Breaking Waves in Fly-Tying Tech

SAN DIEGO, California — It started in the ’80s. You can picture the place: a Southern California surfer feverishly repairing a busted surfboard in his parents’ garage. Sandpaper and resins mix with the salt air in a scene that’s repeated itself thousands of times before and after, but this time something different happens Dad walks in … and he has another idea for those surfing resins.

A weathered fly rod hangs on the wall. It sparks dad’s imagination. Sure, you can use the clear resins to conquer the Pacific, but can you also use it to create a fly? Can you adapt a surfing tool for fishing?

The short answer is yes.

The long answer is that, over the years, an idea that might have begun in a surfer’s garage has refined itself into a UV-cured resin that’s revolutionizing the way anglers tie flies. It’s called Solarez Fly Tie UV Resin, and while its name is simple, its uses and benefits are multi-faceted.

Affordable advances

The resin allows anglers to tie flies faster, and achieve a hard, clear coating that cures in seconds and is environmentally friendly. Fly-tying experts around the globe have tested it, and some of the results are stunning.

“It’s a new technology,” says Solarez inventor Gary Fisher. “For the guy who’s out there using shellacs, varnishes and epoxies, this is an entirely new thing.”

Fisher says Solarez Fly Tie UV Resin is much more efficient and cost-effective than traditional methods because it cures as a 100 percent solid, rather than the 20-25 percent solid found in shellacs and varnishes; and it cures in seconds under UV-light. “It certainly saves time,” Fisher says. “A lot of manufacturers that make maybe 100-1,000 flies per month call us and tell us that they couldn’t make as many flies as they do without our product.”

A tack-free tech

Fisher says surfing is an under-credited industry for innovation. Those composite boards need to take a high-performance pounding from people and waves, leading Solarez to pioneer incredible technologies. Fly Tie UV’s signature feature—a tack-free touch— comes directly from that world.

“Being tack-free separates us from other resins,” Fisher says. “In surfboard-building, surface tack is typically addressed by using paraffin wax, which creates a thin barrier between the resin and the atmosphere. We learned that there are more innovative ways to create that barrier using chemistry, and those lessons made their way into fishing. Our resin cures with no tack.”

Part of that tack-free cure comes thanks to a special formula that Solarez designed to cure in oxygen-rich environments. “Oxygen is a very active inhibitor,” explains Fisher. “Unless you’re curing in space, you’re probably going to have oxygen around; and if you have oxygen around, you have to formulate differently. We do that, and it makes a big difference.”

Rocking reception

Solarez Fly Tie UV has been on the market now for about seven years. In that time, Fisher says its received an incredible reception from anglers and independent manufacturers, and that’s helped Solarez grow Fly Tie UV from a resin that was initially sold through e-commerce into one that’s receiving distribution through brick and mortar distribution channels. “We do continue to sell on Amazon,” Fisher says, “but we really want to support our brick-and-mortar stores. They are the heartbeat of this country.”

Solarez Fly Tie UV is available in individual resin types and in variety packs with an MSRP starting at $7.80. The company also sells a starter kit that includes a special, rechargeable UV flashlight for less than $25.

“It’s very economical,” Fisher says. “It’s a product that you can get for a reasonable price. A customer can come to your store and basically spend lunch money to get into a new technology. If they like it, they can get larger bottles and refills. It’s really quite affordable.” Fisher also says that Solarez Fly Tie UV cuts down dramatically on waste from traditional two-part epoxies.  “Even if your project only requires a few grams of epoxy, you still need to mix-up an ounce or so (28 grams) to get your ratios correct. Then you end up throwing away half or more of your resin! That’s not the case with our product.”

“Plus,” Fisher adds, “people seem to really like the ‘magic’ of UV-light curing,”

It’s a magic that Solarez hopes will translate into tackle shops and — just for old times sake — garages nationwide.

FTR selling points, Solarez Fly Tie UV:

  • Tack-free touch
  • UV Cures in seconds
  • Zero VOCs, low toxicity
  • Environmentally-friendly
  • 100% solids compared to 25% solids
  • One-part, no mixing
  • Use only what you need, compared to 2-part epoxies
  • Endless pot-life (no rush to use, compared to epoxies)
  • Practically endless shelf-life — more than 5 years.

See it in action: