It’s an open secret that Gulff fly tying resin is one of the hottest materials out right now. It’s been getting a huge amount of attention on Instagram and has grown in popularity over the last few months with tyers clamoring to get their hands on this stuff. If you are wondering what all the fuss is about, here’s our take on this new material.
First, what the heck is it?
Gulff products are a variety of ultraviolet light-cured resins. Similar to Loon or Solarez products these resins cure to a rock-hardness when exposed to UV light. For many tyers these UV cured materials have taken the place of two-part epoxies, and for good reason. Two-part epoxy requires mixing to activate which means you need to whip up a batch and efficiently apply it your flies before it becomes too thick to work with. This leads to a lot of epoxy waste and it can be hassle mixing up multiple batches. The UV option allows you to work the resins at your own pace fly-by-fly. There is virtually no risk of the stuff drying before you are ready.
Almost all UV resins on the market today are clear and Gulff has 4 options for a clear cure resin. They have Classic, Fatman, Thinman, Flexman. As the name would suggest, each has its own unique qualities. The Classic is ideal for attaching and coating materials on your fly or finishing smaller flies. The Fatman is very thick and best used to build up heads or coat large sections of saltwater flies. The Thinman is a much less viscous resin that is designed for smaller flies such as perdigones. And lastly, the Flexman resin will cure clear but stay nice and flexible. This stuff is also great for bigger flies as an anti-fouling agent and for making flies more durable.
So far so good, but what REALLY separates Gulff from the rest of the crowd, and why they’ve garnered so much buzz, is their colored resins. This stuff is seriously cool. They have a wide range of color options that tiers can use to jazz up their flies and create unique and effective patterns. There is no shortage of uses when it comes to these colored resins - they look amazing on nymphs and streamers, adding a new dimension to sub-surface patterns, and they’ve even been used on dry flies. You can make crab and shrimp eyes with it or even entire flies using just Gulff. The possibilities are truly endless.
After spending some time tying with it myself, there are a few things I really like about this material. First off, the resins cure with no tack at all. This has been a problem with some other resins I have used, which don’t seem to harden up quite enough for my liking. That tack is an indication that the resin has not cured properly and will ultimately cloud up after being handled. Provided that you have a good light, you will not have this problem with Gulff at all (or at least I didn’t - as with any UV resin, a good light is the key. Those cheap 20 dollar lights are not powerful enough to cure the resin completely). In fact, Gulff sells a great UV light that kicks out 3 watts of power, which I’ve found to be strong enough to get a good, rock-hard cure in seconds. Gulff obviously advertises their light as being the best possible option and in this particular case, I think that’s probably true. Their UV Light emits a very different spectrum of light than ones I have seen in the past and theirs seems ideal for the particular Gulff formula. If you don’t want to spring for the Gulff version, however, you should still be ok using a high-powered alternative. I also tried it with my Loon Infinity UV Light which also puts out 3 watts and got a flawless rock-hard finish with zero tack. In short, I think if you’ve got sufficient power, you should be in good shape.
One drawback to Gulff is the smell which has a noticeable odor. It is not overwhelming by any means but it is distinct, much more pungent than other resins I have used in the past. Once Gulff cures it is odorless but I would recommend a fan or open window when working with this stuff for any extended period of time.
I played around with the Ambulance series and was not disappointed. The Ambulance colors are easy to work with and have a consistency that reminds me a bit of honey, maybe slightly less viscous. It will stay put, can be moved around easily with a bodkin, and is generally easy to work with.
The bottles themselves have a thin applicator tip which makes precision applications super easy. It sounds like an insignificant thing but it does make using the resin much more enjoyable and helps reduce waste. All of their bottles (in all sizes) have these precise applicators which is great. The Ambulance series is not transparent which makes it ideal for hotspots, eyes, or adding colors underneath a clear coat. The Realistic Color Series is slightly transparent which gives flies a killer look. The green and brown look especially good over flash. I have yet to try the Color Resin Series but I cannot wait to get my hands on it. This stuff is also incredibly durable. I cured some of the Fatman and Ambulance on a bear hook and whacked it with a hammer. There was no cracking or fracturing of the resin whatsoever. After a few good blows it didn’t even show much in the way of scratches! You can’t ask for any better than that.
As far as pricing goes, Gulff resins are competitive. As a category UV resins are a little on the pricey side but Gulff usually comes in a few bucks below most comparable products out there so you get the added bonus of saving yourself a little money in the long run.
In sum, what Gulff has accomplished with their resin is to allow tyers to easily add colors to their flies. Yes, it was possible to do this before, but doing so often meant reaching for products outside the industry -- nail polishes, hobby paints, etc. -- which were messy, expensive, and often poorly-suited to fly tying applications. By marrying this idea with fishing-specific UV resins, Gulff has made adding colors to patterns much faster and more enjoyable. And don’t take our word for it - the the proof is in the availability! As of this writing, this stuff is sold out everywhere. We got a shipment in and sold out in about 24 hours (don’t worry! We have more coming!). So give the Gulff products a shot. You will not be disappointed.
Pros Durabilty Price Wide range of products/colors
Cons Smell Availability
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