Friday, March 13, 2015

My conversion to "Flash Light Epoxy"...and the retiring of my epoxy wheel and dusty baker tooth pick holder bobblehead.

So I have been a little late…like a few years or so late…to as I have called it, the “flash light epoxy” party. I have had my reasons…when I look in a fly shop, online, in a catalog, or any other retailer I have NO IDEA what I need to buy nor do I want to pay what a flash light and what amounts to epoxy costs. I don’t know what I want…thick, thin, brush on application, squeeze bottle, magnum light….I have followed the basic if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, we don’t leave fish to find fish, and what works works mantras.

My epoxy turner and 2.99 tubes of 5 minute epoxy from Lowes work just fine…I have a stack of 3x5 cards and toothpicks to mix and apply it and put my flies on the wheel ounce done. I actually have the whole process down to a science for the most part…a beautifully efficient and coordinated dance…I may be a little enamored with myself or have a self inflated opinion of my epoxy application to over glorified craft materials on hooks but the bottom line is I had a good program working.

Finally after seeing enough posts on Instagram and Facebook of REALLY COOL bait fish patterns with these supper clean built up epoxy heads and realizing that ounce again water is going to be low this year and I am going to have to fish some light lines and light flies for stripers on the river I broke down and said “I gotta figure this out”…cause I am going to be straight up here…when I apply epoxy to my clousers they look fine, just as good as any “flash light epoxy” thing…when I try to build up a epoxy head 9 times out of 10 they look like crap and get hung on the wall as “decoration” or as “gifts” to my son, and even my 6year old looks at a few of them as “ya dad uhhh I might never ever fish that…but I’ll take it anyway….even though at 6years old I can tie one that looks WAY better”

So, I got in touch with my buddy Matt Callies who works for Loon…Now there are a few of companies that make this “flash light epoxy” stuff but I know Matt and I felt completely comfortable admitting that I am a complete neophyte and still in the stone age using expoxy so I hit him up. That and Loon is the leader in consciously produced fishing products…like floatant that dosen’t leave an oil slick in the water coming of your dry fly, so I felt pretty sure that the stuff wouldn’t cause chemical burns, the light wouldn’t burn out my eye balls, or the fumes wouldn’t poison my children.

Matt is not only an AMAZING and INCREDIBLY innovative fly tier…and in my opinion very under appreciated and recognized…he is very good at teaching complex fly tying in a simple straight forward manner. He basically told me I need the Loon UV Clear Fly Finish thick and think …..there was two bottles of stuff I needed “thick” for head build up and “thin” for like epoxy heads, backs, and thin layer stuff and of course a light…get the big one he said…the MAGNUM. If there is a magnum size offered why would I buy any less right.
Flash Light Epoxy...I am a convert...and yes that is a Dusty Baker tooth pick holder bubblehead in the background that has become very insignificant now.
So I tried the Loon UV Clear Fly Finish thick this morning for the first time. I had tied up some small baitfish patterns to fish for small and largemouth bass on the river next week and figured this was a good time to try the stuff out. My “epoxy build up head” fly repertoire is pretty limited and most of my baitfish flies have lead eyes. The flies I decided to try the Loon UV Clear Fly Finish thick on were just basic glue some stick on eyes and build up a head around it flies…pretty simple stuff. I can happily report that all the flies I have deemed fishable and went into to one of my boat boxes to be fished. The process was pretty simple, squeeze bottle in one hand light in the other and lay down some goop, hit it with the light, lay down a bit more, and hit it with the light until I got the head I wanted. This seemed to be the easiest and cleanest way to do it…I tried laying down all the goop at ounce and then hitting it with the light and that worked, but the material shifted a bit as I laid more and more down on the head …I liked the lay a bit down, hit it with the light, lay more down, hit it with the light better, this approach created a more uniform head.

Not a bad first batch...not perfect but fishable

Baby bass...aka striper food 

Baby bass...aka bigger bass food size
My deduction is that I am going to use this stuff a lot more and realistically tie many more flies that have epoxy heads vs. lead eyes as now it is MUCH easier and much more efficient. I think that will open up some new fishing opportunities for me as over the last few years I have really started fishing shallower water and submerged weed beds on the Sac for stripers with a lot of luck with a fairly limited fly selection. I will try the Loon UV Clear Fly Finish thick and think on a bunch more stuff…mayfly/stonefly backs, my clousers, and a few bass flies I am sure. I’ll get some more pictures up as I work with this stuff. Old Dog learned new Trick.

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