The Mad Scientist
of the first MOE bonefish fly many years ago, epoxies,
silicones and other glues have been a strong part of the
fly tyers arsenal. One adhesive material that has been
overlooked has been the use of hot melt adhesives in fly
construction. Why overlooked?, I don't know. The
use of hot-melt glues in making flies is simple, efficient,
fast and cost effective. Glue guns and hot-melt glue sticks
are all you need.
One fear or concern
is the ability of the glue to withstand direct sunlight
causing the glue to melt. In the many years of using hot
glue I have never heard one complaint about melting in
the sun. Many of the hot melt adhesives need a temperature
of 300 degrees or better to melt down and just keeping
it out of direct sunlight in hot weather for any length
of time does the trick.
are available in many colors and in pearlescent colors
as well. Store-bought colors have one slight problem:
they come in green, red, yellow and etc.. in completely
solid opaqueness. These are not considered "fishy' colors
and many patterns call for clear or transparent. I have
searced for a number of years and through experimentation
(it is never ending) I have found some hot-melt glue in
colors and appearance that fly tyers will like.
is nothing unique
about the use of these glues. No special glue gun or equipment
is needed. A standard hardware glue gun with a high temp
rating which takes standard size sticks, a bowl of cold
water and some paper towels are all the equipment needed
to make your own Hot Glue flies. The sticks are standard
size, ½" diameter and 4" in length. A standard stick will
tie over 4 doz. #8 single eggs!
have been a few
articles and a section or two on hot glue usage and one
in particular was by a famous fly fisherman on saltwater
patterns that was completely 180 degrees out of balance.
You do not need a turner; you do not need a vise to rotate
the fly or use one when applying the glue nor do you need
molds or anything remotely like that. Your hands will
do the best job just by turning the hook. Let's explore
the basic factors, and they are very basic, when using
applying the hot glue make sure the gun you purchase
has a smooth trigger action and not one that "clicks"
when squeezing the trigger. The click will push too
much glue out of the nozzle and then you have a complete
mess; it gets hot when dripping on your leg!
make sure that only a small bead is coming out from
the nozzle of the gun at one time and in a continuous
amount when putting glue on the fly. This small amount
allows you to PUSH the glue into place with total control
of the glue. Always use a little at a time and add more
when needed and PUSH the glue with the nozzle of the
gun putting the glue into its exact location. A little
is good a lot is worse!
squeezing glue onto your fly keep the nozzle of the
gun close. Almost on the fly to eliminate dripping and
having too much glue for that pattern. Take the nozzle
away from the fly when you have finished squeezing glue
onto that particular spot. Pull and twist the gun in
small circles counter clockwise or clockwise to rid
some glue threads that happen when you pull the nozzle
away. Then you can place the nozzle into another position
and start applying glue again or place the gun down.
These little circular motions eliminate glue drag away
from the fly.
the hook or fly in your hands when you are prepared
to start using the hot glue. Holding it the hands gives
you complete control over the positioning of the glue.
Gravity becomes your best friend at this point. Holding
the hook allows you to twist, turn, rotate and etc.,
the fly to position the glue where you want it by use
of gravity. Most of the time this takes only a few seconds.
Keeping it in a vise disallows this freedom.
to consider and apply when making hot glue flies.
If you stick
to these you
will eliminate a lot of initial frustration and problems.
any standard egg hook or hook period. Hold the hook
bottom as you would any fly so hook is in upright position.
Rotate hook toward you, shank is nearest you, and place
nozzle of the glue gun on the top or side of the hook.
squeeze a small bead of glue on the side and lowly rotate
the hook away from you while continuing with the bead
of glue being applied to the hook. Stop when you have
turned the hook 180 degrees.
using the nozzle of the gun DRAG the glue around the
rest of the shank of the hook using a circular motion
and circle the hook a couple of times barely dragging
the glue. You can then squeeze more if needed on ONE
side of the hook and twist the gun away. Rotate the
hook in your hands up down and around to position the
glue into a perfectly round egg.
your are satisfied with the shape quickly immerse the
whole egg into a cold bowl of water. This sets the outside
of the glue so it will harden and sets the shape. Dipping
the hot glue into cold water also makes the glue very
clear. Air-drying only makes the glue cloudier. Count
to 7 and then take egg out of the water and lay down
on a piece of paper towel. Let sit for 30 sec. It's
single hotmelt glue egg is one of the simplest flies
an Egg Cluster: To make an egg cluster you do virtually
the same as a single egg, but in this case put the initial
egg near the eye of the hook. Make the first egg and let
harden. Before you make another egg on the same hook you
MUST get rid of all water that the HOT glue will come in
contact with. The water will make the next egg bubble when
the HOT glue meets the cold water. Once the water is absent,
place another egg behind the first leaving a little distance
of bare hook OR you can put a ball of glue halfway on the
first egg and on the hook on the side of the hook just behind
the first egg. Just squeeze a ball into one spot and let
harden. Then add another ball on the other side and harden
and a fourth on top of all three eggs. Each egg touches
the other to harden with each other. If you put one egg
near the eye around the hook and another behind around the
hook then add two more eggs. One on one side halfway on
top and the other on the other side exactly the same way.
