If you’ve ever been fly fishing long enough with dry flies you’ll know that they always take on water and sink after a few fish and drifts. This can be for a number of reasons from poor line control where mending is needed to better situations like you just landed a fish.
Just to give you a few options that are better in different circumstances, here are some simple and creative ways to dry off your dry flies.
1. Place lightly on your lips and blow off the water
When you’re in a time crunch and your dry fly needs to be back on the water ASAP, you can just blow the water off. Leave your hairdryer back at home you just need your lips and a lung-full of air. Take your fly and put it right against your lips. Now, blow forcefully directly into it. Do this a few times and it should float nice and high for a few more casts.
2. Dab it on your clothing
Most clothing is made out of cotton, so if you’re wearing a simple shirt you can dab the fly on it. Also, wouldn’t be a bad idea to grab a bit of your shirt or pants and squeeze it around the fly in the most water-saturated parts like the dubbing, post, tail, and hair. Be careful not to mash down the palmered hackle on the dry fly.
3. Plucking the fly on a rubber band
I saw this sweet technique a while back and truly helps with flies that are delicate and or small like CDC patterns. What you do is have a rubber band on your vest and tuck one end of the band on the bend of the hook. While gently stretching the rubber band out with the fly by pulling on your line, you will pluck the rubber band like a guitar and it shakes the water off the fly. Pluck the rubber band until your fly fishing fly is dry.
4. Apply floatant
Floatant can come in multiple forms. I’ve used all sorts of liquid and powder floatants. Over the years, I’ve found powder floatants to be way more effective and longer lasting. However, you can go through a bottle in one season. They usually come with a brush or squeeze bottle that you use to coat the fly with in dry fly floatant. Word of advice, coat the fly first before your first cast and then apply when needed.
Do not use liquid or powder floatant on CDC fly patterns because it will ruin the naturally buoyant oils in the feathers.
5. Shake in a bottle of dry shake floatant
Dry shake floatant bottles are filled with tiny little beads that wick moisture away. With your line attached, place the fly in the bottle then shake until dry. It’s that easy. Plus, this is an acceptable method in drying CDC patterns.
6. Give it an extra false cast or two in the air
Casting your drenched fly a few times in the air with a bit more force can ‘whip’ the water right out of it and push air through your fly’s hackles and fibers. This works great in between presentations and after missing a fish.