Silver Tip Fly Company
Canadian Silver Tip Fly Company makes printed fly-tying materials with a high degree of realism.
Canadian Silver Tip Fly Company makes some pretty interesting printed fly-tying materials with a high degree of realism. We talked to owner Brent Onofrychuk about the materials, the history and the process of making them.
Describe your company and your background. Are you a fly-fisher and fly-tier or something completely different?
Fly Fishing and tying has been a part of my life since I could remember. Most of my early experiences were in the eastslope streams of Alberta. Those days of following my game warden father into the small creeks made such an impression that I became a Resource Officer myself protecting and enjoying all that the outdoors had to offer.
Then, with the government cuts approximately 7 years ago, I was at a crossroads in my life and I started a small graphic design business to produce decals (signs). Eventually my life of being around fishing, my education in the environment, and my decal business converged with my passion to invent, design, and patent my products.
I never thought that those humble beginnings would lead to the start of Silver Tip Fly Company in 2011.
The Silver Tip Fly Company is a result of hard work, passion, excitement for business and design that has allowed me to slowly move my business from a local one to a global one. We pride ourselves on high quality realistic products that are easy to tie and with a goal of ever moving forward to improve both tying and the fishing experience of our customers. They, in the end, make the product what it is! Silver Tip Fly Company assists artists to realize their goals and creating something personal, then taking that fly and seeing if it can catch the fish they are after!
How have your materials been received in the market by shops and tiers and how has business developed?
So far the materials have been received with excitement everywhere I go. There is so much enthusiasm that I can supply a realistic product that is easy to use.
Each fly fishing company that I have approached - both big and small - has had nothing but great things to say about the product. Once companies and fly tiers try my products they love it and it just becomes an issue of getting it into their hands. Once that occurs then I find that I have return customer.
Where do the ideas come from and who designs your products? Can you describe the process from idea to products in a bag?
My very first idea started it all when I thought that I would design realistic stonefly wings and produce it myself and to see how it turned out.
I took that product to work where I was surrounded with fisheries biologists. One in particular was a friend named Paul Harps. I trusted his opinion and critique on this product through his biological training and his passion for fly fishing and fly tying. When he first saw the product I could see his excitement and enthusiasm. He indicated that he had never before seen a precut and ready to tie product so realistic.
From that first conversation I started researching the viability of the business and what was on the market. I found many excellent looking realistic products but nothing quite as realistic and easy to tie as my products. From there I developed all the products through number one using the actual insects as my canvas. The only way to get them looking real is to focus on detail.
One of the most important parts of the design process was to go to the experts in the field. I had anglers from the Chinook Waters Fly Fishing Club in Lethbridge and the Hook and Hackle Club in Calgary test the products in southern Alberta. I received focused review and suggestions on other styles of products and improvements on designs.
That field testing was critical to the final product being produced.
My first and foremost goal is to make sure the products that go to the market work. I have spent many hours designing products that sometimes work and sometimes not. In the beginning the testing and re-designing phase was very extensive. My first products looked great but they didn't perform up to my standards. Now they perform better than anyone could have expected!
Can you share where and how the parts are produced?
All of the products are produced at my graphic design shop, Silver Tip Decals in Lethbridge, Alberta.
The parts are all designed on computer, mainly based on insect images, and then the image is transferred to a plastic substrate and cut to size. I can change the shape, size, and colour any way that I or the customer desires.
As some of my wings show, I can customize specifically for company logos, to countries flags. I also work with the commercial tiers to ship bulk orders for less packaging.
There seems to be a flurry of prefabricated parts coming out these days: shrimp eyes and legs, printed jungle cock, fish sides, shrimp backs and products like your own. Are we going to see more ready-to-use fly-tying products like that?
This is an interesting question because until I began making realistic products I only tied with natural fibers. Being in the industry, I now see prefabricated products showing up on store shelves. I do believe that we will see more realistic products as technology and materials improve and new tiers become innovative in what they use at the bench. It wasn't long ago that many of these products weren't available and amazing tiers all around the world used natural materials to create realism. What an art!
What I have found with the Silver Tip Fly Company products is that anyone has the ability to create realism quickly and consistently. The products are translucent and they come with the wing patterns you would find on a live insect. As new products come on the market I see there being an ability to make new flies that have never been seen before.
As with all products you have to look at where the industry had come from. I could never be here as a fisherman/tier without family and friends that have influenced me, neither can my company move forward without the foundations that where built be fly fisherman/tiers all over the world.
I do not see ready-to-use products as the end all be all, I see them as accessories to great flies tied with natural and premade products.
Some people think that tying a fly becomes too much of assembling a construction kit when you use prefabricated parts. I guess that you beg to differ?
At the end of the day all tying is an assembly process, allowing the tier to create a fly out of natural and non-natural products to create a masterpiece.
I have tied with my products going on two years and what amazes me is if I give any product including mine as I have tried it, to ten tiers each one of those flies is different.
We each have our own training, our own personality and abilities and I find that it shows in flies that are tied. I have also observed that a fly I have tied one year before evolves changes and becomes better. Practice makes perfect. I just haven't reached perfection yet.
Should we expect more products from you? If so, can you reveal anything about them?
Yes you should expect more products from me. I am always looking and playing around with products and designs. I am currently expanding my business to include tied flies for the anglers that do not tie.
For those of us that do have the time to tie I have been working on some saltwater products such as realistic crab and shrimp patterns, I have also been working on my own version of nymph legs that look great and are easy to tie.
There are many ideas rolling around in this head of mine and when one falls out then I start the design process all over again.
Silver Tip Fly Company's center piece is the realistic fly products, but this is not all that we offer. We have products such as hats, t-shirts, decals, and custom water resistant field journals. Through these products and others, Silver Tip Fly Company will continue to innovate and provide what the customer is interested in!
More information can be found on the Silver Tip Fly Company web site
Brent Onofrychuk founder of The Silver Tip Fly Company is also on Facebook
Practice makes perfect. I just haven't reached perfection yet.