Soak, squeeze, smear and shake
Don Stazicker tests 39 fly floatants and dryers – and recommends when and how to use them
Don Stazicker tests 39 floatants
FEW THINGS IN fly-fishing are more irritating than a dry-fly that sinks. Faced with a sinking fly we reach for our floatant, but with more than 100 different products available, what should we use? Water-repellant floatants work by using surface tension. This is formed by the attraction of water molecules to each other, resulting in a surface that acts like an elastic membrane and is capable of supporting our flies.however, if the fly penetrates the water surface, it will sink. Water soaking into a fly will increase its weight and also cause it to sink. Floatants waterproof flies. They also make the materials hydrophobic, so they repel water. This increases support from surface tension, causing the fly to float higher. The greater the area of the fly in contact with the surface the more weight that can be supported by surface tension. This is why using more turns of hackle or the fluffy microstructure of CDC feathers makes flies that float well. The materials of the fly must be in contact with the surface film. Any material, such as a parachute wing, that is above and out of contact with the surface merely acts to push the fly lower into the water and cannot contribute to floatation.