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  1. Default MUCILIN


    In the days when silk fly lines were the norm, fly fishers dressed their line with linseed oil and many used Muscilin to stiffen and float the line ... Unfortunately, Mucilin is NOT for today's floaters. To be sure, it will stiffen the line quickly but it will also cause the coating to prematurely crack. It is the one dressing that Scientific Anglers recommends NOT BE USED.

    Lines float for two reasons. First, they are made to be lighter than water, with specific gravities running around .85 for high end lines. Second, high end lines typically have a hydrophobic, water repellent, proprietary coating.

    A line designed with a specific gravity gravity of .85 means that 85% of the line would be below the water's surface, unless something forces them higher, and that is what the hydrophobic coating does. Because the lines repel water so well, they sit higher in the surface film than they would through specific gravity alone.

    While most quality floating fly lines have a hydrophobic coating, it follows that some are fabricated better than others and consequently float more on the surface film than in it.


  2. Default

    Thanks Doug, good explanation.

  3. Default MUCILIN

    I would like to see if you have it, the reasons why SA says that Mucilin is of detrement to lines that they produce.
    That is something l am not aware of.
    It is a UK product that is very popular over there.

    I will in fact check this with some line manufactuers that l know back over there and ask if they have had any problems with that

    The Mucilin of to day if of course not the same as was once produced, which at one time l used for silk lines.

    let you know what they say.

    Thanks Davy



  4. Default The Mucilin Debate

    OK... Against my better judgment, I thought I'd put on my flack jacket and jump right on in to this fly line dressing debate.

    First of all... thanks to both Doug and Davy for your input on this topic. You are both passionate in your beliefs and this forum appreciates your advice.

    I’m in the process of doing some research of my own on the Mucilin debate. I will continue to post information as I find it. You can buy Mucilin from most online fly shops. This I find interesting. The following is an article that I found on the internet that seams to support Doug’s claim that Mucilin may not be good for modern fly lines. This article was written by Dan Blanton the owner of Blantons Coast to Coast Guide Page at

    OK... now listen... I'm not sure where he got his facts so I'm not supporting nor denying his claims. So read it for yourself.

    TLC For Fly Lines
    By Dan Blanton

    Fly lines aren't the most expensive part of your marine fly fishing equipment but they aren't cheap, either. Most will cost you better than 50 bucks if they're worth having and with tender loving care, will perform well for many seasons. Abuse them, and you'll be reaching deep into your pocket sooner than you'd like. The following is some good advise on how to provide TLC for your fly lines.


    Keeping your line clean and free of dirt and other substances such as algae, will help to prolong its life as well as good casting and floating characteristics. Dirt and algae build-up on a fly line can markedly reduce both its shootability and floatability. A coating of dirt prevents lines like those produced by Scientific Anglers, which have both an internal silicone lubricating system, and a hydrophobic (water resistant) chemical in the line's coating for better floatation, from working properly. Dirt and other contaminants don't prevent the silicone lubricant from surfacing as it should, but the effect is like having a good lubricant between two metal surfaces and then ruining it by adding dirt and grit. Dirt and algae also overcoats the line's hydrophobic chemical, which nullifies its water repelling abilities causing the fly line to sit lower in the surface film.


    Until recently, I was under the mistaken impression that there were a number of good commercial fly line cleaners being marketed by leading fly line companies and fly fishing specialty houses. Actually, most of the available products are only a line dressing, and are not really a thorough cleaner. They are a lubricant dressing that only top coats the line, temporarily covering up the dirt and making the line shoot better for awhile. Sure, you'll see dirt residue on the application pad or cloth, but you'd get the same results of you used a damp cloth to wipe the line.

    Over time, superficial line dressings will seal in dirt and algae, and prevent the internal, self lubricating silicone ingredient in SA and similar lines from doing its job. Ditto for the hydrophobic chemical intended to make the line float higher on the surface. It’s similar to Scotch-Guarding your furniture before you had it cleaned - all you did was seal in the dirt...

