Latex Bodies
By Mick Porter, UK

Following a thread made a couple of weeks ago, [on the Bulletin Board] I have been determined to find a good way of making detached bodies for flies.

I experimented using PVA adhesive, spread out and allowed to dry then rolled up, with varying degrees of success.

I have now found that a product in the UK called 'Copydex' which is a latex based adhesive, designed to stick material and fabrics works really really well.

The adhesive looks like PVA and is white, but dries a pale yellow translucent colour. It smells a bit of ammonia, but that soon disappears, and the resulting bodies have no discernable odour.

I have played around with all sorts of experiments. The best method is to brush it out onto a piece of glass or glossy card. Use several brush strokes. This makes the wet adhesive take on sort of furrows, lines or thick blobs and some more thinly spread. This is what you want. At this stage lay your tail material onto the wet adhesive, near to the front edge but not too close. It doesn't matter if they bunch or are separated we are going to roll it up later.

Allow the adhesive to dry. This takes a couple of hours. When dry it will have taken the translucent effect. Your tails will be well stuck down. It somehow still remains tacky which is the difference between this and PVA which is much dryer. Using your two fingers, just rub the latex from the near edge and you will find it peels from the glass and rolls up really easy. With practice you can make your bodies tapered. Voila you have a really lifelike insect body complete with tails. The furrows caused where the glue was thicker now makes the body segmentations and they look really good. Make the bodies longer than you think, and this gives a good long area for tying in on the hook. They are really soft so tie in well without adding bulk.

I have experimented with dubbing to attempt to find a way to make hairy bodies, or caddis lava type cases, with varying degrees or success. Because we are rolling them inside out sprinkling dubbing onto the wet glue does not work although it does make some nice lines and veins inside the finished body. I tried rolling the finished body in fine dubbing and because it is still a bit tacky some does stick but I don't think it would last long in water.

You can colour the bodies with felt tips [markers]. Avoid the spirit based ones. If the pen makes you happy when you sniff it! Avoid them, cause they melt the latex. I use permanent fabric markers in browns and olives, they work real good. I also tried marking the unrolled latex with lines and patterns, then rolling that up. This made some really interesting patterns.

This is not a new idea, Dick Walker tied flies with these bodies years ago, but the adhesive then was not so waterproof. Now the adhesive is fully waterproof. The bodies appear to be fairly indestructible, and are really lifelike. I would just like to find a way of making them hairy. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know. also makes great legs, just spread it thinner and roll them longer! ~ Mick

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