Whiskey Creek Fly Fishing

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Tying Tips: Epoxy tips and substitutes

February 21st, 2009 · 4 Comments

A new fly tying tip has been posted to FFOTW, Working with Epoxy:

In this one, I share some basic tips for working with epoxy, and cover a couple of substitutes.  Epoxy is used for many trout fly patterns like the Copper John, Flashback nymphs, and Clouser Minnows.

I use the 5-minute epoxy that comes in the double-barreled syringe from the hardware store.

  • The 5-minute epoxy goes on thicker and is easier to control than the 30 minute variety
  • The syringe makes it drop-dead easy to measure the proper mix
  • These are available everywhere (grocery store, craft store, drug store, etc.)


  • Tie all your flies first, then add the epoxy in batches.
  • Work in small batches, 3-4 flies each for each batch of epoxy.
  • Use junk mail catalogs to mix the epoxy, they have a smooth surface and are disposable
  • Use toothpicks to mix and apply the epoxy. They are expendable and free (after you finish your Grand-Slam breakfast)
  • After the epoxy cures, add a light coat of glossy head cement for a little more sparkle
  • If you do use 30 minute epoxy, let your flies cure on a drying wheel. You can make your own for about $20 in materials. Mine is pictured below, which was assembled with a BBQ rotisserie motor, a Styrofoam wheel from the artificial flower section of the craft store, a bolt with threads filed into a square to match the rotisserie, a piece of sheet metal, and a heavy wood base.

Better yet, don’t use epoxy, use a substitute.Tuffleye & Loon Knot Sense are products available at the fly shop. These are a bit more expensive and require a UV light source. However, they are a lot more convenient than epoxy. Your time saved is worth the expense. This stuff is a single part gel, that cures pretty much instantly when exposed to a UV lamp.  The lack of mixing saves a bunch of time and mess, and the instant cure allows you to shape the gel with your bodkin, then zap it in place.

Tags: Fly Tying

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 winonaflyfactory // Feb 21, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Very cool, thanks for the tips, when I try it for the first time I’ll come back here for a refresher on your advice.

  • 2 Planettrout // Feb 22, 2009 at 4:04 pm


    I use paper clips for application. Toothpicks seem to assist in the yellowing process…something in ‘da wood…


  • 3 WhiskeyCreek // Feb 22, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    Hi PT,

    Thanks for the tip. I’ll give it a try.

  • 4 John LeJeune // Feb 28, 2009 at 4:52 am

    I’ve also been told this about tooth pics. This person went so far as to shun paper (made of wood) and use a plastic cup. He shuns all organic material in mixing his epoxy. Instead of a paper clip he uses a dedicated epoxy bobbin.

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