Using Dry Shake Fly Floatant
When dry fly fishing with an attractor fly or searcher fly it’s paramount that you keep your fly dry and riding on the surface. There is a multimillion dollar fly fishing industry where the product line is only fly floatants. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if fly floatants are a multimillion dollar industry then it must be pretty important to the fly angler. Pretty important in floating your dry fly. On freestone rivers one of the most com
mon mistakes made by anglers is they continue to fly fish a fly that is wet and below the surface. When you are using attractor or searcher flies then you are most likely using those types of flies in absence of an emergence or hatch. We use these attractor/searcher flies when there is not hatch and we are trying to entice a trout into taking your fly. To do that your fly must be floating on the surface. If it’s not on the surface then you run the risk of not triggering that trout to strike.
In the water breathing world there is a barrier that exists between the air breathing world and the water breathing world, better known as the meniscus. The meniscus is better known as surface tension. It is pliant, kind of like plastic wrap you would use to wrap your sandwich in. We air breathers can’t see it. When we look at water are eyes look right through the surface to the bottom. To us water is clear all the way through. Not so for the trout. To view what a trout will see in reverse, meaning from the bottom up instead of from the top down, go swimming with a face mask. Dive down under water and then look up. What you will see is a mirror. That’s exactly what a trout sees, a mirror.
Now you might ask; what does that have to do with using dry shake fly floatant on an attractor/searcher dry fly. You first must understand that trout have limited or no cognitive thought, meaning they don’t think like us. Their brains just can’t handle thought. Now picture a hungry trout finning in the river looking up hoping to find a nice morsel floating by that might fill it’s belly. This trout is looking for food on the surface or better known to him as the mirror. All food to a trout is floating on the surface. If food is not floating on the surface then there is no food.
The further a trout looks down the meniscus the brighter the mirror becomes. Have you ever tried to see through a mirror? You can’t and neither can the trout. What a trout does see is the impression of food in the mirror. So a mayfly floating down the river towards the trout does not look like a mayfly to the trout, what that mayfly looks like is an impression or image bent into the mirror or meniscus. It is not to where that mayfly is just about 2 feet in front of the trout that the image or the mayfly becomes clear. That’s the science of it.
What we do as fly anglers is imitate aquatic insects using fur and feathers. We also have to imitate how that but floats on the water. If your fly is not floating on the surface then it is not food. Food to trout looking at the surface is always floating on the mirror, if it’s not floating on the mirror then it’s just not food. So if that nice beautiful yellow and white mayfly is not floating on the surface but just under the surface then that beautiful bug is just not food. If a trout had cognitive thought it would know that wet but was food and down the hatch it would go.
Dry shake fly floatant allows us to dry are fly instantly by simply putting the fly, leader and all, into a bottle filled with dry fly floatant. Once there you shake it until its dry, pull out of the bottle and give it a quick blow and your fly is now like a cork. If you are fly fishing with me on a freestone river and you can’t see or find me just listen and you will know by the shaking of the dry shake where I am. Improve you attractor/searcher dry fly fishing by using dry shake.