Once again this is a request I have had from several fellow bloggers for the fur hackle spinning technique. Although similar too the spinning deer hair article, there are a few pointers you should be aware of when mastering this technique.
Just about all natural and synthetic furs, feathers and hairs can be used as one form of dubbing or another. Before you start its worth considering what type of hair or material is suitable for the type of fly you are tying. There are several factors regarding the choice of natural materials.
1. Dry fly, nymph, wet.
2. Sinking, floating.
3. Ridged or pulsating.
4. Neat or scruffy.
When you are using natural materials you should consider what kind of animal, lifestyle, and climate it derives from. If choosing a dubbing for a small dry fly the under fur from otter, beaver and coypu have, because of their aquatic lifestyle a super fine under fur which is impregnated with natural water repellant oils, rather like the fur equivalent of CdC. On the other hand if you would like a long pulsating, sinking hackle choose a soft finer hair from an opossum or a rabbit that will absorb water but remain mobile and lively when fished. For nymphs there is of course the classic spiky hares ear dubbing. So to achieve optimal function and design of the the pattern you intend to tie, consider the above before starting.
1. Here I am using an old fashioned bull dog paper clip to hold the fur but for perfect dubbing spinning I can recommend the Marc Petitjean Magic tool. Marc’s magic tool is made from transparent plastic, the advantage with this is that you have much more visual control over the length and lie of the material being used. The above material is a regular hare zonker strip. Place this in the clip so the fibers are 90 degrees to the clip and at this stage you also determine the length of the hackle required.
2. Now with long straight scissors cut off the base and hide from the strip leaving only 2 or 3 mm of fur out from the clips jaws.
3. The finished loaded clip. You should now take care not to apply pressure to the clip and open it before needed. Otherwise all the material will shift or fall out.
4. Make a dubbing loop. If the material you are using is dense ( thick guard hairs and under fur) you will need to make a loop of double tying thread as above. But if the material is fine, a finer loop of split tying thread is sufficient. Also its important that where the two sides of the loop meet the hook shaft that they are touching. If you have them open, one strand of thread on each side of the hook shank the loop will not close correctly, and the material spun will loosen and fall out.
5. Move your bobbin forward towards the hook eye and attach your dubbing spinner.
6. If you are using Dyneema or another thread that is un-waxed, you will need to apply a little dubbing wax to the thread to gain ultimate traction.
7. Once you have placed the material in the loop carefully remove the clip in one smooth movement while keeping tension on the spinner to hold the dubbing loop tight and closed.
8. While keeping tension, spin the dubbing loop clockwise until all the material is secured and flares like a regular hackle.
9. You can now wind on your fur dubbing loop in a traditional hackle style. Taking care to brush back the fibers of each turn before making the next.
10. With this technique you can make as many turns of fur hackle as required. If you make only two turns you have a perfect fur hackle collar or you can cover the whole of the hook shank. If you would like a very spiky dubbed body for a nymph you can cover the whole hook shank and then trim it all down to the body shape you would like.
11. For a buggy nymph dubbing you would need a material that will sink and command a little more volume that a fine dry fly body. This is hares ear. Pull some stiff short fibers from the ears of the hare and some softer more dense hair and fur from the mask.
If you would like to use a fine material make use of a dubbing rake. When pulled through the fur on a skin, this will collect only the finer under fur. If you don’t have a dubbing rake you can also just pluck out the fibers with your fingers.
12. Now place the under fur in the palm of your hand and with the finger of your other hand rub the dubbing around in a clockwise motion. This will blend the dubbing evenly, making it easier to work with.
13. Select a small amount of dubbing and place it between your index finger and the tying thread as shown. When I am teaching people to tie flies one of the most frequently asked questions is – how much dubbing shall I use ? Most fly tyers apply way too much dubbing to the tying thread at one go, so I say, take what you think you should use, half it, and then half it again, and normally you arrive at a usable amount.
14. Now its time to roll the dubbing material onto the tying thread. With the tying thread and dubbing resting on your index finger place the tip of your thumb on top of this so as to trap the material and the thread between your finger and thumb.
