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Old 07-07-2008, 09:26 PM
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Default Cheap DIY Floatant - AMAZING!

DISCLAIMER: I'm a Fly Fishing Newbie - work with me here...

After buying my first fly outfit this year, I got the standard weight-forward, floating line (SIDE NOTE: I actually wanted to get double taper for the roll-casting capability but that is becoming a rare bird, apparently). After a few outings, it became apparent that my floating line was quickly becoming a sinking line - so it was time to get some floatant (I have yet to cast a dry fly because there hasn't been a need for it... if I ever do, then the floatant will be applicable here as well).

A quick web search revealed some pricing but I couldn't bring myself to pay $5 or more for an ounce or two of what seemed like trivial stuff. So I dug deeper and found that, basically, floatant is just waterproofing agent with a quickly evaporating carrier. Think of it as car wax that dries quickly.

Some deeper searching revealed the old DIY recipe for fly floatant: naptha and paraffin wax. Simply shred up some paraffin wax (I used an unscented, uncolored candle because none of the local shops carry general purpose wax anymore) and put it in the naptha until you find the saturation point where additional wax will not dissolve (it takes a couple hours for the naptha to do its thing on the wax so a dose of patience is helpful here).

Once you've got your concoction ready, you can simply dip a fly (or fly line in my case) in it and then air it out with a couple false casts - it will dry in an instant. And you'll be waterproof beyond comprehension. It works really well.

I'm sure that there will be those who won't like the naptha - it certainly isn't ideal but you are putting a million times more hydrocarbons into the air when you fill up your gas tank (the tank vapors are displaced into the atmosphere by the liquid gasoline). Used properly, the naptha will not be introduced into the water (I recommend carrying only a small amount to avoid accidental spills).

Some notes:

You may be tempted to heat the mixture in order to increase the wax concentration. I actually did this by bathing a (vented!!!) concoction into some boiling water - and it worked... until it cooled down and the wax solidified. This might be helpful for "hot dunking" some flies at home but it won't help you out on the water.

An oil base might be tempting but I didn't try it (linseed oil?). Too messy?

I used a pill bottle to hold my concoction and it worked fine. Make sure that you test whatever you might use. The naptha could possible react and leave your with a big mess.

FLAMMABLE!!!

I tried some alcohol-based hand sanitizer as a substitute for the naptha - the idea was that this is not flammable but evaporates quickly. Unfortunately, it did not dissolve the wax like I wanted - even after heating the final mixture. It worked to some degree but not nearly as well as the prescribed recipe.

A hotter mixture will hold more wax than a colder one. It may be helpful to find a mixture that will work in both hot and cold weather. I mixed mine in hot weather but found that, on a cold morning, the whole mixture had turned into gel - which was not helpful.

I am open to input. Please let me know your crazy ideas (e.g. - A1 Sauce, garlic, plutonium, etc).
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Old 07-08-2008, 10:42 AM
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Default Re: Cheap DIY Floatant - AMAZING!

Double taper lines are easy to find and still used by many.

Keep the naphtha based waxy coating off your modern fly line, along with WD40, Armorall, and the like.

Floatant is used to waterproof a dry fly to keep it floating longer. If you don't want to spring for a commercial line cleaner, clean your fly line with soap and water. If you add up the candle, naphtha and the time it took, five bucks is pretty cheap.

My crazy idea is to buy silicon based dry fly floatant. You can use some hand lotions/creams available at your local pharmacy, but the store bought floatant works just fine and a bottle goes a long way.
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Old 07-08-2008, 03:00 PM
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Default Re: Cheap DIY Floatant - AMAZING!

Hi pneumatic,

I can see lots of problems. Naptha fumes can mix with air and flash over if a source of ignition is presented. The fumes are heavier than air and could settle on the floor and eventually flash over.

The MSDS says to keep oxidizers away from Naptha so you need to be really careful with Linseed Oil or Tung Oil in anything other than pure oil. By the way Linseed Oil is not a good water proofing. Tung Oil us much superior. So if you try one of them I would use Tung Oil.

All of this is dangerous and not everybody should be doing it. I would be very concerned about damaging my fly line or interfering with the way the line functions.

Frank
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Old 07-08-2008, 05:10 PM
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Default Re: Cheap DIY Floatant - AMAZING!

I'm with Frank on this... I see no benefits and alot of possible harm...and you should never get any of this stuff close to bamboo rods. Seems easier to pay $2 -$3 bucks for fly floatant - I buy mine on sale. If your line is sinking....then you may have a small hole or something in the tip of the line that is absorbing water. I'm not sure what line you are using but some of the lesser lines don't float as well as RIO, SA, or the upper Cortlands. A quality line should need dressing very rarely, if ever

I was always taught to put your money in the Rod, Line and Reel in that order for fresh water fishing. Sounds to me you just have a line problem - going with a better line should solve your problem

By he way - Sierra Trading Company had Orivs fly floatant for under $2
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Old 07-09-2008, 02:00 PM
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Default Re: Cheap DIY Floatant - AMAZING!

a couple of other thoughts --- try some muscilin (red label) on your leader to help it float. Also mono leaders tend to float better and longer than flourocarbon leaders - not sure which ones you are using...but as I mentioned before...it may be your line......with a quality (read high $) line you shouldn't have problems with the line sinking on you. good luck
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Old 07-09-2008, 02:24 PM
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Default Re: Cheap DIY Floatant - AMAZING!

