Tips on working with fly tying epoxy:
Fshing flies tied using epoxy, in other words, epoxy flies, are becoming more popular each year. Epoxy flies are almost indestructible and it is this durability which a key in their popularity. Tying flies with epoxy can be tricky and there are some dangers you should be aware of. Most epoxy mixes are carcinogenic and they should always be used in well ventilated areas.

Here are a few tips on working with epoxy.

a. Always use epoxy in a well ventilated area.
b. Tie up a dozen flies and then apply the epoxy to the bunch.
c. When working with epoxy, always keep at hand a small feather with the fluff removed from the stem. If you accidentally coat the eye of the hook with epoxy, pull the feather through the eye stem first, and it will remove the epoxy from the eye. It is far easier to remove the epoxy before it sets than when it has hardened.
d. Wear gloves when working with epoxy. Latex painting gloves are a safe bet, oven mitts and boxing gloves are tricky to work with and should be a distant second choice over the latex gloves. It is not common, but some people have a terrible allergy to latex. An alternative are nitrile gloves which are used by dairy farmers when they are milking cows. You can't miss them as they are blue or white in colour.
e. When the epoxy is still wet, you can shape it if your fingers are wet. The epoxy will not stick to wet fingers. Don't lick your fingers. Set up a damp sponge and moisten your fingers from the sponge. Remember, epoxy is toxic, so make sure you are wearing gloves when working with it.
f. If you want to get fancy you can apply a coating of epoxy before you add the eyes. Once the first coat has dried, and the eyes have been applied, you can then give the fly a second coating of epoxy. It sure makes the finished fly "look real pretty." I have never bothered to do this.
g. If you are getting bubbles in your epoxy finish, you can heat the epoxy before you apply it. I have never given bubbles in an epoxy finish a second thought, and I doubt that the fish have. Some brands of epoxy are flammable. In other words, they have the potential to go, "POOF!" Check the packaging before you even think about heating up an epoxy. Think "napalm."
h. If you are gong to start mucking about with epoxy, purchase one of those drying wheels. You can make your own with an old rotary spit motor from a barbecue, but it's hardly worth the bother. If you don't want to pick up an epoxy drying wheel, you can do this: Coat the fly in epoxy and stick it info a chunk of Styrofoam. About two minutes after you have applied the epoxy, flip the Styrofoam upside down. The epoxy sets in 2 minutes, so this should avoid any dripping or sagging in the epoxy finish. When you flip the Styrofoam, place it on the edges of two books to prevent the fly from sticking to the table top.
i. When mixing up a batch of epoxy, a little will go a long way. Remember it sets in 5 minutes.
j. Try to mix epoxy on a non-porous surface, like aluminum foil. If you use cardboard or paper, they will absorb some of the liquid in the epoxy and it will set up very, very quickly.
k. Keep a bunch of toothpicks handy when working with epoxy. If you are lucky, you will get three flies out of one toothpick when applying epoxy as the stuff is sticky.
l. You can add colouring to epoxy. I've never bothered to do this. Just change the body colour of the fly and be done with it.
m. Glitter can be added to epoxy. Glitter sure looks fancy on saltwater flies. You can pick up glitter at any craft shop. I have never mixed glitter into the epoxy finish on a Megan's Minnow. Some folk I know do add the glitter to the epoxy mix, but since I started using the pearl Diamond Braid I can't see the point in it. Years ago, I did add glitter to the epoxy when I was using white wool for the body of the fly. Now, adding glitter is just one more tying step I can do without.

If you want to use any of this information I encourage you to do so, but please ask first.

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The image above shows the final step of tying the Megan's Epoxy Minnow. To find out how to tie this pattern, click this link: Megan's Minnow.