Still trapping the thread and material between your finger and thumb push the tip of your thumb towards the tip of your finger, clockwise, thus rolling the material around the thread. You must do this several times up and down the thread to attach the material, forming a kind of dubbing rope. You should also remember one of the most common mistakes with attaching dubbing is that the fly tyer will roll the dubbing firstly clockwise and then anti clockwise when replacing the thumb back into the beginning of the rolling stage, this unwinds the dubbing. Also don’t try and make more than a few cms of dubbing rope at one time, this will also unwind as you wind it onto the hook shank.
15. Once your dubbing rope is ready you can now begin to wind it onto the hook shank to form the body. When you have wound on the first length of dubbing, repeat the process until the desired size of body is achieved. If you would like to taper the body, as in most nymphs begin with a thin dubbing rope, and the apply more dubbing each time making a thicker rope.
16. Once the nymph body is finished tie off behind the hook eye.
17. If you would like an even more buggy effect use a brush ( I use an old tooth brush ) to pull out the fibers to make a buggy body.
18. The brushing gives a soft and mobile, yet spiky nymph body.
19. But if you would like a fine slim body without too many fibers you can trim these off with a fine pair of scissors.
20. The finished trimmed cigar shaped body. Good luck! If you have any questions regarding dubbing dont be shy.
Although I don’t fish with super realistic patterns, I do enjoy tying them every now and then. If you are starting from scratch, as I did with this crayfish, it takes a little time to actually work out the fundamentals, scale, hook size, proportions, materials and techniques.
I always start with a morphology image from the visual dictionary, this gives you the basic shape, scale, body segment and leg count. Once this is established I select the materials and then try and plan the correct order to put them together. This can be rather like building a piece of IKEA furniture without the instructions, you get half way and realize that you have left something out! and have to start again.
But for those of you that would like to have a go, I have photographed each step of this pattern, trying not to miss anything out and explaining each stage as I go. Although it looks complicated, its not difficult, but does take some time. You can tie it in stages tie up the legs one day, the claws another etc. So give it a go!
If you have any questions post them in the comments box at the foot of the article and i will try and answer them ASAP.
Hook: Mustad S74SNP # 1 http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/product.php?id=195
Beard: Buck Tail
Eyes: EP Crab eyes
Body shell: Closed cell foam coated in Bug Bond
Tail: Three Cock ring neck pheasant neck feathers
Feelers: Stripped cock hackle stems
I just had a few minutes to play around with the shrimp foils. This time I reversed the foil and tied it in back to front for a Gammarus shell. I’ll post the full step by step for this pattern later.
Although its still a few months before the rag worms start swarming on the coast for thier annual spawn, its always good to have them tied up before hand. For those of you who find the earlier rag worm pattern I posted on the blog difficult to master, this is a much easier and quicker pattern to tie but still fishes well.
I have found the best colours to be Orange, olive and white.
The Awesome opossum
Yesterday I received in the post a few samples of Shrimp foils from the fly people in Germany. One sheet with coated foils and a second with uncoated. The coated foils really look the business but unfortunately after three attempts to tie them on and failing miserably in all three, I went over to the uncoated and and had no problems at all. Although the coated ones seemed flexible enough and relatively easy to position, every time I attached the thread and applied the slightest pressure they snapped! Its not as if I was being heavy handed or over tightening the thread. They just would not tolerate much pressure.
After succeeding on my first try with the uncoated I can only presume that the coating, which gives them a three dimensional appearance has somehow effected the the durability of the foil.
From what I can gather the foils are available in two sizes, the one used here is the smallest, and seemed to be tailored for my # 6 Mustad stinger hook. But if I am honest I would like to see even smaller foils for hooks down to size 8 and 10, for salt water sea trout fishing here in Europe.
All that being said the uncoated foils worked great and they give the shrimp an impressive finish. As I mentioned earlier this is only my first tie with the foils and I haven’t even scratched the surface of testing them, I dont even know if the will withstand the teeth of a fish or will take colour from waterproof felt pens… As soon as I know I will update this post and let you know.
In the meantime you can see they look great, so if you would like to give them a go the contact info for dealers is below.
