Welcome to Fly Tying 2.0
When I was a kid, I remember the epic battle of video formats between Betamax and VHS and my Dad's choice on which one to buy. We went with VHS and soon began filling our basement shelves with those huge VHS tapes. My first exposure to fly tying actually came from a couple of borrowed VHS tapes from the local library.
Much later on, Cheech and a couple other buddies and I had the "great" idea to create a series of awesome fly tying DVD's. Between the time involved getting it all filmed, edited and the price to create the DVD's, we probably only came out a little ahead of the game by the time we sold some in a few fly shops, at shows and over the internet. By the way, those DVD's are now officially collector's items and might be worth something like a couple of bucks by now. Start your search on eBay right away!
Nowadays, you can find an online video or SBS tutorial on pretty much any fly pattern or method you can imagine and the best part: you don't have to pay a dime to view it!
So the point I'm getting to is that the method of fly tying "edutainment" consumption has evolved a LOT in the past 10 years. I like to refer to where we are today as "Fly Tying 2.0". Gone are the days where you need to buy or rent any sort of old-school physical media.
Today, in the world of Youtube, Vimeo, Facebook, Instagram and all other avenues to get video delivered to any device you wish, there are literally thousands of options to either learn how to tie or learn new patterns -- at no cost!
So with this incredible level of no-cost on-demand material, I'm always surprised when I see tyers or even media companies that still try to hock DVD's or worse: charge people to view tying videos online. Hmmmm...let's see, $0 vs $30? Or even $0 vs $3? I know the math might be hard, but come on!
People have asked us why we don't charge for or sell the videos we produce. I think first and foremost, we're not naive enough to think we've somehow discovered the end-all-be-all solution to catching fish or tying flies or come up with a super-secret technique that, if shared publicly, would somehow cheapen it for the elite few who can afford to order a DVD or pay an on-demand fee to watch. We tie a lot of flies and so we will often slap the camera in front and let 'r roll. No reason to charge you to watch us doing something we love.
Now we're obviously not filming with a camera phone and I happen to have about 12 years of video editing and photography experience under my belt, so I hope our material is top-notch quality compared to a lot of the other stuff you'll see out there. But if you look out at the fly tying material tutorial landscape, you'll see the likes of Davie McPhail, Fly Fishing the Ozarks (Brian Wise), TightlineVideo, In the Riffle, Hans Weilenmann and a few others -- all throwing out high quality stuff at no cost. I can't imagine paying someone else to see a level of fly tying that would likely not equal let alone surpass what's already out there.
Now that's not to dismiss the usefulness of a book or even better an in-person class, but that's comparing apples to oranges. And I'll give slightly on the argument that there are tyers out there with some wicked skills that might not feel comfortable in the public forum or who could legitimately command some level of compensation to see them work. I get that, but those are, by far, the exception.
So if you're making or buying old-school physical media or making/buying video downloads for fly tying, you're wasting time and money. Those DVD's will make good coasters for your coffee table and they put off a great light display if you nuke them in the Microwave. Whether by karma or just overall exposure, you'll be much better served by joining the Fly Tying 2.0 world and letting the tying footage flow for free. And if you're wanting to get into tying or have the need to learn some new patterns, Google is your friend. Well, and we'll be your friend too cuz we've got a few videos to share....