What is Fly Fishing Floatant?

Keeping your flies dry.

Do you use floatant on your flies? Do you know what floatant is used for? Did you know there were various types of floatant?

What is Fly Fishing Floatant?

Dry fly floatant is a combination of a wax and carrier in a liquid state. It is intended to keep your dry flies from absorbing water, to keep the fly floating. Floatant normally has a waxy substance that coats the dry fly and a lighter liquid that acts as a carrier for the waxy substance that evaporates.

Every type of floatant is used in a slightly different way, but, they all serve the same purpose. If you are using a dry fly intended to simulate a surface water insect, a floatant of some kind is needed. If the dry fly gets saturated and sinks, it is completely worthless. Your best bet is to pretreat your dry flies with one of these products.

What is the purpose of floatant?

The purpose of dry fly floatant is to keep your dry fly floating on the surface of the water. Dry flies simulate insects that sit on top of the surface of the water. If the fly is sinking, even a little bit, it will not look true. Fish have incredibly good eyesight and can spot a fake fly straight away. If the dry fly is not floating on the surface of the water, the fish will not bite. Get the fly floating, and you will have a tight line all day long.

Different Types of Floatants

Gel Floatants, These are the most commonly used type of dry fly floatant. They have been around for decades. The best way to use gel floatants is as a pre-treatment. You must apply the gel to a dry fly that is completely dry right out of your fly box. Any moisture and you will actually make the fly worse and cause it to sink faster. Be sure to remove any excess gel before you start fishing. You need just enough gel to coat the fly. Any excess will make it sink. If in doubt false cast a few times to remove any excess gel from the fly.

Powder Shake Floatants, These are great products to be used once a fly has gotten too wet. Shake floatants are meant for bigger flies and are very easy to apply. Keep in mind that shaking a fly in powder floatant will dry and lightly coat the fly, but this is only a quick fix. You will only have a few casts before you have to re-apply the powder again.

Brush-On Floatants, A great all round floatant, these can treat both wet and dry flies, but are also fine for smaller flies. Lasting more casts than shake on floatants, but are not ideal for large flies. Having to be brushed on, the process is a bit more time consuming. That is why using this on small flies is better. There is less area to cover.

Spray-On Floatants, Spray floatants are becoming more popular because of ease of use. These products can be used as a pre-treatment and also after the fly is wet. Just pull the fly out of the water and spray it down.

Dip and Dunk Floatants, These products are also fairly new and are becoming more popular. Dip and dunk floatants are a combination of different chemicals that make this product the perfect pre-treatment for flies. They do work best if the fly is completely dry.

Paste Floatants,  Pastes are similar in composition to gel floatants but are much thicker. This makes the products ideal for large flies, indicators, and fly lines. Pastes will last much longer than gel floatants but cannot be used on small flies.

floatant high & dry

Floatant – High & Dry

Hunts original floatant
Hunts Up High Floatant

The owner of Hunt’s Tom created a video explainer for the products which can be found here.

Here at SPRITE Fishing you can buy a range of floatants we stock Hunts original products. We currently have three versions in stock Hunts original floatant (brush on floatant) Hunt’s High and dry (Powder shake floatant) and Hunt’s Up High (Gel floatant).

Hunt's fishing accessories