Re: Time To Talk About Some New Fly Swaps;
Couple things from me.
Swaps are great. I participated in Many, and suggested a few different topics for swaps.
I think the topic of the swap initially dictates the complexity eg. nymphs vs classics salmon flies for instance. Each tyer knows their limits both in terms of skill and financially and should be able to decide for themselves if a swap is for them. I'd say 95% of the swaps the last year were 'open to all'
Firm deadline, 4 weeks from the swap being suggested is perfect. It allows late comers to get the opportunity to enter. however, I'd suggest making the ship date for flies a few days before the deadline, to ensure all flies get there in time. after this date noone else would be allowed to sign up and all flies should be out. While the end date would be firm, postal delays are inevitable - i think it should be at the swap masters discretion to wait a day or so beyond the end date if he believes that flies are legitimately 'on their way' - a proof of postage receipt from the swapper dated at least 3 days prior to the end date would be required for this 'exception'
Of course, the ideal situation here is to get your flies tied and shipped ASAP. If the swap coordinator receives all flies from all swappers prior to the end date, he should turn them around without waiting to the 'official' end date.
Containers - Altoids tin is perfect. even if you dont like Altoids, $2 for a small tin is the cheapest way to get a robust container.
Postage - should be Stamped and addressed - the coordinator then only has to drop all envelopes in a mail box. I know from my own standpoint i tried to recycle envelopes - which required the coordinator to use some scotch tape to reseal the return envelope - is this beyond the requirements of the coordinator.
Last year i got quite annoyed about swaps and withdrew from a number of them, both those where flies had been submitted and those which hadn't.
I dont think toe tags on flies are essential, but i think everyone should at least post one photo (we all like to take photos of our flies) on the thread, or in a central 'swap album'. This also reduced the burden on the swap coordinator to photograph every single fly and post images. Perhaps its possible for admin to set up a 'swap photo thread or album for each swap, where the tyers can post their photo and recipe of their fly.
Just some ideas.
Also, i'm willing to be a coordinator on a rotation basis with the other volunteers.