In the past several years, there’s been a ton of new materials and techniques introduced to the fly tying world. Fly tying has seen a huge influx of totally new and innovative things, but UV cured resins are definitely at the top of the list. Gone are the days of mixing up a heaping pile of steaming, stinky epoxy and using two dots of it and throwing the rest in the garbage can, after getting it all over your hands, pants, and tying bench. UV cured resins are simply the handiest and easiest way to apply finish to your flies, whether it be shaping a head on a monster pike fly or smoothing up the body on your favorite midge pattern! It can be slightly intimidating to get into a UV setup however, as there are many different kinds of resin, and nearly as many lights to cure them with. Here’s our short breakdown of the differences between the resins and lights!
There are quite a few UV lights out there, ranging from inexpensive ten dollar lights to full blown seventy dollar units that are the Cadillac of UV lights. What’s the difference? While they all will harden up the resin, the better lights will harden it a lot faster and you won’t get nearly as much ‘tack’ on the outer surface of the resin. Tack can be really annoying because it when you set your flies down on your bench, they will stick to the table and attract every spare scrap of marabou and dubbing within a yard. We’ve had really good success with Solarez products, and their light is no exception! We’re all big fans of both their resin and their light. A big misconception with UV lights is that brand A lights can’t harden brand B’s resin. All of the various brands of resin can be hardened with any brand of light!
There are dozens of different resins – thick, thin, flex, tack free, and hydro, just to name a few! It can be a mind boggling concept when you first start tying with them, but you can narrow it down to just a few to start easily. As with the light, we’re really big fans of the Solarez Resin, in all of the various varieties. The big three we use are thick, thin, and flex. The thick is great for shaping big, bulky bodies on streamers and nymphs. Thick works quite well for coating wingcases on nymphs like a Tung Teaser or Copper John. Thin is our go-to for coating smaller nymph bodies and midges. You can make a fantastic midge or other slender nymph body that is really durable but keeps it thin, all while adding a lifelike translucence to the fly. The Flex Formula is our go-to for making big heads on streamers and pike flies, as it allows the materials to move around a little bit without breaking and cracking the resin. It’s really, really durable and is definitely the choice for flies that are using a lot of resin and getting beat up. The newest resin from Solarez is the Bone Dry Ultra Thin, and is hands down our new favorite resin for smaller nymph patterns. It works great for coating Veevus Body Quill, and is the best choice for coating your Polish Quill bodied flies, which have become one of our favorite patterns!
UV Cure resins will change the way you tie flies, and your flies become exponentially more durable! The Solarez Roadie Kit comes with one each of the three kinds of resin – thick, thin, and flex. It also comes with their awesome light that hardens the resin in seconds. At only $45, it’s the best value in UV fly tying equipment!