow praise.

  thanks for starting this thread. if nothing else it can give us all a little better understanding of where each individual is comming from. some fellas really want to help, some want to make themselfs feel important. we all have different personalities, it's a good thing . the world would be pretty boring if we were all the same. you can be the best tyer on the planet but mabe your people/teaching skills are lacking, mabe it's the other way around.i find 99% of the fellas on here have good intensions, and we all love tying. the important thing is we don't lose the enjoyment.


                                                                                                                                                          tight lines. paulie

#55 Ian Barrett

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 12:15 PM

I live in a mecca of Salmon fishing and indeed find myself surrounded by a multitude of fantastic, world class tyers of hairwing fishing flies.  Unfortunately, "Classic" featherwing tying in these parts is a very rare thing.  I only know of a couple of tyers besides myself that dabble in this art locally.  For learning, nothing beats being able to watch/speak with/discuss tying in person with an accomplished tyer.  Due to my location (an island in the North Atlantic), I ended up being self taught and now since deciding to enter into the virtual social network sphere I realize I have access to some of the world's best and I relish the opportunity to take advantage of that to improve my tying.  Perhaps I'm odd but I welcome critique of any of my flies and don't need or want any false pats on the back.  Sometimes I tie crappy flies, sometimes I tie good flies......that's the just the way it goes.

#56 Marc LeBlanc

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 01:42 PM

Do you ever travel to the mainland Ian? We have an annual gathering of the local classic salmon fly tiers in the Moncton area. We can always coordinate the gathering to coincide with a trip if you are in the area for work or personal reasons. There's a dozen or so active tiers in the Maritimes and, as you explain, a few on The Rock. We have a great day tying with experienced tiers and newbies.



#57 the_fish_and_the_fly


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Posted 26 August 2016 - 11:21 AM

I've had nothing but kind words and helpful and constructive criticism when I have posted my flies with their wings which are more suited to dry flies, and my Spey length hackles. Already beginning to improve!

#58 the_fish_and_the_fly


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Posted 26 August 2016 - 11:16 PM

I've had nothing but kind words and helpful and constructive criticism when I have posted my flies with their wings which are more suited to dry flies, and my Spey length hackles. Already beginning to improve!

#59 Zaic Freeman

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 08:53 PM

A critique about art. People have been murdered in the paintings world over that. Interpretation of what you see is subjective. You see a green car where I see a blue car. We are both right. From a fishing fly how can one man say there is something wrong with another mans fly. Only the man who fishes it can whittle out the flaws.
I have caught fish where the gptippet underwing is far beyond the hook bend with the rest of the wing the standard length. It is an ugly thing in the eye of art.
There is no doubt that an evolution in your proportion vision happens. I think there in lies the flaw. A new tyer is pleased and even proud of his first post. Hearing all the flaws that a 20 year tyer could point out may make a man burn his materials and take up crotcheting.
So my comments on a mans fly will always be what I like about a classic salmon fly not what he is missing. As in I like a tag a little shorter than what your displaying. Interpreted it means your tag is way too long. He can not be offended by what I said and maybe it helps his proportion vision to evolve.