You have a four-egg cluster. Bigger hooks equal more eggs
Egg Cluster is easy to form on the hook.
Hot Glue Baitfish
flat waxed nylon
Crystal Web (Krystal flash also)
Mylar Braid Back: Black HoloGraphic High Voltage
Hot Head Glue
Add some orange or pink for an eggsac.
a Simple Baitfish
Tie in the tail using Crystal Web Flash and extending
about ¾ shank past end of hook and ragged cut. Tie in
Black Holographic High Voltage using about 5 to 7 strands
on top of the body. Next tie in Pearl Mylar Braid and
wrap braid to behind eye and tie off. Pull black holographic
material over the top of the entire body and tie off.
This is the basic baitfish body. Once this is done take
the fly from vise and hold in hand ready to apply hot
glue. Turn the hook exactly like you would with a single
egg. Take nozzle of glue gun and start a small bead at
the BACK of the fly near the tail and slowly squeeze a
small bead out as you pull the nozzle up the length of
the fly. Make a continuous line of glue. Repeat this process
until the fly is covered in this manner. The final amount
may have to be applied from the side, as your arm will
not bend enough. You can then pull and twist the gun away
and check for uneven and empty spots. Fill in spots with
glue and use the nozzle to push into place making the
forward or head of the fly either slightly thicker or
thinner. Rotate fly to position glue into place using
gravity. Once you are satisfied with the shape dip in
cold water and count to 12 or so and then place on paper
the fly is dry you can add an egg sack underneath the
fly by just squeezing out a ball of glue on the underside
of the baitfish. Dip in cold water and let sit. Paint
eyes as the last step. This is a very fast and easy pattern
glue makes realistic-looking fry patterns.
a MOE (Mother of Epoxy) Head: Use a #4 3407 Mustad
hook. Tie on a set of medium size bead chain about 1-1/2
eye length behind the eye of the hook on top of the shank
and tie off. Next, take the hook out of the vise and hold
in your hand. In this style, start behind the bead chain
head holding the hook upright and NOT rotating away with
the small ball of glue and then slowly drag and squeeze
more glue as you go forward around the eyes to exactly
behind the eye of the hook. Stop and then do the other
side the same way. I rotate the hook having the eye of
the hook facing me directly but still upright. Basically,
you have made an outline with the glue for the head shape.
Once this is done then turn the hook upside down and fill
in the bottom with glue. DO NOT use too much, use the
nozzle to push into any gaps and into place. Then turn
the hook upright and do the same for the top. Check the
sides and see if they are even in proportion. If they
are not use the nozzle ONLY to reshape the sides. Use
gravity to position the glue and dip in cold water. Tie
on whatever you wish or tie on materials first and make
the head last. Placement of the eyes farther back will
give you enough room to make a Charlie style fly to tie
materials in as a throat. Fast and easy!
MOE blank is the essential element of any bonefish
fly. Using hotmelt glue makes quick work of creating
your own MOE blanks.
PATTERNS TO CONSIDER
a Two-Tone Egg: An alternative is to first squeeze
on a very small bead of another color glue on the hook.
Once this hardens coat the small bead with another color
using the procedure above and you have a Two Tone Egg.
a Gold Egg: Put a gold bead on the hook and tie down.
Coat bead with hot glue…. Gold Bead Egg!
a Bead: Use a hook, thicker shank, cut off the eye.
Make an egg in the middle of the shank like above. Let
sit to harden for a minute or two. Then twist egg and
pull off hook…. you have made your own bead!
an Egg-Sucking Leach: Your home-made bead can be pushed
OVER the eye of a woolly bugger to create an Egg Sucking
Leech, since the glue is soft and expands and contracts.
a bag of various colors and sizes of homemade beads in
your fishing vest and put on any fly pattern at will...AND
take them off just as easily.
have given you a basic introduction into the world of
using hot melt glue for fly patterns. The techniques are
the same and only slightly modified. The basic factors
mentioned above count for 90% of hot glue control. Crayfish,
Frogs, Crabs, Ants, Stonefly Nymph Bodies, Caddis Pupa
air bubble, Egg sucking Leech, Pinfish Jig Heads, Baitfish…you
name the type, Bonefish MOEs, Own personal beads, eyes.
Using a sheet of glass and paint for the pupils…any size,
color and shape!!!!!! Glue Gun, Bowl with cold, Paper
Towel and GLUE!!! I suggest for those who really get into
the Hot Glue techniques is to pick up a gun for each color
glue stick used. Once the stick is in the gun it is IN
THE GUN! For those who use only a gun or two cut the stick
in half or thirds and use a small amount for a small number
of flies. This will stop a lot of waste. Guns can be purchased
fairly inexpensively. Costs range form $10 to $25.00 ea.
And sometimes cheaper on sale from your hardware stores.
You can also get a dowel rod that will match the diameter
of the glue stick and use it as a pusher so you do not
have to use a whole stick. Just be careful of leaving
the glue gun on with the pusher deep inside. as wood burns.