If there’s one frustration every flyfisher has experienced, it’s a sunken dry fly. We shrug our shoulders and deal with the frustration. We’ve seen astronomical changes in the gear we fish today yet Gink, one the first floatants developed 3 decades ago, remains the floatant of choice amongst Aussie flyfishers. Think about it, while hydrophobic coatings on fly lines have moved on lightyears ahead, the dry fly has been neglected. Indeed, other industries have been tackling this very issue and the clever chemists at High N Dry knew exactly how they could leverage that tech in creating the best floatant you can get.
There are several types of floatants including liquids, gels, and powders. It’s important to understand the different applications of each and decide what suits you. As I review each of the High N Dry floatants, I’ll explain how each can be best used and their differences. All of High N Dry’s floatants are odourless, non-flammable, and environmentally-friendly.
High N Dry Liquid Floatant $24.95rrp BUY NOW
This is my favourite of the lot. It make sense to me that a liquid floatant is going to more thoroughly coat and soak every bit of material in a fly and thus achieve optimum floatation. In fact, the first time I used this it blew me away how much better it worked than anything else I’d tried. If you really want to get your flies riding high, this is the stuff to use.
BUT there are some downsides to liquid floatants; one of which is being unable to easily treat specific areas of the fly to control how it rides. When you dunk, the whole fly is treated. For example, a Shaving Brush is a particularly good fly if you make sure the wing floats but the tails sits below the surface. However, this stuff is so good, it will make the hook itself more buoyant and that can present a problem. Using this floatant, I’ve observed some flies (particularly spent spinners) floating upside down, though if the top of your fly has more material than the underside (most flies) then you have nothing to worry about.
One thing I love is the quick application. Simply dunk the fly in, give it a quick blow, a few false casts, and it’s dry – ready to fish. I have, in the heat-of-a-hatch, dunked a sodden fly straight into this floatant and it was sufficiently rejuvenated to keep fishing. However, you will get better results drying your fly before you dunk, and this way you won’t dilute your floatant with water.
The big, 2.5oz container makes it easy to drop a fly into the solution and the cap remains secured to the bottle when open so there’s nothing to lose. Use this liquid floatant on all flies you want completely treated. It works better than anything I’ve used on parachute dries, Wulffs, Stimulators and caddis dries.
High N Dry Gel Floatant $19.95rrp BUY NOW
There really isn’t a time where a gel floatant cannot be used. It’s perfect for treating portions of a fly, or to get your leader or the tip of your fly line riding high. Most will be familiar with gel-type floatants, so that makes for an easy transition from say, Gink or Aquel. Think of this as a more pure, higher-performing gel floatant than anything else out there. It comes in a much larger bottle and contains nearly twice as much gel as some other brands, which means you won’t run out quickly. The nozzle is nice and fine which makes squirting out the right amount much easier to control than any of the competitors. With gels, it’s a good idea to really work them into the materials for best results. Thankfully this gel is the same consistency whether it’s freezing cold or hot as Haiti.
High N Dry Powder & Desiccant $19.95rrp BUY NOW
When your fly becomes sodden and you need to get fishing again quickly, nothing beats this powder desiccant. This is a double application, meaning the desiccant will suck the water out and then the powdered floatant will treat the fly to float. One of the reasons it works so well is the desiccant balls are much smaller than you get from most other brands, which greatly increases water absorption. This product does an amazing job at sucking the water and fish slime from a sodden dry.
You will notice a white residue left on the fly when you pull it out, but that quickly disappears with a few false casts. Similar to other “shake-and-bake” floatants, flip it open, insert your fly, shut lightly so you don’t squash your leader, give it a shake then get back to fishing. One of the great things about this product is the little desiccant balls change colour when they’ve absorbed all the water they can handle, and so you know when it’s time to replace.
High N Dry Powdered Floatant $19.95 BUY NOW
All the products mentioned earlier can be used on CDC but I don’t think anything compares to this powdered floatant. The brush it comes with in the bottle has been well-designed, so it holds a good amount of powder for treating your fly. Give it a good brushing over for best results. Of all four High N Dry products, this is probably the one I could live without – but if you fish CDC a lot, then it’s a must-have.
So, which one which of these do you need? Well, one isn’t enough but if you narrowed it to two, you’d be hard pressed to go past the Gel for pretreatment and the Powdered Desiccant for rejuvenating waterlogged flies. The trouble is, the liquid is just so damn good and so I carry that too!