08-14-2012, 04:56 PM
Re: Tell dry flies from wet?
The floatant test will not tell you what the fly is meant to do. Yes, a wet fly will float if dressed up to do so, and conversely a dry fly can sink if you soak it.
95% of all dry flies have hackle, either as a collar wrapped around the hook shank near the head or wrapped around a wing post that is tied to the hook. Traditional wet flies also have hackle collars but the material is different.
Hackle on a dry fly makes it float, the feather used has stiff barbs so when its wound they stand out perpendicular to the axis it is wrapper around, either the hook shank to hold the fly body up off the water, or on a parachute the hackle fibers splay out in a ring flat on top of the fly body to allow it to sit in the water but still float.
There are good examples of parachutes and traditional hackled dries in this swap, as well as some different style of hackled and non-hackled dries:
Early Season Dry Fly Swap, winter 2011
A wet fly hackle will be a softer feather that generally lays back a bit along the fly and imparts motion to the fly. Check out these winged wets from a swap we did last winter:
Winged Wet Fly Swap, Winter 2012
Does that help?