If you bought a cabelas outfit i had the same problem too. The cheap line they put on it starts to sink in stead of float after a trip or two. I have to agree with everyone else, why not just spend 2- 3$, or even new dollars rather than riscking starting something on fire.

Not related to subject: My new fly line comes today.
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Old 07-09-2008, 10:47 PM
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Default Re: Cheap DIY Floatant - AMAZING!

If your line is starting to sink, it is due to wicking. Inside of your flyline is a center core, usually made of a material that will absorb water. When you spliced it onto your leader, you would have cut it and therefore given it the ability to come into contact with water in it's core material. Take a dab of superglue and put it directly onto the tip of your flyline when it is dry.

This will keep it from wicking water into the line and help it's floatation.
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Old 07-11-2008, 09:27 PM
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Default Re: Cheap DIY Floatant - AMAZING!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curtis View Post
If your line is starting to sink, it is due to wicking. Inside of your flyline is a center core, usually made of a material that will absorb water. When you spliced it onto your leader, you would have cut it and therefore given it the ability to come into contact with water in it's core material. Take a dab of superglue and put it directly onto the tip of your flyline when it is dry.

This will keep it from wicking water into the line and help it's floatation.
I'm pretty sure that my sinking problem was the result of the cheap line that came on my combo purchase (a note to others who are looking to save a buck... find out what line is on there, first...). I tried the cleaning thing over and over and that worked reasonably well for a while - and then I decided that the problem might be the pre-fab fly line loop that came on the line - so I hacked that off and moved to a mono butt section to provide my loop connection. But that didn't help the sinking issue any (casting is improved, however).

Floatant was suggested and I found this:

DrLogik - Casual Research on Fly Floatants/Dressings and their History

So I tried it out and my line has been floating ever since. I'm not even sure that "floating" is the correct word - it is like watching water on a duck. The line doesn't even seem to break the surface tension.

I'll try the conventional stuff if/when this stuff ever wears off and report back. But, for $7, I've got a quart of this stuff that I will definitely keep around in the garage.
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:19 AM
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Default Re: Cheap DIY Floatant - AMAZING!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pneumatic View Post
DISCLAIMER: I'm a Fly Fishing Newbie - work with me here...

After buying my first fly outfit this year, I got the standard weight-forward, floating line (SIDE NOTE: I actually wanted to get double taper for the roll-casting capability but that is becoming a rare bird, apparently). After a few outings, it became apparent that my floating line was quickly becoming a sinking line - so it was time to get some floatant (I have yet to cast a dry fly because there hasn't been a need for it... if I ever do, then the floatant will be applicable here as well).

A quick web search revealed some pricing but I couldn't bring myself to pay $5 or more for an ounce or two of what seemed like trivial stuff. So I dug deeper and found that, basically, floatant is just waterproofing agent with a quickly evaporating carrier. Think of it as car wax that dries quickly.

Some deeper searching revealed the old DIY recipe for fly floatant: naptha and paraffin wax. Simply shred up some paraffin wax (I used an unscented, uncolored candle because none of the local shops carry general purpose wax anymore) and put it in the naptha until you find the saturation point where additional wax will not dissolve (it takes a couple hours for the naptha to do its thing on the wax so a dose of patience is helpful here).

Once you've got your concoction ready, you can simply dip a fly (or fly line in my case) in it and then air it out with a couple false casts - it will dry in an instant. And you'll be waterproof beyond comprehension. It works really well.

I'm sure that there will be those who won't like the naptha - it certainly isn't ideal but you are putting a million times more hydrocarbons into the air when you fill up your gas tank (the tank vapors are displaced into the atmosphere by the liquid gasoline). Used properly, the naptha will not be introduced into the water (I recommend carrying only a small amount to avoid accidental spills).

Some notes:

You may be tempted to heat the mixture in order to increase the wax concentration. I actually did this by bathing a (vented!!!) concoction into some boiling water - and it worked... until it cooled down and the wax solidified. This might be helpful for "hot dunking" some flies at home but it won't help you out on the water.

An oil base might be tempting but I didn't try it (linseed oil?). Too messy?

I used a pill bottle to hold my concoction and it worked fine. Make sure that you test whatever you might use. The naptha could possible react and leave your with a big mess.

FLAMMABLE!!!

I tried some alcohol-based hand sanitizer as a substitute for the naptha - the idea was that this is not flammable but evaporates quickly. Unfortunately, it did not dissolve the wax like I wanted - even after heating the final mixture. It worked to some degree but not nearly as well as the prescribed recipe.

A hotter mixture will hold more wax than a colder one. It may be helpful to find a mixture that will work in both hot and cold weather. I mixed mine in hot weather but found that, on a cold morning, the whole mixture had turned into gel - which was not helpful.

I am open to input. Please let me know your crazy ideas (e.g. - A1 Sauce, garlic, plutonium, etc).
Well I guess that I qualify as the ultimate newbie since this is my first posting here.

I'm very new to fly fishing and have been reading, absorbing and acting upon the marvelous advice that I've read here - I was going to post my experiences here very soon but the sheer irresponsibilty of this posting compelled me to make this my entrance to the site!

Naptha is a very volatile chemical and any heating of it is terribly dangerous regardless of what is saturated in it. It contains many VOC's and will contaminate any water that it comes into contact with. I understand that there are commercial floatants available and while they may appear to be expensive per ounce - they have probably undergone extensive testing to demonstrate that they don't harm our watersheds and fish.

Please don't take your concoction to a 'clean' river.
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