As promised, Part 2 of our review will deliver the highly opinionated thoughts and observations regarding the very wide range of products available to us fly tyers for use during the process of crafting our works of art and devices that we hope will entice great and small fish to bite.
I organize these fly tyer‘s products in categories as follows.
1. Petroleum based cements
2. Water based cements
3. Loctite family of adhesives
4. “Zap” Super Glue family of adhesives
5. Non-Solarez brand UV cures
6. Epoxy type of cements
7. Unique Fly Tyer”s Cement Products
Photo caption. Note two things here. First, the 3M Poster Tack that I use to keep my glue bottle from tipping over. Second, the way I use a find needle squeeze bottle held in a tiny little hole in the top of my Hard As Hull Hareline Penetrator cement.
Now, let’s begin the review.
1. Petroleum-based Head Cements
• Hard as Hull Cement – all purpose head cement. This is my go-to for larger traditional flies, and especially for my steelhead wet flies. It is not a good choice for small dry flies as it too viscous.
• Hard as Hull Penetrator – This is a fine choice for all wet, dry, and nymphs with heads that do not need to be shiny or glossy. I will sometimes mix standard hard as hull with this penetrator to the in-between viscosity that is a little glossy but still soaks into the threads well.
• Hard as Hull thinner – If you tie with a petroleum-based cement you must have this thinner. Otherwise your cement will be too goopy to be of any use rather in short order.
• Dave’s Flexament – This cement is a miracle if you tie with materials like turkey feathers for wings, because you will be able to brush this flexible thin cement over the wing segments so as to make them resistant to splitting apart when you add pressure with the thread tying the wing into place.
• Soft Tex 3.5 oz jar (flexible, never cracks) – This is sort of like Dave’s Flexament on steroids. It stinks to heaven but you can brush it on big streamers for saltwater and pike-musky flies to help keep the wad of materials from getting tangle and fouled on the hook. Some tyers dip the front 1/3 of their big streamers in the jar and some brush it onto their streamer wings but only around the foreword portion of the fly. Not for the faint-at-heart, or those sensitive to the fumes, please use this goop with proper ventilation. It is a very old product that remains viable because it is so useful. The Flex UV products can do what Sof-Tex can, but at greater cost.
• Fritz Von Schlegel - My goodness, this is another long stranding petroleum based cement, but it is very dependable, the built-in applicator is unique, and the cement works well on the vast majority of flies from the vary largest down to about a size 12. Smaller than this and you will probably slop cement all over the fly instead of on the head only.
2. Loon Water-Based Head Cements
• Loon Soft Head Cement – Perfect for building/painting popper bodies made of foam or cork.
• Loon Hard Head cement – create shiny black heads on steelhead patterns, building up a chironomid body, building mass and durability on stonefly nymph bodies
3. Loctite Adhesive Products
All of the Loctite gel family of products are my go-to adhesive for either temporary or permanent placement of eyes on my flies. Depending on the pattern, I may only use the gel to secure the eyes; or I may add a coat of UV cure over the eyes after placement with Loctite.
• Loctite Ultra Gel Control – slowest gel
• Loctite Extra Time Control – slow dry time
• Loctite Liquid Control – modest dry time
• Loctite Gel Control Bottle – slow gel
• Loctite Brush-On Super Glue – thinnest fastest dry time; similar to Zap
Photo caption. Note the 3M Poster Tack that I use to keep my glue bottle from tipping over. This is the best investment you will ever make and it is available from most craft and office supply stores.
4. Zap Products (Super Glue)
• Fly Fishing Zap-A-Gap – medium, micro-tip applicator
• Zap CA Super Thin – thin, micro applicator
• Fly Fishing Zap Gel – blister pack, 0.1 oz tube use to stick on eyes, mend holes
• Fly Fishing Zap Goo – 1.0 oz gel, stick on eyes & mend holes
• Zap Gel – non-blister-pack
• Zap CA Plus 1 oz Green Bottle – Medium viscosity, , micro applicator
• Zap CA Plus 1 oz Pink Bottle – Thin viscosity, micro applicator
5. Non-Solarez UV Resins
Loon UV Products: these are all dependable, high quality UV Resins. Fly tyers are prone to be “brand loyal” and prefer Loon over Solarez. I have used both and can vouch that both are excellent resins
• Loon Thin UV Clear Fly Finish Large Bottle
• Loon Thin UV Clear Fly Finish ½ oz bottle
• Loon Thick UV Clear Fly Finish Large Bottle
• Loon Thick UV Clear Fly Finish ½ oz bottle
• Loon Fluorescing UV Clear Fly Finish
Pro Sportfisher UV Products
• Thin Flex UV Resin
Deer Creek UV Products
• Diamond Fine Flex black UV Resin
• Z-Poxy 5 Minute – a true old-time epoxy requiring mixing two materials; sets in 5 minutes
• Zap Quick Set Epoxy will set up in less than five minutes
• Flex Coat Rodbuilders Epoxy Glue 4 oz – Probably the best general use rod building product for one guide or a dozen.
7. Unique Fly Tyer’s Cement Products
• Tear Mender –This silly stuff is the very BEST adhesive for gluing rabbit strips for Double Bunny & MOAL Leech flies. I do not know how we got by without this. Oh yeah, now I remember, we used Zap. This stuff is far better for bunny hides.
• Crystal Clear Liquid Fusion similar to epoxy, but thinner and takes longer to harden; dip fly heads in this or brush on wings to prevent hook fouling, use sparingly.
While you do your level best to digest this vast treasure trove of information about what we refer loosely to as “cements,” you can look forward to the next installment, which will be locked onto the Solarez family of UV resins we have come to depend on so often these days.
Thank you. Be well. I hope you can tie flies that will last you through the year. Or perhaps one season, or at least the month after we start fishing. Each of us can only tie as fast and as creatively as we can.
Jay Nicholas – May 2020