As a foot note: I was just contacted by Lutz, at the fly people and informed that the coated shrimp foils I received are a prototype and that they have experienced the same problems with them breaking. As a result they are only going to produce the un coated foils for sale.
Hook: Mustad CS52 # 6 Stinger http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/product.php?id=182
Beard/Feelers: Natural Opossum and Whiting pink spey hackle mixed
Rib: Clear mono
Eyes: EP Crab eyes
Underbody: Opossum dubbing
Place your stinger hook in the vice.
Cut a short strip from a piece of opossum fur, keeping a small strip of hide on.
Holding the strip as shown place a Whiting spey hackle over the opossum .
Place the hair and the hackle in a magic tool clip and trim off the hide and hackle stem.
Spin the mixed hackle and hair in a dubbing loop and wind on the hook shaft to form the beard of the shrimp.
On the underside of the hook tie in two strips of lead wire and on the top of the hook shaft a length of clear mono for the rib.
Tie in two EP crab eyes slightly elevated over the beard.
Take some under fur from the opossum patch and dub the whole shrimp body as shown.
Make a dubbing loop in between the beard and the dubbed body. Run your tying thread forward to the hook eye.
Now make the same mix as the first dubbing loop but in the largest magic tool. So you have enough to cover the whole body.
Spin this in the dubbing loop. Make sure that you brush out the fibers with a tooth brush before you begin winding it on.
Once the dubbing brush is wound the full hook shank length tie it off just behind the hook eye.
Now place your shrimp foil on top of the hook shank and tie in at the tail. Make one whip finish.
Wind your mono rib carefully along the body of the shrimp making each turn on the marked ribs of the foil. Tie off at the tail.
Whip finish and remove your tying thread.
Give each shell back segment a coat with Bug Bond and cure with the UV light.
The finished Foil back shrimp.
Elk Hair Caddis
Hook Mustad R30 # 16-10 http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/product.php?id=175
Body Olive dubbing
Hackle Brown Cock
Wing Bleached elk
This classic caddis pattern is from the tying bench of well know American fly tyer Al Troth.
This is probably the most well known caddis pattern in existence, and rightly so. The EHC as it is also known is one of the best adult caddis patterns that you could use. I myself have fished this pattern for at least 30 years, and every season it never fail to provide me with great sport.
Most of the materials are readily available but in the past few years the bleached elk hair has become more difficult to obtain. Al Troth himself recommends that you use the thigh hair from a cow elk, bleached, this I have found impossible to obtain but any good quality bleached elk does a good job. If you find like me that the bleached elk cannot be obtained, regular elk will also do a good job, it’s just a little more difficult to see at a distance on the water.
You can fish this pattern dry so that it just floats high on the hackle points, you can fish it half drowned so that it gurgles like a popper when retrieved and you can even fish it wet just under the surface. A brilliant all round pattern.
Attach the tying thread and run it along the hook shank until it hangs level with the hook barb.
Prepare the hackle and tie in at the base of the hook shank.
Attach the dubbing to the tying thread and begin to build up the body of the fly.
Once you have dubbed the whole body make sure you leave enough space for the elk wing head (2 mm behind the hook eye) secure the dubbing with a few turns of tying thread.
Using a hackle plier wind on the hackle, palmered style along the whole of the dubbed body.
Tie off the hackle and trim off the access.
With the use of a small hair stacker even thew ends of a small bunch of elk hair. You can also remove the under wool at this stage.
Remove the hair from the stacker and lie it along the top of the hook as shown to measure the correct length of wing required.
Still holding the hair in place , change hands and make two loose turns of tying thread around the head of the fly, and pull tight. Make a couple more turns of tying thread to secure the wing.
You can now trim of the surplus elk hair butt ends to make that distinctive EHC head.
Tie off the tying thread and remove.
The finished Elk Hair Caddis.
Heres another tutorial for a simple but effective small seaweed pattern for Mullet.
Deer hair is normally described as hollow, This doesn´t mean that it´s hollow
like a drinking straw, but that each hair is built up of hundreds of small air ﬁlled
cells. This type of hair structure is most deﬁned in deer from areas with an
extreme winter climate. The result, the colder it is, the better the spinning
qualities, with some exceptions. The hair from our own reindeer and the north
american caribou. In order to achieve optimal insulation, these hairs hold so
many air cells that they have a tendency to be brittle, and break under the
pressure of tying thread.
