Head cement or not

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by Daryle Holmstrom, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. I usually just do one 3 wrap whip and then a 5 wrap whip. Don't think the fish notice it and if I don't think the fly will catch fish one slice and start over. Years ago applied cement with toothpick in eye etc, run a feather through while still wet.
  2. I juice them all. Multiple applications most of the time, cut really thin to penetrate the treads. I use a lot of Fl. colors of thread and they shine up really well (99% of what I tie is for Anadromous fish of one kind or another).

    I think (especially for a spastic caster such as myself) it can add life to a fly that gets chucked all day. I'm big on durability and head cement is a part of it. Brass wire (for counter wrapping speys, for ostrich/peacock bodies) is my other "secret."
  3. tyers preference

    i mostly use grifs thin to penerate followed by black duck traditional head cement

    any of the uv resins are also good depending on the size of the fly and how much room you left for the thread head.
  4. Some materials (like squirrel in chum babies) you really have to cement if you want them to stay on the fly.
  5. I think it depends on the fly's intended use. When I learned to tie, my teacher said to not bother on trout flies as you lose them often and it was just an added step. I'm not sure I agree today. I always put something on the head like Sally's Hard as Nails, real head cement, knotsense, soft tex, epoxy, etc. Almost all of my salt water flies get epoxy because they are big flies, intended for big fish. Epoxy allows for more casts and durability, lasts longer on multiple hook-ups with big fish, and it adds just enough weight to allow the flies to sink a bit.
  6. I think whip finishing is key. But nothing is more annoying than having the fly start to unravel, so I generally do add head cement as a second measure. As far as the total time it takes to apply and cost, I think it's worth it in the overall comparison of materials and time spent tying and what it offers in return. Also, a really round (not flat) or heavy/thick thread, the more likely. I find the rounder the thread the more likely it seems to be to come undone. I might skip it on 8/0, but usually with 6/0, and anything heavier I absolutely lock it down. As others have said, salt and big or toothy fish, really is a good idea--but something even stronger than head cement--epoxy or softex, etc.
  7. Dan Delekta uses super glue and no whip finish. He sells a lot of flies, out of his shop, and doesn't seem to have trouble
    stilly stalker likes this.
  8. I always use head cement, a whip finish (or half hitches) are a must but I've had them come undone in the field with out cement. Super glue on all saltwater flies, especially clousers.
  9. I messed up on my post, it should have been trout flies. For salt, salmon, clousers etc. I use some head protection, Sorry, My Bad
  10. I long ago stopped using head cement on my trout flies; the likelihood of failure of a properly performed whip finish of three to five turns is vanishingly small. Just to be inconsistent however, I always give my steelhead flies a couple of coats of nail lacquer, not from concern for durability but just because I like the appearance of a nice, shiny head on a steelhead fly. My saltwater flies , especially those with eyes, usually receive several coats of Softex.
  11. For trout flies the key is to form a nice small symmetrical head and apply two whip finishes behind the eye of the hook. The knots will outlast the fly after a day of use. I have watched three very well known commercial tiers and they all don't use cement on their own personal use flies.

    If you still feel the need then just touch a bead to your thread and run it about an inch down and then complete your whip finish. This will prevent any excess from clogging the hook eye or hackle fibers.
    Mark Mercer likes this.
  12. This is an excellent idea.
  13. I always do
    even on extremely small flies where I coat the thread before I whip finish them

    Then again I come from the if a little is good 3 more coats is better school of tying
    I use hard as nails and cut the brush down to about 15 brisels

    sometimes I do a 3 turn whip finish
    then coat with head cement
    then a 5 turn whip finish while cement is still wet
    then super glue it
    let that dry
    then epoxy it
    let that dry
    and then coat with head cement
    If there is still room I will coat it all with Gorilla Glue
    let that dry
    then finish it all off with a coat of nail polish

    My heads never come undone.
    I do sometimes have trouble threading the fly on to a leader

    I am always amazed how many fish will hit fur and feathers encased in a chuck of super glue on a hook
    Jack Devlin and yuhina like this.
  14. Funny RMAOCB
  15. I never use head cement UNLESS the pattern calls for a shiny head such as some streamer patterns. A 5 turn whip finish is what I use.
  16. I will sometimes place clear nail polish on the thread as I whip finish it. That way the polish doesn't interfere with my materials. Knots still fail after a few fish so polish it up. Now with that, I am also sometimes downright lazy.
  17. for trout flies
    dry flies and emergers 14 or smaller - no
    larger - sometimes
    nymphs, soft hackles, etc.16 or smaller - no
    larger - most of the time
    streamers - yes
  18. Fly-Tite head glue is my favorite. It does not have the strong chemical smells, its economical and can be thinned with denatured alcohol. $4 -$5 for 2 oz. Always us it when tying with deer & elk.
  19. Haven't used head cement in years. I use Pearsalls silk to tye most of my flies and wax the silk. A three turn whip finish with well waxed thread and the head won't come apart, at least in my experience.
  20. sometimes. I use a coat of loctite followed by Sally's on steelhead flies. I might use it on bigger trout flies, but not on smaller ones. I use it on the post of parachutes because I tie them off on the post after watching Leroy Hyatt tie them that way.

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