Whether you’re new to tying your own flies for fly fishing or you’re an expert, UV resin is a handy material to have in your fly tying kit. It’s a great alternative to epoxy, as it gives you more time to add the finishing touches. While epoxy dries very quickly, when you use UV cure resins, you have more flexibility.
UV resins are also less toxic than epoxy, making them better for you and the environment when you’re fly fishing. You won’t get any of that heat building up like you get with epoxy, either!
UV resin is perfect for finishing off your fly patterns, no matter what type of flies you’re creating. It’s suitable for all sorts of flies from saltwater flies to trout flies and more.
One of the great advantages of using resins is that you can work with it for as long as you need to until you get the ideal result. Then, you can cure it quickly and efficiently under UV lights for the finished product!
What to Look For When Buying
When you’re choosing a new UV cure resin, there are a few things to look for. Firstly, you’ll want a resin that is durable and won’t crack easily. It should be able to withstand attacks from aggressive fish, too!
The tackiness of the resin is another essential factor, along with a clear finish when it sets. The speed of setting is also critical – you don’t want it to set when in use, but you do want it to cure quickly under your UV light.
You’ll also find that there are different types of resins available, from very thin ones to thicker varieties. What you like will depend on the type of flies you want to tie and how quickly you like to work.
With those factors in mind, let’s take a look at some of the top resins and UV lights on the market right now!
The Best UV Cure Resins
Loon Outdoors Clear Finish
Loon makes some of the best resin products around right now, so this brand is popular among fly fishers. This resin gives a clear finish while allowing you to work for as long as you like!
You can buy Loon resin in either a thin or thick formula, depending on what you like to work with. The consistency is perfect when working on all sorts of flies for fly fishing.
You can add detailing such as wing cases to smaller flies or give some bulk to bigger fly patterns. It’s versatile and easy to use for any sort of fly you might use when fishing on the river, lake, or saltwater flats!
- One of the best resins around
- Cures quickly
- Includes a brush applicator for easy use
- Suitable for all sorts of fly patterns
- Quite expensive
- Can feel tacky
SOLAREZ Medium Formula
SOLAREZ was one of the first companies to make UV resin, and its products are well-respected. This bottle has a medium consistency, which is ideal if you’re not sure whether to go for thick or thin resin. It’s a great starter bottle and the most versatile type of resin.
You’ll be pleased to hear that the SOLAREZ resin dries tack-free, so it won’t get stuck to feathers, marabou, or other materials. It also doesn’t have a strong smell and should dry clear, with no yellowing.
This resin is easy to cure – just put it in direct sunlight for a few minutes. You can also cure it using a UV light in seconds. Then, you’ll have a new fly ready for your next fishing trip!
- Ideal for coating fly bodies
- Tack free formula
- Dries quickly
- Not the cheapest product
SOLAREZ Thin Hard Formula
Another of the excellent resin products from SOLAREZ is its Thin Hard formula. As the name suggests, it has a very thin, runny consistency that dries into a neat, transparent layer.
This resin is best suited to applying a thin layer to coat bodies of small flies or adding details like eyes. It’s also useful for finishing off thread wraps so that they don’t unravel.
- Excellent for adding details to small flies
- No strong odors
- Clear finish with no yellowing
- Tack free result
- Not one of the best products for adding bulk to flies – too runny
The Best UV Lights on the Market
Once you’ve got your resin, you’ll also need a UV light to cure it. Here are the best options for fly tying!
Loon Outdoors Nano
The Nano light is compact and lightweight, making it ideal if you’re fly tying on the go. You can take it down to the river for the day or use it at home – the small size gives it great versatility! It’s just the right size to pop in your pocket.
This light is powerful enough to harden the resin on your new flies in seconds. It only needs one AAA battery that should last a long time, so you won’t need to replace the battery frequently. Plus, it cures resin very quickly and will eliminate any tackiness, which can be annoying when fishing.
- Small and lightweight, so you can take it in your fishing pack
- Cures resin very quickly
- Includes a lanyard to keep it handy
- Not rechargeable
- No on/off button – you have to twist it to turn the light on
Another excellent new product from Loon, the Infiniti UV light has the benefit of being rechargeable. This feature is handy when you’re fly tying on the go and will save you some money on batteries. The battery lasts a long time before you need to charge in, and then you just need to plug it in with the included USB cable to charge it up.
At around 5 inches long, the Infiniti Light is a good size for fly tying. It’s small and lightweight, yet it feels nice in your hand. The texturing around the torch lets you get a firm grip, so it shouldn’t slip when in use.
It also cures resin incredibly fast, even speedier than the Loon Mini light. That’s due to the powerful 10-Watt output, which means that your flies will be ready in seconds. Admittedly, it’s not the cheapest light on the market – but it’s reliable and effective.
- Compact, portable size
- Speedy curing process
- Rechargeable (save money on batteries)
- Overpriced for what you get
- Charging cable is short – you might want to replace it
The Mastiff light comes in cheaper than the Loon Infiniti, but it isn’t as powerful with just 3 Watts. But that doesn’t mean that this light isn’t suitable for curing resin – it still gets the job done.
It might just take slightly longer to get the desired result – around 20 seconds, on average. So as you can see, the difference between the Mastiff and the Loon model isn’t huge.
When it comes to durability, the Mastiff torch won’t let you down. It has a sturdy case that will protect it from bumps and scratches, so it should last you for years of fly tying sessions!
You turn it on with a simple on/off switch, making it much easier to operate than models that you need to twist. However, the button isn’t the most responsive, so you’ll need to push firmly to switch it on.
If you’re looking for an affordable, durable UV light, the Mastiff torch fits the bill!
- Not too expensive
- Hard-wearing and durable
- Takes longer to harden the resin
- Not rechargeable
- Lower in power than other models
How to Use Resins
UV cure resins are easy to use for fly tying, creating neat, precise flies that are ideal for fly fishing! You can use resins directly from the bottle, which should have a long, fine tip for easy application. Just squeeze out a little and shape it until you get the result you like!
Next, take your UV light and shine it directly on the resin. It should start to cure instantly, and within seconds you’ll have your new fly. Then, it’s time to head out for some fly fishing!
What is the best UV light for fly tying?
Loon is a well-respected company that makes some of the best UV lights for fly tying. Check out our full reviews above!
Does UV resin smell?
Yes, resin does smell – there’s not a lot you can do about that! When using it, make sure you’re in a well-ventilated room.
What is UV curing resin?
UV curing resin is an excellent alternative to using epoxy for fly tying. As it’s easy to manipulate, you can use this type of resin to add details or bulk to your fly patterns, and it won’t harden when in use. The resin remains malleable until you put it under a UV light, which then cures and hardens it.
The Wrap Up
So there you have our complete guide to UV resin and lights. We’ve reviewed the top products on the market for fly tying for you. Why not buy yourself some resin and a UV lamp, and have a go at fly tying with this technique yourself? I guarantee that it will streamline your fly tying process! Drop us a comment to let us know how you get on!