The winter coat of the Norwegian roe deer has many air ﬁlled cells and is ideal
for spinning, packing and clipping. While the hair from the summer coat is
somewhat stiffer and extremely ﬁne. A ﬁrst class hair for tails and winging dry
ﬂies. The colour varies from light red brown on the summer coat to dark grey
with darker barred tips on the winter coat. The best hair for spinning is found
on the back of the roe along the spine. This hair is extremely dense, not at all
brittle, and ﬂoats like a cork. The chalk white hair on the rump is excellent for
dying, or for patterns that require white deer hair.
You should also be aware that the roe mask has a diversity of hair that is
difﬁcult to equal. Here you will ﬁnd hair in many different lengths, shades of
brown and coarseness. Ideal for dry´s from # 10 and down to the very smallest
comparaduns. Anyone who ties caddis ﬂies shouldn’t be without a roe mask.
If you know a hunter or a game keeper, try and secure yourself a whole roe
skin, you wont be disappointed.
If any of you are interested I do have a few very nice generous strips of winter roe from December last year for 15 Euro each including postage for Europe: I only have a few so the first to contact me at: email@example.com
Recently I have had many questions regarding spinning deer hair and the best method of attaining a even open fibered body for deer hair flies. I use this technique on patterns such as G&H Sedge. The other technique is for making cork like bodies from deer hair. Once mastered these techniques can be applied to many patterns.
A simple but effective shrimp for salt water sea trout. Yet another older video but they tying technique is still valid.
If you are after a realistic sand eel, these are the way to go!
This is the first time I have used the Deer Creek Fish Headz and I have to say they are the best self adhesive heads I have used to date. Available in a great selection of colours and sizes, I am glad to say even extra small which are the perfect size for salt water sea trout patterns. Unlike some of the other self adhesive heads these are already coated and are flexible, almost rubber like and adhere extremely well to the materials I have used so far. These heads are shaped to perfectly accommodate a stream lined sand eel body form and I can’t wait to try them in the salt.
They are available In:
X small, Small, Medium,Large and X large. and several different colour combinations.
For full range and order information see: http://www.deercreek.co.uk/FISHEADZ-tm.html
Another pattern for salt water sea trout that has been extremely productive for me over the years.
The original zonker pattern was tied by the American fly tyer Dan Byford in the 1970s and was quickly recognised the world over, as a big fish fly and extremely easy to tie, yet realistic imitation for most smaller bait fish. The original pattern used a lead or tin sheet that was folded and glued over the hook shank and then cut to shape to make the underbody. This melt glue body technique gives the zonker a new life. If viewed by a fish in reflected light the shine and flashing of the maylar mixed with the animation of the pulsating fur strip, makes it a first class bait fish attractor pattern. But when viewed by a fish in a back-lit situation ( in silhouette ) this pattern really comes to life, with the light penetrating through the transparent melt glue / maylar body and fur guard hairs.
Hook: Mustad S74S SS Salt water R74 freshwater # 6 http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/product.php?id=195
Under body: Melt glue
Over Body: Mylar tubeing
Wing/tail: Fur zonker strip
Eyes: Prizma tape eyes.
Heres another video tutorial I made some time ago for the sea bass herring. A simple but effective pattern for salt water fishing using E-Z Body tube. This pattern can be adapted for many bait fish and eel patterns so dont restrict yourself to just this pattern.
Tying thread: Dyneema
Body tube: E-Z Body Orders and info at: http://www.e-zbody.com/
Tail: Crystal hair
Head: Epoxy or Bug Bond
Eyes: Tape eyes
This is a video I made some years ago, but its quite easy to follow and all the basics are there, so give it a go. I have half a dozen or so more video tutorials that I will post over the next week or so.
Hook: Mustad S71SNP-ZS http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/product.php?id=193
Wing: Buck tail
Head: Epoxy or Bug Bond http://www.veniard.com/section188/
Eyes: Tape eyes
Firstly may I wish you all a happy new year!
