Soak, squeeze, smear and shake

Don Staz­icker tests 39 fly floatants and dry­ers – and rec­om­mends when and how to use them

Trout & Salmon (UK) - - Contents -

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 our­ever, 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.

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