    Now don't get me wrong, dressing your fly line several times a day with a good line dresser is a good idea, especially if it's hot and windy. Your line will shoot better and chances of line tangles will be markedly reduced. Line tangles often rob you of rare opportunity. But in addition to dressing, you need to really clean your fly line periodically. In really dirty or algae laden waters, you should clean it a couple of times per day.

    Liquid line cleaner/dressers, especially those provided by the manufacture are best and won’t harm the line’s finish. Avoid using cleaners that are not designed expressly for fly lines. You can trust Cortland’s line cleaner, for example, not to harm their lines, or anyone else’s for that matter. Scientific Anglers has a different line cleaner/dressing package which approaches line cleaning from a different perspective.

    Scientific Anglers line cleaner is basically an easily carried (vest or shirt pocket), unobtrusive, 2" by 3" pad about 1/8 inch thick with a micro abrasive pad. You actually sand-paper the line with the mild abrasive pad. The abrasive removes ground in dirt and grime, but won't hurt the line's finish. This can be done while the line is wet or dry. Once the line is clean, you can dress it with the provided lubricant, although with SA lines, it isn’t really necessary because of the internal silicone lubricant that continually weeps to the surface. The hydrophobic chemical is part of the line’s finish and the sanding will not harm it and the line will float like new.

    What about sinking fly lines? Generally, I never clean a sinking line regardless of it's type. Full sinking lines or shooting heads don't need to be cleaned or dressed and only the floating running line portion of other types, such as sink tips or Teeny lines or some of the new specialized striper lines need to be cleaned and dressed.

    Coated shooting lines, such as SA's Mastery saltwater shooting line, should be cleaned and dressed frequently to preserve both the line's finish and shootability.

    Mono shooting line (not braided) should be frequently dressed, but don't use an abrasive cleaner on it. I also wouldn't advise using the abrasive pad on any clear fly line, sinking or floating, since it would make the line become somewhat opaque and more visible.

    What about salt build-up? Only so much salt can accumulate on the line's coating and each time you use it again, the salt coating will dissolve when it gets wet. A wet salt coating can actually become fairly slick and may aid casting to some degree.


    There are several types of line dressing available: Glide from Umpqua; Rush Peak's line dressing (makes it so slick you can hardly hold on to it); Maxima Mono slick and others such as the ones provided by Cortland and SA.


    There is one type of dressing that many folks use, including myself, which I recently learned, should never be used on a fly line. It's the old mucilin type of dressing, a sort of paste/wax that was originally used to dress braided silk fly lines to make them float. It removes the plasticizers in the line's coating, the chemical which makes plastics soft and flexible. Once removed in sufficient quantity, the line becomes stiff and brittle and line's coating will begin to crack. Line manufacturers are working with the producers of mucilin products to inform folks not to use mucilin on modern fly lines.


    Sun and heat are two of the worst things you can expose your fly line (or mono) to. You ever notice that blue-gray film on the inside of your cars windshield? Most folks thinks it's just dirt. It's not. It's plasticizer evaporated from you car's vinyl interior. Dashes crack and so do seat covers. Sun and heat do the same damage to your fly lines! One of the worst places to store or transport your lines is in the trunk of your car. Don't purchase a fly line that has been on a shelf in front of a window, it may be already damaged from heat and UV light.

    Avoid contacting your lines with solvents, gasoline, sunscreens and insect repellents. All will damage your line's coating by removing plasticizers and other needed chemicals. Some of these will dissolve the lines coating.

    With a little TLC and the frequent use of good line maintenance products, your expensive fly lines should provide you many seasons of hard and productive use, before you have to reach deep into your wallet for the price of replacing it.

    by Dan Blanton

  5. Default Mucilin Debate

    The pdf format Scientific Anglers bulletin on fly line care can be found at

    It is dated 1/99

    It reads as follows:

    To optimize the performance of your Scientific Anglers fly lines, we recommend the following:

    A SA cleaning pad does the best job and is the quickest and easiest method. Mild hand soap and water on a cloth work well also. Using detergents or harsh soaps may remove lubricants from the line surface. Lubricants are important to line shootability and life. Clean your line if you see that is getting dirty, or notice it doesn't float or shoot as well as used to.

