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Best epoxy to use for saltwater flies


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21 replies to this topic

#1 Barbless Bob

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 01:14 PM

In the past, I have used "cheap" quick dry epoxy for most of my saltwater flies that require it. And, most of the time, it has worked just fine. But, now, I'm experimenting with flies that include bodies that are covered with Washi tape, Duck Mirror tape, and WTP decorator tape. I fear that the "cheap" quick-cure epoxies won't work as well sealing such bodies. Any advice on the best epoxies to use for saltwater flies that incorporate such tape materials? 



#2 Philly

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 02:17 PM

I've only used the tape that you can put on lures, mainly for Bob's Bangers.   I used 5 minute epoxy to coat them.  Didn't have any problem sealing them.  I've since switched over to UV resin for my poppers and crease flies.   It would depend on what type of fly you're tying.  Bob's Banger is a basic fly.  Just a foam cylinder with a hole in the center.  A primitive tube fly.  Easy to wrap tape around.   When I used epoxy on them, I like to add eyes, mainly to hold the eyes in place.  I started the epoxy on the foam face and coated the length of the fly and the back face of the foam.  Rotated fly until the epoxy set up.  Main thing was to seal the edges of the tap.  Same thing if you're adding a strip of tape to the side of the fly.  The epoxy won't bead or slide off the tape if that's what you are worried about.   I got away from using tape and switched over to transfer foil/DECO foil.  Not sure it's any cheaper than the fancy tapes and it is a two part process.  You need to coat the foam with a "foiling" glue, any white glue that dries clear and tacky then apply the "foil" sheet.  It comes in a variety of colors.  My favorite two are holographic silver and mother of pearl.   You can find both the glue and the foil in craft stores.  Hobby Lobby and Joanne's Fabrics and the arts and craft section at Walmart are ones I know that carry it.  Here's two salt water/fresh water poppers I did with the foil. 

 

P1150116.JPG


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#3 vicente

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 03:17 PM

The slower curing the epoxy the less brittle it will be, I use gflex on my knives it's a marine grade epoxy super tough, the only down side is it does have a yellow tint.

#4 Mike West

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 06:54 PM

BSI (Bob Smith Industries) makes the best CA and Epoxie glue there is in my opinion.
Google them if you cant figure out whats the best for your application call them... ive talk to them a couple times and they are very knowledgeable & helpful

#5 Poopdeck

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 10:32 PM

Cheap epoxies will seal as well as expensive epoxy. Cheap 30 minute epoxy is what holds golf club heads on the shaft. If it can handle that they can handle keeping water out of a saltwater fly. If whatever your using now works it doesn't seem there's a good reason to change to a more expensive epoxy. I always preferred 30 minute over 5 minute epoxy just because the 30 minute does not yellow as quick or as bad. No brand loyalties just whichever I could get the cheapest when I needed it.

#6 Mogup

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 11:06 PM

I'm down with the 30 min suggestion.

#7 Capt Bob LeMay

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 09:14 AM

After more than one disappointment with five minute (and other) epoxies... I went to a two part rodbuilder's finish years ago - and that's what most of the orders I filled for fly shops had... It's called Flex Coat and needs to rotate in a fixture for 1.5 to 2 hours after use... Since I'm also a rodbuilder I had the machine bench already with both rod turning lathe and slow turning drying motor... It was a simple matter to use pieces of rod blanks as the turning shaft - then mounted cork rings every six inches or so to attach flies for production work.  Each "stick" held two to three dozen flies at a time and when one batch completed it's rotating time it was removed and another batch was finished and mounted in the drying fixture...   Here's a pic or two with completed flies and ones still on the drying stick (after rotating for the required time) I allowed each stick of flies to sit for a day before removing and packaging....

 

dyaFbG3.jpg

this pattern is ready for Flex Coat -note that the wire weedguard is not bent into position until the head is finished...

jrmcqLm.jpg

here are two "sticks" with finished flies ready to be removed and packaged  -each cork ring held only as many flies as you could mount without touching each other - the ones shown here are tarpon patterns..

nzDaapD.jpg

more tarpon patterns - each stick only fitted lightly into the turning motor so that I could have the stick rotating as I was adding finish to each fly -then was able to momentarily stop the rotation to add another coated head...

 

o2tBd7w.jpg

This is my version of Flip Pallot's Prince of Tides.. note that only the head was coated - not the body.  I was always mindful that the Flex Coat added a tiny bit of weight to a fly and tried to keep it to a minimum...  Nothing I ever worked with gave the quality of finish that FlexCoat provides...

