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Rubbish Flies

Updated: Mar 22

Never heard of these?

They're my speciality I have to say. It's not that they don't work, though that's entirely possible - I won't know until I try them - it's just that I'm a Rubbish Fly tier. I demonstrated this once again last night at the Chequers pub in Lamberhurst where Keith led yet another very enjoyable Fly-Tying evening. He demonstrated some brilliantly proficient fly tying, along with two other experts, and two who are a bit newer to the art, ....... and me.

The point about fly tying evenings, is that you don't have to be a good fly tier, or even a half-decent one; you can be a Rubbish Fly tier but still have a very pleasant evening there. It's particularly useful for members who are fairly new to the river, or relatively new to fly-fishing, as there's no question that's too daft to ask, and plenty of willing answers. It's also good for those who are pretty good at this stuff, as they can still learn a lot from each other, and not just about fly tying. After all, when else do you get a couple of hours to sit down and chat to other members without the distraction of trying to catch a fish? The fish and chips and the beer are all excellent too.

Here are the Rubbish Flies I was talking about, and then a few words about Stick Flies.

Now, one of the topics of discussion last night was about how to Stick Flies, or to be more accurate, how to use UV glue to coat some of the flies, such as Perdigon patterns. Keith had some glue and the nifty UV torch which causes the glue to set very quickly. I had also invested in some UV glue and a UV torch, but the batteries had gone, so I couldn't use it, and when I got home, I did a test to make the torch worked, and it didn't - the glue didn't set. Keith had pointed out that it was important to buy glue and a torch that are compatible, as some torches didn't work on some glues. This got me delving into eBay and other sites to try and establish how you could be sure of compatibility. Keith dug up an academic paper on all this which is interesting , without giving a definitive answer :

What that did bring to light (apologies) was that the wavelength of the UV light was important, and somewhere between 365 NM and 400 NM seems to be the range for those torches or glues that actually give you a specification, though sadly most adverts don't supply those details. It seems that 365 NM is considered the optimum wavelength, but many products use 395 NM instead. I think I have also understood that whilst the longer wavelength torch (395) is not so well-tuned to the UV component in the glues, it seems to work more quickly in setting the glue.

So what does it all mean for buying UV glues and torches? Well my conclusion is that the safest bet is to buy a branded UV glue and a UV torch that states explicitly that it is compatible with that brand of glue. Keith uses Betfor gllue and a Veniard UV torch that says it works on Betfor and Bug-Bond UV glues, and both the glue and torch are very reasonably priced. As for my own torch and glue, I am wondering if I just need to apply the torch much longer, and perhaps apply only a very thin coat of glue. Of course they might just be rubbish glue and a rubbish torch, in which case they're probably quite compatible with my flies.

Plenty of time to try some fly-tying now, with or without UV glue, as the Coarse (Grayling) season ended today, with a bit of a whimper, given the river level. Don't forget that the new Trout season starts on April 3rd, and let's all pray for some decent weather then.

Meanwhile, I'm sure there are members out there who actually understand this stuff, and have a lot more experience, so please share your comments here, as I've probably got a lot of this wrong.



P. S. I did try my UV glue again later, and found that if I illuminated the glue for much longer (about 30 seconds instead of 10), it did actually set, so maybe they are compatible after all. The flies are still Rubbish of course.

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