UV Light – The Wave of the Future?




The purpose of this article is to focus on a new exciting frontier of products and offer you some tips to help you tie better flies.


In recent years we have seen a growing interest in light curing adhesives – acrylic resins that harden in just seconds when exposed to the beam from a UV or Blue light flashlight.  The new acrylics are easy to work with and offer some tremendous advantages to the fly tyer.


UV light activated adhesives were originally designed for the dental industry in the 1960’s.   Since that time many varieties of UV and Blue light activated adhesives have been designed for medical uses.  While Blue light activated adhesives have all but replaced UV acrylic adhesives for dental and medical use – UV activated adhesives are still popular for several other industrial uses.  In the 1980’s some innovative fly tyers started using them as a substitute for epoxy.   Since that time their popularity among fly tyers has grown and the UV adhesives available to the fly tyer have greatly improved.


  1. Unlike some adhesives, UV light curing adhesives require no mixing whatsoever.  As a result there is absolutely no waste and little if any clean up at the tying desk.
  2. If some material were to spill onto your fly tying desk clean up is easy – just use a cloth with soap & water.
  3. The viscosity of UV adhesives remains the same throughout the fly tying sequence unlike other adhesives which can thin under the heat of a fly tying light, or become too thick and unmanageable.
  4. Unlike any other adhesive you determine the working time!  There is no need to rush – simply zap the adhesive with the light from a UV flashlight when you are ready for the material to cure.
  5. After opening many adhesives dry inside the bottle or at the dispensing tip of the bottle.  Not only is this inconvenient but it is a waste of material.  UV adhesives do not cure in the bottle and many bottles have replaceable tips that can be easily removed in the event that any material cakes in the tip.
  6. Many epoxies and glues put off a distinctive odor.  UV adhesives produce little odor with no harmful effects.
  7. Most adhesives are designed for a specific use but UV adhesives are versatile.  The uses and tips that follow will give you some ideas of how to use these new materials on your fly tying bench.



Many saltwater fly tyers have commented that UV light curing adhesives have revolutionized their fly tying – virtually eliminating the need for them to use more than one adhesive on their fly patterns.    For instance, fly tyers tying saltwater baitfish patterns often use one type of adhesive for attaching eyes, another to penetrate a thread head, and then a third adhesive (epoxy) to coat the exterior of the fly.  All of these adhesives have their own handling characteristics and drying time.  Epoxy flies usually require rotation of some type to keep the adhesive from sagging while drying.  UV light adhesives completely eliminate the need to use multiple epoxies and an apparatus for rotating the fly for a length of time.  Simply apply the adhesive, blast it with the beam from the flashlight for a few seconds and it is done.  The end result is faster fly tying, less mess, and greater productivity at the vise.

Below are some uses and tips for using UV adhesives with saltwater flies:


21Now that you are aware of the advantages and versatility of UV adhesives it is important to know that not all of them are created equal – more specifically each of them has their own unique characteristics.  After tying with several products Bug-Bond™ has become our favorite.

Bug Bond™ is a clear liquid adhesive which sets when exposed to UV light.  It comes as one liquid, requires no mixing, and is odorless.  The viscosity is similar to epoxy and it is an excellent replacement for epoxy.  Unlike some other UV adhesives, Bug-Bond™ dries smooth and dry—with little film or tackiness.

Bug-Bond™ is available in two viscosities:  Bug-Bond™ Lite is ideal for use on trout flies and anywhere a thin, penetrating adhesive is an advantage.  Bug-Bond ™ Original is an all-purpose adhesive that is perfect for streamers, bass, and saltwater flies.  With both adhesives the special Bug-Bond™ tip kit is helpful for dispensing the liquid accurately on the fly.


We believe that in the next few years tyers will find hundreds of uses for these materials.  If you haven’t tried them you are in for a pleasant surprise that might just change the way you tie flies.