Both! I promise I am not just trying to make you buy more unnecessary gear here. Use the strengths of both gink and shake to keep your flies riding high all day. Gink (gel based floatant) is best applied when the fly is completely dry. Here we are trying to get the material of the fly to absorb the gink to help waterproof it. In my opinion, this is actually best done the night before fishing. If you have a general idea of a few dries you will be wanting to fish, the night before apply some gink to them so that the material has plenty of time to absorb it all and then re-dry out. I put the ginked up flies in a plastic hockey puck or fly box but make sure to leave it open. We want air flow to access the flies and help dry them out.
Then when I am on the water, I do NOT apply gink. I just use the shake here. Dry fly shake is a descant and is there to wick away water. Think of a rock climber using chalk to dry the sweat off his hands. Once the fly is wet, there is not point in using gink. Here we use the dry fly shake to help keep the water off the flies, thus keep them riding high! On a side note, once your dry fly starts sinking, add more shake! I know it is an extra step but a dry fly floating high results in a much better hook set. It can be easy to get lazy and try to quickly false cast to dry your fly out. This is a very temporary solution, let the shake, along with the gink, do their job!
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Patrick Virnich says
I completely agree with when to use wet versus dry floatant but have found that Loon Lochsa is far better than Gink or Aquel
Web Editor says
Thanks for the note Patrick, I will have to give Lochsa a try sometime!
Joseph GaNun says
I use Albolene. Same product my mother used in the 60’s to remove makeup. Odorless, colorless, inexpensive. Works like a charm. Keeps your fly floating for many casts.
Gink I have used for years can catch three or four fish before you need to change the fly ,in fact these days you’re lucky to have the fly last that long(don’t tie )provide mates with feathers but only infrequently get flys back Enjoy your newsletter
Glenn Dotterer says
A very interesting subject, digging down into the (perhaps) not so obvious, but very important. To take this a step further…should we as fly tyers routinely apply gel-based floating to all our dry flies as they come off the vise, let them dry, THEN into the flybox? Or would it not remain on the fly long enough to make that our final tying step? I’d be interested in your take on this…
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