Mentorship

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by Big E, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. Big E Moderator

    Posts: 1,431
    Coon Bay
    Ratings: +364 / 0
    I'm going to throw an idea out here and I'm looking for input on how to refine it and turn it into something useful here on WFF...

    Prior to the advent of the internet, the craft of applying feathers and fur to hooks to fool fish were passed down from those with experience to those without. I call it a craft because I believe that flytying does take some skill and there are plenty of documented techniques that can be used. Today, a lot of these techniques are demonstrated in videos, step-by-steps, and how-to articles that proliferate the internet.

    In my profession, I deal a lot with quality of production and in all situations there is a feedback loop that reduces the chance of failures by improving processes, designs, workmanship, etc. In graduate school, we sometimes have advisors to guide us through the thesis or dissertation process. In many professions, there are apprenticeships where the skills necessary to become successful are learned.

    While you may be able to mimic a fly by "monkey-see, monkey-do", the reasons why things are done or small nuances are sometimes lost. There have been times where I have watched a video of a famous tier several times before I have noticed a small detail or technique that they never commented on. I think that this is where having someone there to guide you, provide constructive criticism, and most of all communicate the craft, really shines.

    I propose that we should try to implement some type of mentorship program. The basic requirements would be that mentors communicate with their mentees, be it in person, email, VTC, or PM, those flytying skills that the mentee is lacking but seeking to improve.

    If it is determined that there is significant interest in having some type of mentorship program, I'll throw my hat into the ring and put forth some effort to support the program.

    Thoughts?
    Bob Triggs, jimmydub, Irafly and 2 others like this.
  2. Nick Clayton Active Member

    Posts: 2,842
    Ratings: +1,116 / 4
    I like it . And since you live just down the road for me, and tie about the finest flies I've ever seen, I'll go ahead and volunteer to get this ball rolling by allowing you to be my first mentor :D
    Mikey_Mac and Bob Triggs like this.
  3. Steve Saville Active Member

    Posts: 2,482
    Tacoma, WA
    Ratings: +312 / 1
    Damn! You beat me to it. I was going to tell him I'd volunteer to be his mentee so he could do a BETA test.:)
    Bob Triggs likes this.
  4. S Fontinalis Active Member

    Posts: 463
    Ratings: +180 / 0
    Its a great idea. I've seen it done on other forums. While initial interest was good, it seems (to me at least) to have fizzled out there.
    A lot of factors come into play.
    1 - willingness to learn
    2 - implementation of techniques taught
    3 - PRACTICE
    4 - Time
    5 - Patience.
    6 - Drive to want to improve

    Folks often become frustrated because the second time they do something new it doenst work.

    Take it from me. You have to be willing to fail to get better, and i'm a prime example.
    it took me a year to tie the salmon flies i tie of the standard i tie them. Not a day, not two weeks, 1 YEAR of constant work.

    While not everyone will want to learn salmon flies, you have to accept that its not gonna happen over night...

    Just my 2cents...i'll help any way i can.
    Beachmen likes this.
  5. Richard Olmstead BigDog

    Posts: 2,483
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +786 / 0
    I think this is a good idea, but I think there are a few things that should be implemented to make sure it doesn't fizzle.

    I belong to a national mentoring program for students and early career scientists. There are a few things that they do, and expectations that they hold for participants.

    1) Mentor relationships have a predetermined, finite length (in their case, 8 months). Use it while you've got it. If it doesn't work out well, you're free after that time and can enter into another arrangement. If it does work out, you are welcome to keep your relationship going outside of the formal organization as long as you want. I'm still in touch with my first mentee from years ago.

    2) All participants get an email prompt once a month on some subject and all are expected to communicate with each other on the subject of the email. I think this could easily be set up using the group function on this website, with a coordinator sending out the prompts, perhaps on the basis of suggestions from participants.

    3) A few basic questions are asked of the prospective mentors and mentees and matches are assigned on the basis of common interests (matching someone who fishes dry flies exclusively to trout in moving water wouldn't be a good match for someone who wants to tie steelhead flies only).

    Dick
  6. Roper Idiot Savant

    Posts: 4,284
    Glenraven Ranch
    Ratings: +770 / 1
    I'm blown away that anyone thinks like you do these days and is willing to act on those thoughts. I thought this way of sharing ideas was lost...

    At Boeing all they do is talk about good ideas, never any follow through. They get half way through implementing a new process, hit a bump and revert instantly to the old dysfunctional processes.

    I'm a hack at tying so I'm not sure I could be of any help, but we might consider mentoring in all aspects of fly fishing, tying, rod building, etc.
    bigdood and Bob Triggs like this.
  7. Big E Moderator

    Posts: 1,431
    Coon Bay
    Ratings: +364 / 0
    Hmmmprf....I thought that I'd have much more participation than this. I'm kinda disappointed especially since there are a good number of experienced tiers here.

    I'm not talking about a great deal of time investment, just someone you can turn to and recieve unbiased, constructive communication without ridicule. For instance, I had a guy approach me one time on another forum and asked me if I could teach how to tie a particular fly that used weaving. I showed him step-by-step how to do the fly and he went and tried to tie it. He then came back, showed me pictures and I commented on where improvements could be done. The fly had a couple nuances that I didn't mention and he came back asking about how to tie off the weave, how to tie in the legs, and also enquired about differences of wrapping herl. It was a great exchange of COMMUNICATION and took hardly any of my time. This guy has went on and can weave as good if not better than me.