    Any line will shoot and float better after dressing, although the effects are temporary as the dressing will wear off with use, dressing your lines will also reduce tangling. Use only a silicone based dressing. We recommend Scientific Anglers Line Dressings. Avoid solvent containing dressings like Mucilin which can actually damage fly lines.

    Avoid excessive exposure to heat and UV light when you store your lines. Do not leave lines for long periods of time in a hot car, this can be very damaging.

    Any solvent based chemicals as well as items such as insect repellent with DEET and sunscreens.

    5. STORAGE
    Lines should be clean and dry, and should be stored where they will not be exposed
    to heat, light, or chemicals. If you have lines that you plan to store for extended periods, the refrigerator or even freezer is best. It is not necessary to remove lines from your reels for off-season storage.

  6. Default Mucilin Debate

    OK... now the S.A. bulletin was produced in January of 1999. Has Mucilin changed since then? I don't know. So far I've not found anything to suggest that it has... but I'm open to opinions.


  7. Default Dying Horse

    OK... I don't mean to continue to kick this horse that may not yet be dead but is certainly on the verge of expiring, but I here I go anyway...

    This morning, I called the tech department at the Cortland Line Company to get their point of view on this matter. They said that Mucilin was intended for silk fly lines but for today’s modern fly line construction, Mucilin really has no application.

    The Cortland representative said that they presently have no indication that Mucilin can actually damage the line but they can't rule it out either. Their major concern was that the Mucilin could build up on the fly line causing it not to perform as intended.

    He further recommended that we just use a mild soap for cleaning or use any other fine commercial cleaner and/or treatment available on the market.


  8. Default MUCILIN

    Thanks Steve for all the up- date info.

    I am not sure if you guys out there realise but there are two types of Mucilin.
    The original carries a red label on the container, and l do know that this was for the use with silk lines.
    Then there is the green label container, which is a silicone based applicant.
    I have tried to get in touch with the guys at the factory in the UK, and am not able to do that at this time. for their view on this.
    To the best of my knowledge the green version of the Mucilin is OK for to days lines. If that is not the case, then l stand to be corrected on that matter.

    Regarding the aspect of not using any application and maintaining cleaning the line to avoid it from sinking, there has to a come a pint that wear and tear will devoid the line of those properties, that certainly has been my experience with all brands of floating line.

    I absolutely aggree that you must clean the line well of any contaminats before you do apply any line dresssing, however we all know that at a time when we are fishing and that line starts to sink, then we may not have with us the means to do that.

    Ok, hopefully we will be able be-tween us find the answer to this one.

    Interesting how a single subject like this starts to open in many directions the answers, thats what we are here for .

    Take care for now, Davy.



  9. Default


    Regret I did not get back sooner to respond to your question as to whether or not Scientific Anglers 1999 comments regarding Muscilin remain valid today. They do -- according to a senior member of their design staff that I checked with.


    OK, guys

    After a number of e-mails back and forth, these are the answers l have.

    My first letter was directed to the MD of Snowbee UK, that then was responded from Russell, that they had no knowledge what so ever that the product was detrimental to fly lines that they market.

    That was then followed up with a mail to John Thomsett the MD of Shakesphere UK, who are a major manufacturer of fly lines to many companies around the world, who have the lines marketed under their name, other than Shakesphere.

    John, replied that neither had they had any known problems, and in fact they are a major distributor of the Mucilin products. He told me that if that was the case that they would of course have to consider their position so far as marketing the product.

    Further to that l asked John to contact Thames fishing tackle, with a number of pertinent questions, that l requested a answer for.

    Thames fishing tackle responded to that with the answer that, Mucilin is a perfectly safe product for use with modern fly lines, and that they had no knowledge other wise that this was not the case.
    They produce the product.

    The only Mucilin product that does not have a suitable use is the one in the green container, which is a silicone based applicant, and that should not be used on silk lines.

    There are two types availbale, red and green container.

    In conclusion of these statements, I will continue to use Mucilin.

    In the respect of SA, saying other wise, as my previous post, l and others would like to see the evidence that this is the case.

    Davy Wotton.



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