Re: Basic Dry Fly Setup
Sorry to hear about the bad service , I've found some shops, or perhaps just some of the employees at the shops, aren't the best. In fact there are some I avoid because of rudeness so I vote with my dollars not venting my anger. That said, there are great shops that should be helpful. What part of CO are you in? Perhaps some on here can help point you towards a good one.
x2 for what JP said regarding quality of flies. I've found some cheap hackled dry flies don't float well because of the materials. Also, as he asked, what flies are you using and what water are you fishing?
Other possible causes:
- drag - if your fly is dragging in the current (creating a wake or being pulled under) this will cause it to absorb water and sink fairly quickly
- if your cast causes the dry to slap down on the water this can cause the fly to break the surface tension and sink. This is helpful if you need to get a nymph down deep but not if you're presenting a size 18 blue wing olive dry
For a set-up a simple 9' tapered mono leader should be just fine and, baring the above, your dry should float decently. Over time most non-foam dries can start sinking through normal use. You can use your gel floatant and also desiccant powder, but remember they are used differently. The gel floatant needs to be applied before the fly is wet, it helps prevent the fly from absorbing water. Once the fly is wet the gel doesn't help. That's when the desiccant powder comes in. You put the wet fly in the tube with the powder and shake, or put some powder in your hand and rub the fly in it and it helps dry the fly. Eventually, the powder might stop helping, when this happens it's good to put on a fresh one and let the soaked one dry-out.
If you can, get a guide for a day or a half day. If you're in the Denver area, I see groupons fairly regularly for guides/fly fishing schools and the prices are pretty good. Focus your time with your guide on learning and you should get a lot for your money.