Fly Tying – Floss for Dry Flies?

fly tying flossGuest Blogger: Clay Cunningham, Cody, Wyoming, retired National Park Superintendent

Fly tiers have a lot of choices for the bodies of their dry flies including dubbings of various fur, turkey or goose biots, stripped quills of hackle feathers or peacock tail feathers and many other sources they might choose. Whereas floss is most often used in the construction of wet flies, streamers and salmon flies, it can also be used to prepare high floating dry fly dressings.

Dry fly bodies tied with floss can easily be made slimmer and tapered, but floss will eventually absorb water and the fly will start to sink rather than float highly, which is desirable for a dry fly. The tendency to sink can be delayed with the use of a wide assortment of available powders and liquids designed to keep your fly floating.

However, there are other techniques you can use when tying your flies with floss bodies that will keep it floating high longer. First, always use something stiff for the tails. That could be caribou, elk hair, moose body hair that is hollow or the tapered artificial tinted mayfly tails which will not absorb water. Construct the fly wings from polypropylene floating yarn. Tie in a tapered small piece of floating foam behind the wing. Use the color of floss that best imitates the color of the insect you are trying to imitate, and wax the floss completely which gives the floss a sheen that resembles an insect’s exoskeleton and inhibits, if not prevents, its absorption of water.

This procedure will guarantee your fly will continue to float well even after it has been submerged while retrieving the fish you caught.

Note from J. Stockard: Find all our floss here.

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