Glossy, durable, flexible and perfect for fly tying. In Pattex 100% Platon Trakoshis believes he has found the ultimate fly tying glue for building baitfish heads

Glue. It’s always such a big question and discussion with fly tiers. “What did you glue the eyes on with? How did you make that head? What are you coating your poppers with?

There are many types of glues that have different attributes and some of the most popular for a solid finish are epoxy type glues which are great and have their uses. Some will make you high and others have downfalls. Epoxy for me is frustrating in the way that you mix up a batch and it often dries too soon and leaves you with half finished processes, so you have to mix up more. Another downside is that it dries hard and does crack, especially if like me your backcast gets lazy and your fly smacks the bricks sometimes, game over for that fly.

UV cured glues came in a while ago which are magic, but the tacky finish of earlier brands was terrible so epoxy still ruled. But newer UV glues have a much better finish and can work for certain applications and I do like the fact that they dry with a shot of a UV torch. It usually is a bit pricey and even the flex versions just don’t quite crack it for a full solid finish.

glue for fly tying

With Pattex 100%, it’s usually “How did you get that finish?”. It has the capacity for an extremely glossy finish as you can see from the flies in this post. But there is more too it than that. The fact that it is flexible, very strong and has a rubbery texture is a game changer for me. It’s fantastic for glueing on eyes and they stay there. Probably the biggest downside is that it does take some time to dry, making it tricky to work with and a turning drying wheel is essential for the best results.

It’s a Henkel product that hit the market in 2012 and there are some new versions that have come out recently that need to be tested. It’s solvent free being another bonus.

Henkie Altena flies with Pattex 100% heads.

I was first introduced to Pattex and intrigued by it’s rubbery texture on a fly fishing trip at Karoolskraal on the Breede River estuary hosted by an exceptional tier, Henkie Altena. In between session we ended up at Henkie’s tying table. He showed Warwick Lesley and me his impressive flies incorporating Pattex 100%. They looked good and the rubbery texture was brilliant, it felt like you could chew it like a wine gum. He gave us a demo soaking it into his AGHA fly but I wasn’t sure about the drying time and how it would run. Knowing me, this would end up all over the place and make a complete mess, something I used to struggle with silicone as well.

The AGHA floating prawn fly with the tail built with Pattex 100% that has accounted for many Grunter.

I thought I’d buy a bottle to try it out. At first, it seemed hard to find. My local hardware stores didn’t seem to sell it. Then Warrick found a shop that stocked it and bought a few bottles for some of the Whip It Wednesday crew to try out. I wasn’t sure what I would use if for, trying to get around the drying time as it was a bit too viscous. But I squirted out a blob onto a plastic sheet to see what its texture would be when dry.

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I peeled it off the plastic sheet and it had formed a flattish disk of clear rubberised plastic, flexible but held some shape and it was pretty tough. I remember taking the dried piece along with me on a salt water fishing trip and showing it to the guys I was with, seasoned salty dogs, pioneers of some local saltwater fly patterns and who knew their shit. There was a lot of interest and one of the stronger guys managed to tear it in half. It’s not indestructible that’s for sure but it has some great applications in fly tying for finish and shape and makes flies really durable.

Translucency in Jimmy Eaglton’s mastery.

Another exceptional tier, Jimmy Eagleton of Retro Fly Studio, was also introduced to Pattex 100% by Henkie. Jimmy’s work with silicone is astounding and his flies are perfection, check out his work @retroflystudio. But on the Pattex 100% front he started fiddling around with it and has been creating amazing hollow, translucent flies for finicky yellowtail and other saltwater species. The rubbery finish working perfectly for the hollow heads he is making and I look forward to seeing more of his innovations.

The interior hollow head of Jimmy’s flies helping with the translucent effect.

 

Another productive fly from Jimmy. Note the fly holders in the background that Jimmy makes and sells through Retro Fly Studio.

 

Jimmy’s killer silicone only pattern.

Glueing on eyes and soaking Pattex 100% into fibres and creating heads is one application. Ruper Harvey, a next level professional tier of Rupert Harvey Flies creates amazing poppers, crease and foam headed flies that have a beautiful finish. Flies for big fish.

Rupert is a guru when it comes to foam and fly tying glue coatings. He transfers foils onto the foam and then coats them in Pattex at times. He also likes Gorilla Glue Crystal Clear which he told me finishes harder than Pattex. Pattex 100% has been rebranded in Europe as Loctite Extreme Glue. Check out Ru’s incredible flies at @rupertharveyflies.

The above are examples of Rupert’s fine work.

This in turn inspired Warwick Lesley, a founder and host of Whip it Wednesday, who has invested in a Copic sprayer. Warwick started spraying popper heads in an OCD way and creating different patterns with stencils and gauzes with his sprayer.  He then coats the heads in Pattex 100% which makes the paint pop, bringing out the colours and giving the heads a glossy sheen and protective coat.

fly tying glue

A selection of Warwick’s sprayed popper heads above.

This solved my usual problem of coated popper heads from cracking after some use. I don’t have a Copic sprayer yet but I like to use markers, spray glitter or coat heads in metallic nail varnish and then seal them in some way. The limited life of this has always been problematic but using Pattex 100% has solved this. It also makes the finish just so much better to my eye and brings out the sparkle and flash. Below are some freshwater poppers and sliders demonstrating this.

Andre Van Wyk, who’s been obsessed with tying streamers, was also gifted a Copic sprayer and took things to the next level. He has been busy creating heads out of silicone, like silicone mullets and others with hollow heads using different methods. He then sprays the silicone with the Copic sprayer and then coats this with Pattex 100%. I think this was coaxed by some inspiration from Rupert Harvey. The results are stunning and the glossy finish of the Pattex just lifts the heads to another level. Check out Andre’s flies below and at @Nepttuna.

 

I loved what Andre was doing and as much as I like silicone, the finish is often cloudy. So I started playing with Pattex 100 to try imitate a mosquito fish that popped up on the list of baitfish for an upcoming trip to the Orange River. There are loads in my local river too. I’ve always wondered how to get that translucent look they have as so many small minnows do but with a rubbery feel so that the fish hang onto them. Below is what I came up with.

I liked the way the Myler worked in the Mosquito fish pattern. The most common colour combination for flies for the Orange River from various sources was black and gold I was told. It gave me the idea to create a silicone head over Mylar tubing that makes the Mylar tough but at the same time hollow and squidgy. This also sometimes creates a translucent head that is so common in baitfish. The texture of these flies I am pretty sure will make fish hold onto the fly longer.

The new Pattex products, similar to Pattex 100%, I’m pretty sure will inspire some great ideas from innovative fly tiers. I look forward to seeing the results.