WEB BONUS: More on Flotants

WEB BONUS: More on Flotants

Darrel Martin offers more on fly flotants in this Fly Rod & Reel Web exclusive.

The following are a few popular fly flotants on the market today, with comments by author Darrel Martin.

Cortland Dab
For decades, Cortland's Dab has hung from my vest. It is excellent for the troubled, rough waters of Western rivers. Use sparingly for best results: over application will mat the hackle, wings and tails. The bright orange Dab container attaches to the vest with a bead chain. In hot weather, make certain that the wide lid closes securely to prevent a waterproof "patch" on your vest. For safety and convenience, I have sometimes stored Dab in a tight, leather slip-case that secures the lid shut. Like other thick, adhesive silicones, Cortland's Dab is everlasting: it cannot be removed. When all else fails on churning waters, a very little Dab might do you. SRP $3.95
Cortland Line Company
PO Box 5588, Kellogg Road
Cortland, NY 13045-5588
[email protected]

Frog's Fanny, Footloose Productions
This fine, fume silicate powder is especially appropriate for stillwater and CDC patterns. With the cap brush, paint some Frog's Fanny powder on nymphs to create emerger bubbles. Jerry Yates, owner and operator, notes that "the brush is an important part of Frog's Fanny. "In fact we have found that it is so important to use the brush that we patent not only the powder but also the brush application process." Other manufacturers suggest shaking the fly in the container, "but they fail to recognize that this provides only a superficial coating that is lost in the first cast. If the angler works the powder down into the fibers of the fly, the powder works much longer…" The label reminds anglers to use the brush to penetrate deep into the hackle or fibers for best results. Use Frog's Fanny as a desiccant on sodden or slimed patterns. Even a light wind will waft this fine powder. SRP $13.95
Footeloose Products
PO Box 124
Oxford, OH 45056
[email protected]

Gehrke's Gink Dry Fly Dressing

Gink, a popular medium viscosity floatant that has been around for nearly 30 years, liquefies in heat and at skin temperatures. At room temperature, it is more a cream than a paste. Gink claims a specific gravity that is only .77% of water: it floats. It is a liquid emulsifier, a penetrating cream that will float a fly. It works well with synthetic and natural tying materials. With a moderate application, Gink can skate streamers on the surface to entice steelhead and salmon. Upon contact with water it becomes a clear, protective gel. Apply a small smear to the fingers, let melt and then gently caress the pattern. Unlike heavy silicones, odorless Gink will not mat hackles. SRP $4.25
Snake River, Hell's Canyon, Drawer 730
Asotin, WA 99402
[email protected]
(509) 243-4100

Loon Outdoors
Loon Outdoors properly claims a floatant for every angling condition. It also markets a complete line of caddies for holding floatants top-up or top-down. Top Ride Dry Floatant and Desiccant, a powder, is recommended for large patterns such as stoneflies and steelhead dries. It will maintain the bubbles on CDC flies. Merely place fly in Easy Dry tub to eliminate excess water, then place fly in Top Ride and shake. False cast to remove excess powder. Top Ride leaves no slick on the water. Top Ride, Easy Dry and Blue Ribbon containers have small notches that offer some protection to the tippet when attached to the fly. For best results apply Aquel to the fly before using Top Ride. SRP $7.50

Aquel (ahh-kwell), a French formula in a convenient flip-top container, is a temperature stable gel that liquefies quickly. For the longest possible drift, Loon recommends that you coat the fly with Aquel then shake it in Top Ride. Aquel, a best seller, contains odor-masking pheromones that claim to conceal human scent. SRP $4.95

Use Easy Dry for soaked flies. Place pattern with attached tippet in tub and shake. The small, 1.78 mm beads suck water without sticking to the fly making it ready for flotant. The blue indicator beads turn pink when desiccant needs replacing. SRP $5.95

