Re: Time To Talk About Some New Fly Swaps;
ttbloom: I lean toward Mudbug on this one. I have participated in numerous swaps and going in you know that you will most likely receive some flies you otherwise wouldn't pick out. That's just the nature of the game. I've also been trying flies for 15 years and still learn new patterns and tricks and techniques and not always from more experienced tyers.
I guess my point is that I enter swaps because I love tying flies and I love the nature of the sharing aspect of the swap in general. Rarely do I enter them hoping to get a dozen A1 flies to fill my box - not that it isn't possible - the streamer swaps I've been in definitely filled my streamer wallets and the midge swaps were great too. For me, that's because I don't spend much time on streamers or midges, so I got a bunch of flies I'd otherwise likely never have.
Anyway, back the point Mudbug made and that I echo: it is impossible to try to regulate the skill or amount of time or "effort" anyone puts into their work. Hell, the effort it takes a beginner to make an #14 Adams could be greater than the effort I put into a #18 BWO emerger.
Also, in my experience with the swaps, I haven't felt other people are making the "cheapest and easiest flies knowing full well that they will receive something worth much more." You yourself said that you've done one swap. So either you are just creating this idea or you had one really crappy swap experience. What I've generally seen is tyers trying their best to impress the rest, that's what it really should be!
My advice and recommendations: choose the swap carefully if you are entering in hopes to get back flies you really think you'll use. Or throw out an idea for a swap and ask one of the new coordinators if they will take it on, i.e. "Advanced Tailwater micro nymph swap" or "CDC emergers under size 16" or whatever it is. Then it could be up to the swapmeister to vet some of the tyers to make sure everyone is up to the level.
I hope you find a swap or two that suits your fancy and you continue to play along!