There are so many floatants on the market today it can be hard to know which one to use and when to use it. Here at Bear, we like to keep things simple and believe that if you follow these rules then you can't go far wrong.
Don't use gel floatants (Gink and others) on CDC.
CDC (Cul De Canard) floats due to its fluffy feather structure. Using gel floatants makes the feathers stick together and stop it floating. If gel floatant really gets you going and you can't imagine not applying it to a dry fly then rub a little of the gel on your hand and brush the tips of the feather in the floatant, or just be sensible and save it to use on flies without CDC.
Apply to the parts of the fly you want to float.
This seems obvious right. You want the fly to float so you put floatant on it. The reality is that most flies are designed for specific parts of the fly to float and not the whole thing. For example any fly tied in a parachute style, you only want to coat the post and the hackle with floatant, this allows the fly to present in the best possible way. So next time you are casting to a rising trout, think about how you want the fish to see the fly and apply your floatant accordingly.
Use powder floatant (Frogs Fanny and others) for CDC and to dry soaked flies.
Powder floatant is great. It's perfect for drying CDC as it opens up the fibers and makes them nice and fluffy. We think the ones with a brush are best as it allows you to really fluff that feather. You can also use it to dry, dry flies off before applying a gel floatant. You can even add a bit to a nymph to create a bit of an air bubble. Its truly wonderful stuff.
Where do we put our floatants?
When we fish dries we want to present that fly to the fish in the best way possible meaning we are regularly re-applying floatant to our flies. We designed our Universal Pack to hold both powder and gel floatants on the outside of the bag. This means they are always to hand and can be used without even removing them from their holders!
The floatants we use are....
Hunts original make the best floatants on the market today. We cannot reccomend them highly enough. We use the Powder Floatant with brush applicator, and the Up High gel floatant. All the other products are great too, but those are the ones we use all the time.