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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, I have been fly fishing for years but there is something about floating lines that I still don't understand. So, this is probably a dumb question that I should have known years ago . . . why don't the end sections of floating lines stay on top of the water and actually float for any length of time? All of the manufacturers claim they have high floating lines, but after some time fishing the end or tip section (last 6 to 12 inches) of the floating line start to submerge. I found this especially on a recent trip using a new RIO Gold line. But it happens for me on all of my floating lines.

I have hestitated to put fly floatant on a floating line, thinking that it will erode the finish and eventually make it worse. Plus, are these floating lines? Should I be putting some floatant on the tip section anyway? Other tips or tricks?

Any input or ideas would be appreciated.

Thanks.
 

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Fly Guy Eat Pie
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interesting... i have to say, i've never really had that problem yet. I've used Rio Gold extensively on my 5wt and 6wt and all of it floats unless the current is kind of crazy or if i have a sink tip on.
 

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Long Lost Member
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How much of the tip and how much do you handle it? I think that dirt and oils from the hands can reduce the floating capability of the lines. Have you tried a very mild soap and warm water? I have lines from quite a few manufacturers and most of the time when I see the lines start to float less high on the water I wash them well and they seem to improve.
 

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Jvan,

Two things: 1) the end of the fly line has the core exposed, which is porous and absorbs water, gradually increasing its density and causing it to sink; 2) the core is the same diameter through the line, end to end, but the coating, which is the low density floating material, is thinest at the end of the line, so its specific gravity is higher, relative to the thicker part of the line, and there's no possible way for it to float as high as the thicker portion of the line.

Sg
 

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You can also purchase a floating leader segment made by Airflo that you add a tippet too. It's like having a clear floating head but much less expensive - $6.95 or so and they actually float quite well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have not been cutting the end of my line to add a butt section, but I have added a butt section to the end of some of my older lines that don't have a welded loop which may be causing them to sink some. So, in addition to cleaning my line with soap and water, I may take off some of the heavier butt sections I have added.

Thanks also for the scientific explanation (thinner coating at the end of the line) that says this will most likely not be totally solved. It also explains why the line is ok for awhile, then seems to absorb water and start to sink after awhile. Good explanation, thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Steve, thanks for the suggestion of a floating leader segment. I never knew that existed, but will pick one up and give it a try. Good suggestion, thanks.
 

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Joe Streamer
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All the ideas above pretty much cover it.

But I'll make a comment about fly line design as I have had it explained to me (correct me if this is wrong, everyone else): Floating lines are all designed to have density that is just a tiny bit bit lower than the density of water. In other words, a floating line is designed to barely float. They could expand the diameter of lines to make them far less dense while maintaining AFTMA line class weight in absolute terms, but then we'd have super fat lines that produce too much air resistance to cast well. In the extreme, you could puff up a line by injecting air bubbles into the plastic, but it would become a joke to cast.

So they're really striking a balance between flotation and other performance characteristics. In the end, at least in my experience, when a manufacturer claims that a line is the highest floating line in the history of the universe, it's actually a very small improvement over a line with average flotation. I too have noticed very little difference between my fancy new lines and the lines I used a decade or more ago.

Thus the need to keep it clean, use Airflo floating poly leaders...and learn to mend, high-stick, and otherwise handle your line to keep it up on top of the water. In the end, you have to actively manage your line while it's in play during a presentation -- for more reasons than just keeping the tip afloat. You just have to be thinking and doing with your line the whole time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Lugan - Thanks for the more detailed explanation. I was thinking that I was doing something wrong when I keep seeing the Marketing literature that says the latest line is the highest floating ever. Yet, after awhile the tip of my line is submerged. From what you are saying, the flotation is just a little bit better with each new line and that helps set my expectations. I will try the Airflo leader plus the other suggestions and hopefully get a little bit better results. Thanks.
 

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Joe Streamer
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One more thing: If fishing dries, use mono leader and tippet (or poly leader and mono tippet). Flourocarbon sinks, and that may be subtly pulling the tip of your fly line under if you're using it.
 

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Just an Old Man
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If you cut the tip off because of it getting frayed, put a drop of super glue on the cut end. It will stop it from wicking up water. And regular cleaning will also help. You'd be suprized how much dirt is on the surface flim.
 
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