Swap "Skunk Works" Saltwater Swap


Should be OlympiaFarq now...
I've been kicking this idea around for a while and I'm curious to see if there's enough interest to pull it off. Essentially, this will be a crowd-sourced research and development project. The swap name comes from Lockheed Martin's famous "Skunk Works" division, which developed groundbreaking aircraft like the SR-71 and F-117. While our goal won't be to build a fly that's faster than Soviet surface-to-air missiles, I think it will be fun to put our creative minds together and see what we can come up with.

This will be a little more involved than a standard swap. Instead of simply going on our way after the exchange, I would like us all to test the patterns and provide feedback. Participants will tie patterns that are as close to 100% original as possible (with the understanding that we're all unavoidably influenced by what we've seen in the past). This is your opportunity to think completely outside the box and use new or strange materials and design ideas.

Below are the instructions I'm considering. However, given that this is a unique swap, I am open to any and all suggestions regarding how it should be structured.
  • 2-3 copies (depending on group size) of one pattern from each participant.
  • Each pattern MUST BE UNIQUE. Of course, inspiration is all around us, so if you saw or heard something from another angler that gave you the idea, give credit where it is due. Be creative and think outside the box. Failure is ABSOLUTELY an option, so don't stress about your tie being the stinker that no one wants to fish.
  • All participants will be expected to fish all patterns and take some basic notes about how well/if it caught fish, how the fly looks and swims in the water, fouling problems, durability, "style," etc. Feedback will be due at least once (say by July 1), but everyone is encouraged to report back if/when they have new notes.
  • Resident Puget Sound saltwater salmonid focus (rezzies, SRC, blackmouth).
  • Depending on interest, a follow-up swap to allow participants to alter designs and incorporate feedback.
  • Optional cash donation to be given to the Coastal Cutthroat Coalition to aid in their efforts to protect and improve the fisheries we all love.
  • Rough due date: May 1, 2019
Theoretically, this could evolve into an open-ended collaboration. Let's see where it takes us. Who's in???
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WFF Supporter
Awww you know I'm a sucker for aeronautic stuff, I'm in!
It's fun to come up with ridiculous ideas and you're then forced to make it work. Bonus point goes to the first fly that can break the sound barrier at sea level.


WFF Supporter
I might be interested in this. I was researching coho forage recently and something popped up that I had not heard of before. Subsequent research revealed not many patterns for that food item. Have an idea or two to tie one up that I might be good for this swap.
Well damn this sounds great. After seeing a buddy catch a 10" sea-run with a 18" marine worm hanging out of its mouth, and hearing about how ghost shrimp make up 80% of the forage during certain months, I'll be brainstorming on some creative flies!! Not saying I'll be making a worm or a shrimp....but that's where I'll start.

How many participants were you thinking?


Should be OlympiaFarq now...
Glad to see there is some interest (for some reason I wasn't getting email alerts for these posts, so I was getting a little discouraged). Here are my responses to questions/concerns so far:
  • "Is there such as thing as true uniqueness anymore?" Maybe not and perhaps I should soften the language a bit. While each design will likely build off patterns, materials, techniques, etc. that we've seen in the past, it should be different enough to call it your own. Adding a hackle collar to an old pattern or changing the color isn't enough.
  • Imitating common (to the fish) food sources that aren't typically mimicked by tiers is an excellent place to start!
  • Number of participants - I'm not sure how many I'm looking for. It looks like we have 6-7 people interested now, which would be enough to make it worthwhile IMO. I'll leave it open a little longer to see if anyone else wants to join, but I think I will cap it at 10 max. Is that too many? Too few?
Thanks for the interest! Looking forward to getting started.


WFF Supporter
Well, I was to some degree just yanking your chain. As long as your expectations are realistic, I can see myself being part of this. Do I need security clearance to participate?


WFF Supporter
I think @Irafly should be encouraged to join. The pattern I am thinking of might best be fished under an indicator floating leasurely in the current. Is there a better tester than him for this?

The jasmillo jelly :).


Indi Ira
WFF Supporter
I think @Irafly should be encouraged to join. The pattern I am thinking of might best be fished under an indicator floating leasurely in the current. Is there a better tester than him for this?

The jasmillo jelly :).
Gall Darnit, I was on the cusp until you brought me in personally. That just dun dare tippped me over the edge.

Oh, I got ideas, oh yes I got ideas!
This is such a cool idea. The few years I did the March Madness Swap I sent in completely unique flies. One with a few minor alterations for freshwater, has been one of my better streamer patterns recently. I always wonder though if those flies caught fish in the salt. I would love to participate, but unfortunately rarely fish the salt. I don't think I could commit to the testing part. I will look forward to seeing all of your creations though!

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