    You know if you've got skills and I'm calling on you.
  8. Mark Mercer Member

    Posts: 1,135
    port orchard, wa
    Ratings: +502 / 0
    "You know if you've got skills and I'm calling on you to pull your thumb out yer ass and post up bitches.

    WOW! do I since a little hostilitie from Big-E!! Alright...count me in, I was going to anyway.
  9. Richard Olmstead BigDog

    Posts: 2,483
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +786 / 0
    Where's a moderator when you need one!
    Mark Mercer likes this.
  10. Richard Olmstead BigDog

    Posts: 2,483
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +786 / 0
    Seriously, I think the forum, in aggregate, provides a lot of helpful tying advice to folks who ask for it. If you are looking for some volunteers who are willing to go the next step of making themselves available by PM or off-forum, for someone who is too timid to post questions, I'll be happy to help out, but I'm not sure how bit a need there will be for this.

    D
  11. Big E Moderator

    Posts: 1,431
    Coon Bay
    Ratings: +364 / 0
    My apologies...I got carried away.

    I do appreciate the responses I've gotten so far and hope to see some more interest and conversation on the topic. Perhaps a list of the people who are willing to be mentors? I'm not sure if we need to do any matchmaking. What I am thinking is perhaps a short bio of the mentors and experience, skills, what flies they like to tie, what they would like to teach, etc?
  12. Richard Torres Active Member

    Posts: 1,350
    Mill Creek
    Ratings: +76 / 0
    I think it's an excellent idea Eric.
    By no mean's i'm an excellent tyer, an intermmediate at best, but i'm always willing to pass on what knowledge i've gained over the years to anyone willing to learn something different.
  13. Irafly Active Member

    Posts: 3,609
    Everett, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +1,033 / 1
    I'm willing to be both. I tie a majority of my own flies and I know have skills in certain areas, but I also know I lack skill in other areas. As a teacher I know what it takes (and patience is not it) to guide someone from a known to an unknown and I also understand the psychology of the fear of failure and I know how to work people past it.

    As a mentor though I believe that any initial help would need to be one on one in real time, there is nothing like the power of the formative assessment.
    Duane J likes this.
  14. ken2cross Member

    Posts: 115
    Lake Stevens, Wa
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    I don't even know where I stand as a tier, but I'd love to learn more. This fly tying and fly fishing stuff is new (4 years or so) to me.
    Ken
  15. FT Active Member

    Posts: 1,242
    Burlington, WA
    Ratings: +102 / 0
    I'm willing to be a tying mentor to others.

    I know I benfited greatly as a teen from having a mentor who was a professional fly tyer. I tie and have taught others how to tie flies from married wing salmon, spey, and dee flies, to steelhead/AS salmon hairwing wets, to dry flies (hairwing and duck flank wing), nymps, bucktail streamers, marabou spiders and streamers, trout wets, dee hair bass bugs, steelhead/AS dry flies, pike flies, and some saltwater flies. I've been a professional tyer 3 times during my 59 year old life, the last time was for 12 years tying steelhead, spey, dee, GP's Ally's Shrimps, steelhead dries. I've taught a few hundred folks to tie flies from beginners to married wing salmon flies. And I provide feedback/suggestions/instruction often to those who ask on speypages.
  16. Bradley Miller Dances with fish

    Posts: 442
    Tacoma
    Ratings: +104 / 0
    Here's a .02 comment from a potential 'mentee'. (I didn't know that was a word; hey, I've already learned something!)

    I've been able to get a minute or two's worth of advice or demo from the local fly shop.
    But I hate to take up their time when they've got other customers in the store. I've watched a hundred videos, which are all valuable to a point, but am left with a hundred questions. I've owned a vise since Christmas. Tied a couple of dozen ugly flies, just to get the feel for the tools. I think it would be cool for one mentor and a handful of mentees (really? I need to look that up.....) to get together and tie, ask questions, share materials, tool idea, etc. At a local shop? Maybe. Restaurant? Maybe. Outdoors? Perfect.
    I like the idea here.....managing schedules and logistics is probably the hardest part.
  17. Joe Goodfellow Active Member

    Posts: 526
    DES moines wa
    Ratings: +101 / 0
    I wish I had someone to teach more stuff.
  18. jimmydub Active Member

    Posts: 197
    Mill Creek, WA
    Ratings: +61 / 0
    I'm no expert, but I'd be willing to lend my time and energy to mentoring a new tier. Zen leecher took the time to show me the ropes of fly tying when I was in high school, and I'd like to pass it on.
  19. Chad Lewis NEVER wonder what to do with your free time

    Posts: 881
    TriCities, WA
    Ratings: +152 / 0
    I'm on the east side, but if anyone is interested in learning to tie, or just have questions, I'd make myself available.
  20. zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

    Posts: 3,136
    Moses Lake, WA
    Ratings: +959 / 1
    Same here, if any one needs tying instructions or seep lake assistance in the Moses Lake area... give a call out. I've fished the seeps below the Potholes since 1980.