New age epoxy
Epoxy isn't what it used to be.
Like many fly tyers I shun flies that call for epoxy. I love the flies, but I would prefer not to go through the process of mixing the two components, applying and waiting for it to cure.
No matter how you do it or which type of epoxy you use, there's a lot of waste, trouble controlling the shape of the fly and the demand for an epoxy rotor if you use the slow curing kind. And there is the potential health hazard, mainly allergic reactions to the hardener.
I personally only tie epoxy flies when I really have to. I haven't found any substitutes until now although I have tried a lot of different substances.
But the last couple of years have seen some new materials, which seem very convincing. They are all based on the principle of hardening with light - some with invisible UV-light, and some with visible blue-specter light.
The idea is that you have a single substance, which you apply to the fly like you would the epoxy. But you don't have to wait for it to cure. By exposing it to a special light for a few seconds, the resin sets and becomes clear and stiff or flexible, depending on the type you have chosen.
The process seems easy and very controllable, and the result quite convincing. I am definitely going to try to get my hands on some of these materials and try them.
I have my eyes on a couple of brands, and will try to get a hold of them.
Clear Cure Goo is an interesting product, which seems very reasonably priced and comes in several different types. You can buy a kit with the necessary lamp and a couple of syringes of goo for 50 USD. Each syringe with glue enough for at least 30 large saltwater flies such as 2/0 Surf Candies is only 11-12 USD.
Tuffleye was one of the first brands of this type of material available and has a very good reputation. Marketed by Wet A Hook, a company founded in San Antonio, Texas by a dentist and an attorney. The dentist angle is interesting because the light curing technology has been used in dental work for many years.
Tuffleye's materials are also about 10 USD per 10cc syringe, and you can get a starters kit for 80 USD, which includes an AC powered curing light.
GFF contributor Pete Gray is an avid Tuffleye fan, and he has endorsed the product several times, both in our forums and on Tuffleye's web site.