The seasonal festivities family birthdays and goodbye ceremonies are now over and I have more time to get back to what is most important. Thats right, fishing and fly tying! So please accept my apologies for being vacant the last couple of weeks, but now I am back in the saddle with the first sea trout fly of the year. Please enjoy and much more will come soon.
The Feather Bender.
The original flat wing pattern was developed by the late Bill Peabody a well known fly tyer and fisherman from Rhode Island in the US. The original pattern was developed for stripped bass but was also found to be just as successful on many other salt water species. Recently a number of flat wing patterns have been developed for salt water sea trout and sea bass fishing in Northern Europe and have proved to be extremely effective.
One of the great things about tying these modern flat wing patterns is that the design lends itself extremely well to individual interpretation in size, colour and material use. But remember that the key word for tying flat wings is sparse, if you over dress these flies you defeat the whole point with them. Try and use materials that are light but create volume, but always consider the movement of the material in the water when fished and don´t forget its reflective and flash qualities. Some fly tiers also make use of a tandem hook on larger patterns, attached by mean´s of a wire or mono extension with the tail hook, up side down. But I find that this in most cases completely changes the action of the fly.
Hook Mustad S71SNP-ZS # 8-2 http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/product.php?id=193
Tying thread Dyneema
Tail Two flat wing saddle hackles and Flashabou
Body Mother of pearl Body Braid coated with Bug Bond
Under wing White buck tail and five strands of Crystal flash
Over wing Yellow Olive and blue buck tail mixed
Topping Five strands of fine peacock herl
Throat White buck tail
Cheeks Jungle cock
January 9, 2013 | Categories: Fly Fishing, Fly Photography, Fly Tying, Step by Step | Tags: Flat wing, jungle cock, Mustad, peacock herl, salt water, sea trout flies, Step by Step, streamer | 4 Comments
Hook: Mustad R 74 # 2
Tail: Siberian squirrel tail hair
Body : Squirrel tron dark hares ear dubbing
Rib: Fine copper wire
Wing: Pine squirrel zonker strip
Collar: Natural red fox body hair spun in dubbing loop
Gill covers: 2 Ring neck pheasant “church window” feathers coated with Bug Bond
Head: Natural kangaroo body hair spun in dubbing loop and clipped to shape
Eyes : Epoxy eyes
The original zonker pattern was tied by the American fly tyer Dan Byford in the 1970s and was quickly recognized the world over, as a big fish fly and extremely easy to tie, yet a realistic imitation for most smaller bait fish. The original pattern used a lead or tin sheet that was folded and glued over the hook shank and then cut to shape to make the underbody. The flexibility of the Zonker as a bait fish imitation pattern is only limited to your own imagination. There are a huge amount of rabbit fur strip materials on the market in just about every colour imaginable, not to mention fox, squirrel, mink etc, the combination possibilities are endless. Another advantage with the zonker, unlike buck tail and feather wing streamers, is that it is an extremely robust pattern. If tied correctly the fly will normally outlive the hook, although the eyes are somewhat vulnerable to the small sharp teeth of trout. This can be improved by attaching the eyes with super glue and coating them with Bug Bond or head cement.
When fishing this pattern or any long tailed streamers in general for that matter. Many fly fishermen are of the thought, that when fishing a long tailed streamer the fish tend to “Nap” at the tail and won´t take the fly properly! This can be the case for smaller trout but generally speaking a large trout will take this pattern hard and fast. If you do experience napping at the tail when fishing, stop the retrieve dead, and let the fly sink a little for two or three seconds, nine times out of ten the attacking fish will pick it up on the drop.
December 18, 2012 | Categories: Fly Fishing art, Fly Tying, Material Reviews, Step by Step | Tags: Brown trout, Bug Bond, Fly Tying, hooks, Materials, Step by Step, streamer, Streamers, Zonker | 2 Comments
Fill your fly boxes for the coming season. During the winter months I will be taking orders for flies for trout, Sea trout, Grayling and pike so if you would like to order send me a e mail with your enquiry and I get back to you. firstname.lastname@example.org
My first attempt with some of the great Virtual Nymph products I received at the weekend and Bug Bond. Not 100% happy with the results, but when I have played a little more, I will be making the full step by step for this Stone fly nymph.