Blue Ribbon Super Dry Floatant is ultra-fine powder silica that excels on still waters. Loon claims it the best flotant for CDC patterns. Apply Blue Ribbon by working the dust into the hairs and hackle with finger tips. Unfortunately, the container lacks an applicator brush. Blue Ribbon may also used for fast-water patterns. SRP $6.75

Loon Dust is a true "fume silica" with a mild sparkle attractant for fish. The sparkle is visible in sunlight. Apply by working the silky powder into the fly with the cap-brush applicator. This pale gray dust creates air bubbles on nymphs and CDC patterns. Loon Dust may be applied to traditional patterns as well as to fly lines (even with the sparkle) for better pick-up and casting speed.
Apply the dust to the fly line with a small cloth, fingers or the Loon applicator. SRP $4.95

Payette Floatant, a thick paste for fly, leader and line. It is claimed as the best product for floating monofilament leaders and tippets. Much like Cortland's Dab, it adheres to monofilament and flies. Though it softens when warm, it is claimed not to run nor leak in direct sunlight. SRP $4.95

Fly Spritz II, declared as the only eco-friendly water-based fly floatant, comes in a finger-pump container. Apply a couple of squirts to the fly then briskly false-cast several times. Make certain the fly is thoroughly dry before fishing. SRP $6.95
Royal Gel is an "iridescent" flotant claimed to reflect sunlight like an insect wing. Apply a small amount with the thumb and finger to the hackle and body. It liquefies rapidly. Of all the additives, iridescence may be the most important attractor: however, the negligible iridescence in Royal Gel seems to disappear in the pattern when applied. SRP $4.25
Loon Outdoors
2728 S. Cole Road #110
Boise, ID 83709
(208) 362-4437

Rio's Agent-X Dry Fly Shake
Agent X Fly Shake, a new product, is a combination of three silicates that dry and waterproof the pattern. The clever container features a top with a foam pad that seals in the dust. With the lid open, the angler drops the fly into the container and places a thumb over the small, lipped aperture. Shake briskly several times to dry and waterproof the soggiest fly. The special aperture avoids crimping and weakening the tippet. One large crystal absorbs moisture and a second one along with fine silica dust waterproof the pattern. Several false casts clean the fly for a high float. Use for all dry flies and CDC's. SRP $9.95
Rio Products Int'l, Inc
5050 S. Yellowstone Hwy
Idaho Falls. ID 83402-5804
(208) 524-7760

3M Scientific Anglers Fly Flotant
At 63 years in business, Scientific Anglers is a creative company whose research produces some exceptional products. The Scientific Anglers Fly Floatant is a popular, cream flotant that liquefies readily. Claimed to maintain its creamy consistence across temperature extremes from 30° to 120° Fahrenheit, I have found this unique chemical flotant excellent for winter and summer spring creeks. It does not mat delicate hackles, nor does it contain odors or solvents that can frighten fish. The Scientific Anglers' Bottoms Up flotant holder, a "suction cup" that clips to the vest, holds the SA flotant and most other 1/2 ounce bottles inverted. Although the holder can dispense flotant with one hand, I find this awkward. The EZ flip-top snaps down securely. SRP $4.95
3M Scientific Anglers
3M Center Building, 223-5N-03
St. Paul, MN 55144-1000
800-430-5000, 651-733-3638

Umpqua Feather Merchants
Like Loon Outdoors, Umpqua Feather Merchants market a comprehensive stable of floatants. Shimazaki Dry-Shake is a dust formula. The exclusive container has a special cap with a small, inset sponge that protects the fly and tippet during application. Before inserting a soggy pattern in the Dry-Shake remove excess water with tissue or cloth. Insert the pattern in the 25 gram container and shake about a dozen times to dry and waterproof the pattern. SRP $8.99. Shimazaki Dry-Shake Dun is a gray Dry Shake that is especially effective for dun patterns. It can even turn a pale mayfly pattern into a dun. Apply like the original Dry-Shake. SRP $9.99

Tiemco's Power Dryer is both a desiccant and a flotant. A stiff cap-brush pushes the powder deep into the fly. This powder should not be used with any adhesive gel or paste flotant. SRP $9.99

