There are many types of fly floatant on the market, but only one type floats head and shoulders above the rest; Loon Aquel – sex in a bottle and quite literally as it happens.
Although it's main marketed benefit is a consistent viscosity no matter what the air temperature (in other words it won't run all over your fingers in mid-summer and it won't get stuck in the bottle in the snows of winters either – this writer can't verify that last claim by the way. I suppose I could just stick it in a fridge and see but I can think of no practical benefit for my floatant remaining fluid if the lake is frozen; my fly will always float under such circumstances); no, my main reason for using it is pheromones.
Now call me a sucker for these little things if you will, but I'd buy anything that contains "scent-masking pheromones". I notice that their current website doesn't mention this attribute and I have never heard it stated what type of pheromones they are using nor by what complicated means they are using to achieve this (I'm hoping the old-fashioned way).
There are quite a number of other (silicone based gel) floatants similar to Aquel. Gink was the first I came across some fifteen years ago. I remember how much influence that stuff played on our flyfishing. Back then stillwater dryfly was in it's infancy. We were playing around with hackled flies, but Gink forever changed all of that. Here was a floatant that could keep a hackle-free fly in the surface film. We invented new works… "ginking" and "ginked" (notice how we never said "gunk"). Gink I believe was responsible for the stilwater dry fly revolution of the late 80's and not the competition scene, they just popularised it.
Gink was good. Aquel is better. I've been using this kinky stuff for about five years now (ever since my Guide Flyfishing days) and although I've tried the others, this is without doubt still the best around.
One of the major strengths of this type of floatant is that you can apply it directly to the parts of the fly you wish to float and leave the rest to sink.
For instance let's say that you're using a Klinkhammer: place a small drop of Aquel onto your thumb and using your thumb and forefinger apply only to the hackle. Now you have a fly that will float half in/half out the surface film.
A really good tip by the way is to apply floatant with one hand and sinkant with the other. I don't know how you tie your knots, but if like me you hold the tippet material in your left hand and the fly in your right, this should tell you everything you need to know – otherwise email me for directions :-p
Loon Aquel cost £3.95 per bottle and you can buy a suction cup clip holder to go with it for four quid. They call it Bottoms Up, which is ironic since I lost my last one Down Under.