If you are keen to fish dry flies and are tired of constantly applying and reapplying goops and pastes to your flies only to watch them sink two casts later, there’s a little surprise in store. Claim to the idea dates back to the gold rush years, but with a few procedural mods it’s easy as pie to brew up utilizing generic ingredients at a generic price. With otherwise patentable results.
We’re talking fly floatant here, and assuming you don’t spill your supply every time you are on the water, the ingredients/instructions detailed below should make enough to last you (and several compadres) an entire season if not more.
The formula and instructions after the jump …
What you need
1) White gas i.e. the stuff you
sniff on your days off … throw on the campfire after forgetting the hose to siphon gasoline from your tank use in camping stoves ($8-$10, via REI or other outdoor store)
2) Paraffin wax – used by the fairer sex to tidy up those private parts??? – sorry but can’t think of another really good use for wax besides fricken fly floatant (and that certainly ranks second, without doubt) – you can obtain it in the food storage section at grocers; goes by names like Parowax household wax and triples as ski and snowboard wax – yes, lame, all three possible applications considered (about $5)
3) A large bottle for mixing/storage – 12 ounces plus will do, and stainless works better than plastic for long-term storage (which you will need, since we’re making a lot here – hang out at any fly-fishing business gathering and you can easily collect a dozen of these for free)
4) A small bottle for carrying – I use the extra-small Nalgenes (available at REI or an Army surplus store for around $1.50)
5) A warming pot (yes, the above pictured one came from a Williams-Sonoma catalog, but that’s admittedly going overboard)
The ridiculously simple instructions
First off, fill a pot with hot water. Next, pour a sizable helping of the white gas into the large mixing bottle, and lower the bottle into the pot. Then, finely shave a pile of wax into a paper towel (or other implement that can be used to funnel the shavings into the bottle). After the bottle has warmed for a minute, dump the shavings into the bottle, screw the cap back on, and shake. The wax shavings should be dissolved – if they are not, you either didn’t shave fine enough or the bottle isn’t warm enough – so shake some more.
Rinse and repeat the shaving/dumping/shaking process until you’ve dissolved an ample helping of wax in that bottle. What’s ample? Well, it isn’t science, but I used a 4 ounce cake of wax in roughly 14 fluid ounces of gas ; I could probably have added more wax too. What you will begin to notice between shakings, however, is that a little bit of the concoction will wind up on your hands – as the gas evaporates, you hands will retain the waxy film left over. And that’s the theory behind the floatant too.
You dip your fly in the mixture, shake off the excess, and give the fly a minute to dry (false casting helps). The gas is evaporating here, leaving the wax, which has now penetrated all the fibers of the fly without turning it into a pile of messy crap.
Grant Holzworth actually tested the exact formula against a slew of commercially available products, and it pretty much
held its own beat the pants off the rest.
In other words, your dry flies WILL NOT SINK thereafter.
MG signing off (to mix first and ask questions later, as in after casting some very dry flies)