Liquify Tiemco's Dry Gel flotant on the finger tips and gently apply to any dry fly. This thin emulsion feels dry and can be applied sparingly to any CDC patterns. This is a distinctive and interesting flotant. SRP $6.99

Dave's Bug Flote, an old favorite, is best for warm weather. As a thick paste, it is appropriate for large dries, bass bugs, skating steelhead patterns and yarn indicators. Liquefy the paste between the finger tips and apply sparingly. The exclusive patented bottle hangs upside down keeping the flotant near the cap that clicks shut. SRP $3.95

Tiemco's Super Power Dry Magic, a mildly adhesive paste, is recommended for all dry flies. Although recommended for CDC patterns, it may mat barbs if more than an extremely fine film is applied. SRP $8.95

Tiemco's Dry-Shake Primer, which attaches to the top of the Dry-Shake container, is a thin paste that encourages the Dry-Shake dust to adhere to the pattern. For bubbles, apply the Primer to the wingcase and thorax of an emerging nymph. Then brush on the Dry-Shake dust for a long, realistic drift. Or add a touch on a CDC pattern, separate the barbs and the apply dust. SRP $7.99

Tiemco's Dry Magic Cream, named as a flotant for all dry flies, is especially effective on CDC and spinner patterns. Squeeze a spot on your finger and rub to dry. Then thoroughly caress CDC barbs to float the pattern. This unique cream seems to dry after rubbing and, consequently, does not mat CDC barbs. It is also recommended for floating nymphs. SRP $8.99
Umpqua Feather Merchants
594 South Arthur Avenue
Louisville, CO 80027
800-322-3218, 303-567-6696

Tite Line Floatants
Tite Line Dry Fly Powder, for drying and waterproofing, is more granular-similar to the consistency of salt-than most powders. It will neither waft away nor cling to the fly. To apply, press the fly into a small amount of powder in the hand. Wait 15 seconds or more before blowing off the excess. Rearrange the hackle if required. This insoluble, long-lasting dry-fly powder consists of a proprietary blend of water-proofing silica and a silica gel drying agent. SRP $4.25.
Tite Line High Ride, described as temperature-stable grease, is recommended for no-hackle patterns, spent spinners, Compara-duns and emergers. For easy application, High Ride liquefies at body temperature. It is stable from below freezing to over 120 degrees Fahrenheit, "dashboard tested." Tite Line products have been available for over 40 years. SRP $5.25.
John Seidel
465 West 375 North
Clearfield, UT 84015

Thames Fishing Tackle Limited
Thirty years ago, Thames Fishing Tackle of England introduced a Mucilin dressing for dry fly and line. This traditional dressing, in a small green can, now contains silicone and is available from several sources. Thames also markets a small, red can used primarily for dressing fly line.
The Fly Shop
4140 Churn Creek Road
Redding, CA 96002

Amadou and Synthetic Amadou

Dan Bailey Amadou
Dan Bailey's natural amadou fold-pad is excellent for CDC patterns. Merely press your fly between the leather pads lined with the highly absorbent amadou. SRP $15.95.
Dan Bailey

Blue Ribbon Flies Amadou
Blue Ribbon also markets a natural amadou fold-pad for all dry patterns, including CDC. SRP $30
Blue Ribbon Flies
Box 1037
305 Canyon Street North
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
[email protected]

C&F Rubycell Fly Dryer
The Rubycell Fly Dryer, a synthetic fold-pad, is one of the best attempts to imitate natural amadou. When a soggy fly is lightly squeezed between the microporous poly-urethane pads, it springs back to life. Unlike amadou, Rubycell's micro-fine continuous pores seem to absorb and dissipate water quickly. Amadou is softer and gentler on the fly, but Rubycell's middle sponge layer reduces damage when pressing patterns dry. Although I am fond of amadou, here is an attractive alternate that is especially effective for CDC patterns. SRP $17.95 3M Scientific Anglers, www.scientificanglers.com.