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Founder explains reason for sale of popular Kenyan fly tying company


Gone Fishing, one of fly tying’s best known suppliers, has customers in more than a dozen markets worldwide and is, according to its owner, primed for expansion. So why is it available for sale or partnership?

Managing Director Johnny Onslow (pictured below), who founded the business in Rift Valley, Kenya, 15 years ago, explained: “It has always been part of my plan to ease myself out of Gone Fishing. I am not getting any younger and want to give enough time to be part of the handover.

“I also want to make sure that all the people I have trained up and worked with over the last 15 years have a good chance to continue to earn a livelihood. I also have other projects taking up my time.”

Onslow started the company because he was a keen fly fisherman. Gone Fishing gave him the opportunity to combine his career in education with a business. He and his wife are the only shareholders. Gone Fishing’s biggest markets are in the US and the UK. It also has customers in Ireland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, France, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

And while COVID has naturally impacted on the number of orders, the company has not lost any customers. Onslow says it is primed for expansion if given access to more markets. Pre-COVID, the number of employees was around 100, with ample room for more.

It is fully registered to import materials under bond and to export finished products under the African Growth and Opportunity Act and General System of Preferences, enabling customers in countries that are members to import duty free.

The sale price, says Onslow, will be driven by the value of the stock and assets at the time of sale, including the recently overhauled website and the customer base.

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