This tip was e-mailed to me in reply to an article "Thinking Outside
the Square Box." It is a different way of considering floatant on
dry flies. There are other articles in the Tying Tip Archives, on
this topic, but this one strikes me as an example of some radical
thinking. ~ Steven McGarthwaite
There are flies for fast water that are large and bushy designed
to ride on top of the surface film and "no hackle" dry flies
designed for much calmer waters. Suspended in the surface film,
through hackled and foam patterns where the majority of the fly
body is suspended under the water.
Each of these styles (there are many in between), pose problems
for the tier. There is a balancing act between the abilities
of each to float and proportioning the fly properly. How
often has it been that a dry fly that works, is too pared
down to float consistently after several runs through a pool,
or in removing the slime after catching a fish, the fly sinks.
Changing to a heavier hackled pattern the fish will not bite.
How often have you dried a fly of fish slime, added more
floatant and the fly still sinks?
Fortunately technological breakthroughs have occurred and you
can now purchase floatants that when applied will make you fly
float virtually indefinitely. The only problem with these
floatants is that they must be applied at least 24 hours before
one goes fishing, and these products when applied to the whole
fly, create a fly that floats on the surface film. A fly that
loats on the surface film is, in my mind, a fly that has few
I propose several uses for this floatant, that will allow you to
use this product advantageously, so that you can "custom dry"
your dry flies according to the conditions on a lake or stream.
Allowing you more versatility in you fly design, confidently
knowing that they will float as you want them to.
To create dry flies, using the methods I propose, you must first
choose the hackle you wish to use. Sizing it and placing in in
rows (14's, 16's, 18's, ect). Then apply your floatant to the
hackle. Once you have done this, your hackle (including the
stem of the hackle) is virtually impervious to water. At this
point you walk away, leaving the treated hackle for several days
so that it can dry thoroughly. For large fast water flies, I
like to repeat this process giving each hackle two coats to
ensure maximum floatability of the hackle.
I do this because having treated the hackle in this way, I have
confidence that an adequately hackled fly will float, and then
I can create a body for the fly that can be designed to float
on, in or below the surface film. You can then judiciously
apply floatant to the body of the fly, or not. If designed
properly your fly will perform as it should. This method
works particularly well with parachute flies, and emerger
I can only point you in the right direction with this, as
experimentation is the life blood of our sport. Each of us
have our own ideas of how the flies we create should appear
to fish below the surface of the water. I can find no
disadvantages in using this method.
~ Nicholas Gaitt (aka: B. C. Nick)
Please check out the Fly Tying Section, in the Bulletin Board, on FAOL.
If you have any questions, tips, or techniques; send them along.
Most of this material someone else thought of it before we did,
they just forgot to tell anyone about it. Or else we just forgot
about it, while learning something else. Let us share with
each other, all the things we know! ~ Steven H.
McGarthwaite email@example.com (Chat Room AKA Parnelli)