Hook: Mustad Slow death 33862NP-BR http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/na/product.php?id=2196
Tail: Porcupine guard hairs
Underbody: Natural seal fur Dubbing
Body: Natural nymph skin
Wing cases Virtual nymph stone clinger wing-buds and heads coated with Bug Bond
Legs: Turkey biots coated with Bug Bond
Antenna: Porcupine guard hairs
I just received some fantastic Porcupine Guard Hairs from Virtual Nymph http://www.virtual-nymph.com/
I have played around a little already with them and this is some of the best ribbing material I have come across. I will be posting some patterns using these and some other innovative VN products later this week. Check out their website, loads of great materials: http://www.virtual-nymph.com/
The Dyna King Ultimate Indexer review:
It all started with the thought of purchasing a new vise for the photography of salt water flies for my new book. I needed one that had full rotation in all directions, horizontally, vertically, up and down and in and out. But I also needed a vice that would look the business with a salt water hook in it in front of the camera. After much research and the exchanging of e mails with fellow tyers around the world, with, I must say mixed responses! I ordered the Dyna King Ultimate Indexer. Dyna King have an excellent reputation in the fly tying world and although I am no stranger to their products, for some strange reason, I have never owned a DK vice. On arrival a few days later I couldn’t wait to try it. This is one good looking vice! After a short while of adjusting and getting use to UI, I was quick to realize that the jaws supplied with the vice where faulty! Could this be right ? I tried and played some more with adjustments but, I couldn’t get a single hook of any size to ‘hold fast’ in the jaws. I am sure you can imagine my disappointment! I contacted Dyna King and relayed my observations, they where quick to respond. New jaws arrived just a few days later.
After tying now for a few weeks with the DKUI, I feel the majority of my initial concerns have been resolved, but there are still a couple of, I feel eliminatory design faults that remain.
1. When adjusting the critical hight of the vice through raising the shaft in the set collar the overall stability of the vise is compromised, thats is to say it ‘rocks’ ever so slightly but annoyingly about 0.5 mm from side to side. Its only when the shaft is entirely inserted into the set collar that it retains stability. Dyna King informed me that this can be resolved by purchasing a extension for the shaft.
2. The base lock screw even when tightened fully isn’t tight enough to secure the vice shaft from swinging slightly if extra pressure is placed on a jawed hook through pulling the tying thread towards or away from you. They also commented on this point and said : To secure the shaft 100% they would have to place a notch in the shaft to accompany the base lock screw.
These two points being noted, the vice is becoming more of a pleasure to work with as I slowly get use to adapting my tying style to using it. Hand crafted out of high grade stainless steel, brass and aluminum the Ultimate indexer is a fine piece of quality engineering.
Dyna King Ultimate Indexer specifications:
Hook range: 22 – 8/0
Jaw tip to end 21.6 cm
Height, Jaw tip to desk 17.8 cm (fully inserted in base collar)
Weight, with Pedestal 3176 g.
Weight, with Clamp 1360 g.
Also included with your vise is simple but precise plastic snap on Centering gauge which allows you to center your hook shank to the axis of vice body rotation.
Instructional DVD featuring Al Beatty demonstrating tying techniques, as well as the features of this vise.
RRP. $ 499.00 http://www.dyna-king.com/
Confessions of a glue user…
For over two decades I have been a serious user of various types and brands of two component bonding agents and epoxy in my fly tying and rod building, all of which have their (highs and lows) advantages and disadvantages!
Although epoxy is available at most corner shops and relatively simple to use, it does take some experience working out the correct amount to mix for the specific job at hand, so there is minimum waste but also mixing the correct amount of both components to advance or reduce curing time as required. Also when mixing, you have to use a slow figure of eight motion with the mixing tool! this greatly reduces the possibility for air bubbles and results in a clear cure! In addition to this you also need to use a rotating dryer if you are tying several patterns with epoxy at the same time, or applying rod rings, to achieve an aesthetic and uniform application.
