Bitter Blank Recipes? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Bitter Blank Recipes?

Geordie Shanks
01-05-2005, 03:34 PM
Hello- I have been tying up some bonefish bitters for a trip to the Bahamas in a few weeks, and am having a hell of a time getting some of the colors right on the bitters blanks. I have been using five minute epoxy mixed with various mixtures of food coloring. It works great, but I can't seem to get two colors right- a light amber and a light brown. Several times I thought I had the right shade of brown, but then it changed to dark green as the epoxy hardened as oxidized. As you can tell, I'm a tad anal about the quality of the ties. Anyone have any recipes for the right mixture to get these colors, or possibly another method of coloring the epoxy? Enjoy the site and appreciate the help. By the way Striblue, the archived fly patterns have been killer- I've pimped out a few of them. Thanks for the great ties and instructions.

01-25-2005, 07:15 AM
I have been making some blanks as well for a trip to Crooked Island in the Bahamas in March.

I purchased some "Dry Pigment" from a craft/art supply store. The color is Mars Orange. It is like a powder. When I mixed it with my epoxy I may have overdone it and got a little too much pigment in the mixture. It goes on like mud, i. e., it is not clear like a lot of pictures you see of these flies. However, the color is right on. It dries to a very nice hard finish but is a solid color. There is no see through to the bead chain eyes.

I might try food color however. A lot of this is simply trial and error.

I read one post one time where someone mixed their epoxy on a sheet of paper where a prisma color pen had been applied to the paper. The epoxy picked up the color for which that poster was well pleased. Might be another way of doing it.

By the way, in what sequence are you tying on the sili legs, Z-lon and deer hair?

Geordie Shanks
01-25-2005, 03:05 PM
Excellent idea about the prisma color pen- I'm going to try that. I burned through about 30 or so different blanks, and was able to nail things down a little bit with the food color. Finally figured out that the trick is to use a very, very, very small amount. For the amber, I used about a quarter of a drop of orange. Came out very nicely. I used the mixing cups that are used for rod making and only did six flies at a time. By the time you get the five minute epoxy on the eyes and get the fly on the turner, doing more than six or seven is not feasible before the cement hardens up.

If anyone needs "recipes" for the mixtures to achieve the various colors, feel free to email me or post a request and I'll be happy to give you what my experimentation discovered. I probably made blanks in about eight different colors, all of which should be killer

I tied the legs in first (tie the back pair facing rearwards) followed by the Z-lon then deer hair. I also experimented with Angel Hair instead of Z-lon and was very happy with the results.

Thanks for the reply jacksonholeguide- I own a drift boat and that Moran Junction to Deadman's float of the Snake is one of my favorite floats to do in the early Fall.

nevada caster
01-29-2005, 05:09 PM
I've been using fabric paint, or dimensional point for my bitters. You get a wide variety of colors for $0.79 to $1.00 a bottle. I prefer it over epoxy for anumber of reasons, one being that the fly is much lighter in weight and doesn't make as much noise when it strikes the water.

01-29-2005, 09:37 PM
Am I correct that fabric paint is opaque when dry?

nevada caster
01-30-2005, 10:25 AM
Yes for the most part. There are some that are somewhat translucent, like pearl but the darker colors are opaque. They are usuallly shiny.
The main thing that Inoticed about bitters made with them is that they did not scare the bones like most of my gotchas. Maybe it was the design, but I think the weight had something to do with it.
There is a product catering to fly fishermen called E-Z Shape sparkle body. They have a few colors that you cannot get in most fabric shops, but the charge three to 4 times as much. I like their Shrimp, Sand and Pearl for making gotchas and bitters