A few weeks ago I managed to leave behind my normal CDC floatant when I went out fishing . I have been using Miracle float for the last couple of years and have been happy with it apart from the cost and the difficulty of buying it . Anyway I resorted to my red mucilin tippet floatant which I had with me and just made my finger ends greasy by the merest touch of it then worked the CDC between thumb and forefinger . I was astonished by how well it worked as well as anything I have tried, that prompted me to have a bit of an experiment . Over the last few years I have used red mucilin on tippets. Dilly Wax on hackles and miracle float on CDC and have been happy enough .
Up front and Just to Clarify that all these were purchased by myself and are a bit of a random selection obviously favouring those that market themselves as CDC products. . I have tried to get a decent representative sample of whats on the market .
Its difficult to do a meaningful test on this sort of stuff but this is how I had a go and the conclusions I came to.
The first test was to simply see how long the flies would stay afloat with a single dressing . The two top right were the benchmark both just untreated CDC . The one without the label is my bottle of miracle float I have been using for quite a while . I repeated this with different new flies including a batch of my home tied fuller dressed ones and the results were very largely the same . As can be seen the products were by : Loon , Gulff, Veniards , Hends ,Guideline, Miracle Float and Trout hunter ,Dilly Wax and red Mucilin
The results were as follows:
So the tray with treated flies and a couple of untreated flies . The f fly without liquid floatant but with the Silca powder treatment worked very well at the first time of treatment
The two untreated CDC sunk first one sank within a couple of minutes the second at 4.5 minutes , which itself was pleasing as it showed that to some extent the products all worked . Just as a note in a effort to get identical flies I prevailed upon my mate Richard who is the proprietor of https://www.barbless-flies.co.uk/ who kindly supplied me with them in the interests of Science , I tie my own and very few are identical and I wanted to have new flies for each trial . The remaining flies all stayed afloat apart from the Loon treated one and after 20 minutes I started tapping the end of the tray I figured this would cause similar disturbance for each fly . the level of tapping was increased and any further sinkers was noted with the times. I repeated the test several times the results were remarkably similar .
The results were as follows:
The ice cube tray test demonstrated the following : Flies were just floated without agitation to start with all the treated flies were similar and remained afloat . I allowed them to stay there untouched for 20 minutes . Then I agitated the flies increasingly hard until eventually resorted to pushing them below the surface.
When the periods of agitation were over all but one treated flies still floated each fly was then in turn pushed below the surface . The flies that kept popping back to the top the best were the Guideline , Miracle float . red Mucilin and Silicon powder , However when the test was repeated with flies that were dried and retreated with floatant the floatability was not as good even for the Silicon powder only . However when the treated and dried flies were dusted with Silicon all the results were as good as using a new fly with liquid floatant.
Okay so the test report is a bit rambling , but after checking the above results with a bit of riverside checking over the last month or two this is my conclusion..
1, With CDC floatant its all about getting the amount you use correct, this is influenced by lots of things , Consistency of the product , The thinner ones were harder to apply correctly, the key is having a greasiness between your fingers and then massaging the feathers if there is a real wetness then you have to much , I found the Trout hunter , Gulff , Veniards and Loon Lochsa were on the thin side . The Gulff Nozzle was well designed and helped. The loon nozzle dispensed to much to easily. The Hends and Guideline were good but a little to stiff , after they spent a few minutes in the fridge they were very hard to dispense , not ideal for cold days .
2, The best and easier in the field for me are the Miracle float and the red Mucilin which surprised me but to me performed as well as anything as long as the user has a feel for the right amount to use , which is the key to using any of them successfully .
3. Once you have your fly treated initially the key to success is not treating the CDC with more floatant but it is to dry it with Amadou or kitchen roll. ( The bamboo kitchen roll stuff is best ) or use the elastic band twang trick. just dry and the apply silicon powder to the fly I have caught up to a dozen fish on the same fly by just washing of the fly and going through the process. Doing this test has reinforced what I had been doing for years and it appears that treated flies once drowned and dried seem to retain a slight stickiness which enables the Silicon to stick to the CDC fibres . They work better than flies that had not been treated .
4 . So my recommendation would be to use either red mucilin , miracle float or guideline. But indeed most of them work but some are just a hell of a lot easier to apply correctly. Each perform slightly better as temperature varies ,. Personally I shall use the red mucilin. The other treatments may well end up in the Christmas raffle at my local club.
So.... A new fly should be treated with floatant then after a few casts or when it is drowned, dried and have Silicon powder applied . I think that reapplying floatant is counter productive , If you have never used any CDC treatements before most will work but the Miracle float and guideline are a good consistency to allow the right amount to be dispensed easily. If you are used to CDC then I think any will work although a few of the thinner ones were impossible for me to apply correctly ..
This is CDC that has been treated with floatant then fished and dried and had powder re applied
CDC fly with Silicon powder which clearly clings to flies that have been treated and dried. This is after a few fish and a lot of fishing.
Underneath Untreated CDC fibres
I am sure people will read and disagree, but the key is like a lot of things its not what you use but how you use it. Incidentally I have been using Silicon powder from the internet for years just filling up the old bottle . If you want to know what I buy then feel free to PM me .....