One of our most commonly used, most critiqued products is dry fly floatant. Several new products and types are introduced every year and there are those that survive and those that never leave the shelf. After a much needed vacation we escaped this past week over to river ‘X’ for some R & D time. Faced with 8 hours of solid dry fly fishing (match the hatch and searching with large attractors) we brought along 3 new floatants/desiccants to test out. To give them a fair test, we tested them on various styles of patterns from small CDC Baetis to large foam bugs.
Shimazaki Dry Shake Liquid: This stuff is flat out amazing! For those of you familiar with the original Shimazaki dry shake – the best dry shake ever made – this is essentially the same stuff, but in a liquid form. Literally, this floatant concoction creates a barrier of Shimazaki dry shake around your fly after dipping your fly in the liquid and pulling it back out. We have found that the white residue left behind after the liquid evaporates allows your fly to float significantly longer than other floatants. We don’t know exactly what the other half of the mixture is (lighter fluid or similar), but they have a winner here. The Shimazaki Dry Shake works well on all types of dries. The only downside – $14.95 a bottle – but worth every penny and you will probably go through a couple of these a year if you fish a lot.
Mega Float Spray Floatant: I have always been a bit skeptical about spray floatants, mostly because of the waste of product to the air and the fact that you seem to get as much on your hand as the fly. We had to give this new non-toxic/eco-friendly floatant product. While messy, this floatant applies very easily to dries of all sizes. The problem is it doesn’t work worth a shit. After applying the floatant your fly seems to be wet and almost soggy with the floatant and doesn’t seem to do much to repel water during the fishing process. This is possibly the shortest lasting floatant that we have used. It might be a good line lubricant like it claims to be, but you won’t catch me spraying this stuff on my line either. I would not recommend this product, even though the company offers an Eco friendly floatant solution.
Loon Lochsa: Loon has had this product on the shelves for a couple years now, but I am still surprised how many customers are not aware of its presence. Along with the Shimazaki Dry Shake Liquid, this ranks very high for CDC floatants. The best way to describe this floatant is a ‘thinned’ down version of Aquel, that when worked in between your fingers actually feels dry to the touch. That is why this stuff is a top choice for small dries, including those made with cdc. It does not work so well on the big bugs, but will do the job if need be. The silicone base combined with a low viscosity keeps small flies floating quite a bit longer than other floatants on the market.
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