 

Now that I'm no longer tying for shops and others I rarely go to the trouble  of using Flex coat... it gives a superior finish to any fly if the pattern will allow it (us saltwater types have bigger flies to work with...) but for my day to day stuff - I doubt the fish ever notice... 

 

Of course your job as a commercial tyer is to catch... the angler...


Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666

#8 Barbless Bob

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 10:20 AM

Thanks for the GREAT information! Each and every post above really has helped me on this question. The possibility of yellowing and brittleness are definitely concerns of mine. I'm experimenting with various configurations of spoon flies and need an epoxy that will help make the body more durable. The first versions I did were made with a covering of the cheapest quick setting stuff I could find (at Harbor Freight). I caught snook with the flies, but they only held up for one or two fish. I have some FlexCoat Lure Gel as well as Devcon 2-ton epoxy for further testing. Hopefully I'll have a few tied up for an upcoming trip to the Everglades to give them a test run. If those don't work, I'll try Gflex and  BSI.

 

Philly...Beautiful flies! The finish on the popper heads looks great. I have tried the 2-part process of gluing and applying foil. It's still a possibility. The process obviously works for your poppers!

 

Capt. Bob L...What can I say? What great flies and a super idea for a turning wheel. Can't wait till March 13.



#9 johnnyquahog

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 11:24 AM

Just to add to what Capt LeMay said, and he is a master at his craft.  He is production tying so rodmakers epoxy is the perfect choice in this application.  LCA or light cured acrylics have pretty much replaced epoxy for many saltwater tyers.  I haven’t played around much with tape with the exception of Bob’s bangers.  Everyone knows that 5 minute epoxy turns an amber color after a few months.  Before acrylics 5 minute Devcon or Z-poxy in individual squeeze tubes was popular for surf candies.  Someone insisted that 5 minute gorilla brand wouldn’t yellow so I did a few and they behaved nicely (didn’t yellow) on the center console after several months.  30 minute / 2 ton epoxy warrants a rotisserie.  A rotary vise aids in controlling 5 minute epoxy while letting it set up.  I have a drawer full of old amber flies.  5 minute gorilla example…  The objective is to have a big fish destroy them before they discolor.

 

 

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  • surfcandy.jpg


#10 Capt Bob LeMay

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 11:37 AM

Well said, Johnny... I must admit to being a bit old-fashioned - and that many of the newest patterns feature synthetics while I'm still working with mostly natural feathers, furs, and hairs... The driver, of course is that it's simply much tougher these days to find and acquire good quality natural materials in the size and types that saltwater types need.  Who knew that simple disease protocols would greatly reduce the volume and quality of chicken feathers coming out of China and other nearby countries...?  Or that hairdressers could actually cause grizzly feathers to almost double in price (when you could find them...).

 

I make a point of reading everything written about fly-tying, and the materials being used to keep up to date.. That's one of the reasons I greatly value this site (even though most of it just doesn't apply to what I'm up to...).


Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666

#11 Barbless Bob

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 12:57 PM

Johnny--Thanks I like the way the Gorilla Glue looks on your surf candy flies. I'll have to give it a try. You are right about the fish catching part, but I'd like to get the durability high so that maybe one fly could hook 4 to 5 fish (or more) before coming apart.  



#12 Mike West

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 04:43 PM

I use Liquid Fusion nowadays... its water-based doesnt yellow is hard but flexible at the same time , Its self leveling and you dont have to turn it as long as you dont put it on too thick.
Something to consider

#13 Barbless Bob

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 11:01 AM

Thanks Mike. I'm not familiar with this product, but I'll look it up. I like the concept that some epoxies/glues are water based...but do you know if they form as durable a coating as traditional epoxies, especially in saltwater? From what I learned on this project so far, very few epoxies are truly waterproof and are meant to function in saltwater. Nonetheless, I know from experience that even the cheap epoxies are suitable for short-term coating of heads and even flies like surf candies. I'm being super nitpicky about the epoxy issue, because the fly design I'm working on requires that the whole body be epoxied, including thin edges. The tips that experienced tiers offer here have been very helpful so far, because blindly buying an endless array of  epoxies to try is taking its toll in money and wasted time.  



#14 DarrellP

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Posted 21 February 2019 - 09:02 AM

There was a study I read (sorry, don't remember where), that showed that Liquid Fusion actually out lasted epoxy on freshwater poppers. I don't know about toothy critters or Salt.
"Calling fishing a hobby is like calling brain surgery a job." John Geirach

#15 ksevigny

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Posted 21 February 2019 - 08:29 PM

I have had great success with Liquid Fusion. Can be thinned with water. I also thin with rubbing alcohol which speeds up the drying time. Strong and clear results