This all changed a couple of years ago while tying at the Dutch fly fair!
From my tying station, out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of a somewhat, suspicious character standing on the corner of the tyers podium selling small baggies to passers by. Unlike comparable US cop TV show characters, that are dressed like rap gangsters, this guy resembled a fly fishermen! But what he was selling is just as addictive. Once you have started using, you can’t stop!
The man in question was David Edwards and his baggies contained the first production batch of Bug Bond UV fly tying resin.
Being a professional photographer my entire working life I spent hours every assignment waiting to see the results back from the processors, but with the onslaught of the digital revolution, the results where instantly available. This I believe, is Bug Bond’s greatest advantage!
Unlike Epoxy, Bug Bond requires no mixing and for most applications, only a ten second cure, with the correct frequency UV light. Fixed finished and dried in just a few seconds.
Do’s and don’ts from a user:
When using Bug Bond there are still a few things to consider.
If you require only a thin protective coating over a material, apply your BB and cure with the UV light, simple! But take note, that if you are applying BB to a porous material, especially one that has several layers, like the untreated tying thread on the head of a fly, any BB that is absorbed into the thread will not be exposed to the UV light, and wont cure. For this reason, I still prefer to use head cement on the heads of my flies.
If you need a thicker coat, or lets say, a larger transparent head or body on a salt water pattern, then you have to build this up layer by layer, if you apply too thick a coat, the UV light has difficulty penetrating and will cure the surface layer and can leave the center somewhat viscous, although I haven’t found one yet, I am sure that this may also have an application ? I have also found that if you are curing a larger area, like a whole hackle, its an advantage to start by applying a coat of BB on one side first and then curing with the UV light a distance from the material (30 cm), but slowly moving it closer as the curing process advances, then repeat this on the rear of the hackle. This I have found, slows the curing process a little, but gives optimal results. A hard clear, glossy and tack free finish.
You may also experience, that if you start with the UV light too close to the material to be cured, it cures too quickly, greatly increasing in temperature as the photo-activators cure the resin. This should be avoided, as a cure that is too fast and too intense can shrink the material being coated and result in distortion, as I have experienced through trial and error. Also on a safety point, avoid getting BB on your fingers! If you are unlucky enough to do this and accidentally cure it while holding a fly, the heat is intense.
Stronger and better hardening is achieved through using the resin at 37 F degrees (2.6 C degrees) and first with an intermittent exposure to the LED UV light and finishing with a constant exposure for 10 seconds or more. You will also discover that BB may not adhere as well to all materials. I have experienced a couple of foam types and materials coloured with some spirit based waterproof felt pens. You should also remember that this is a UV cure product, so using it in daylight will cure the bonding agent as it comes out of the tube.
Also if your curing time seems to be getting longer, remember to change the batteries in the UV lamp!
With regard to production tying and hands free curing I have made a simple fly curing station. Using an old fly reel box I have covered the inside and lid with silver foil. On one corner of the lid, I use the corner so that the box can accommodate larger flies diagonally. I cut a hole a little smaller that the diameter of the light head and built up a short tube of black card to hold the light in position.
Inside the box I have glued a foam popper head for securing the fly while drying. Just place the hook of your fly in the foam place on the lid and switch on the light. You can then get on with another fly…
If you dont intend to use your Bug Bond for some time, keep it in a cool dark place. David recommends the refrigerator, this keeps it fresh and prolongs life, but then you should remember to remove it and let it reach room temperature at least an hour before you are going to use it.
If you would like to add a little more flash to your BB, try mixing it with regular hobby glitter before applying or just sprinkling it onto the fly before curing! These are available in an amazing amount of colours and only cost a few pence.
On a safety note, UV lights are dangerous if miss used. They should never be pointed at the eyes and kept out of the reach of children at all times.
You will quickly discover that BB and its uses within fly tying and rod building are infinite.
But like all new materials, it takes a little time and experimenting to be familiar with the boundaries, possibilities and applications.
Bug-Bond has been designed to be optically perfect and when cured correctly to have a tack free surface. Other benefits are that it is also resistant to tainting or yellowing when exposed to sunlight and also has a degree of flexibility when cured.