I was given the full range of Hunts products last year by Steve Cullen who was singing its praises and told me to give it a try. In the past I have used most stuff Gink, Frogs Fanny, Mucilin, Dry Fly Silicone and Dilly Wax. So, I was a little sceptical as to what this would bring to the party. More than a little guilty of apathy the stuff has been in my garage for over six months. A planned trip to Wherewell seemed like the perfect place to give it a run out.
The descriptions below are taken from the manufacturers website which I have to say is very clean and easy to navigate around.
Slime & Grime (£7.99) is a tub that contains thousands of super absorbent beads that soak up moisture from your fly patterns, but the will not stick to the fly. It is the perfect solution for removing fish slime from your favourite fly. The beads are non-toxic and will turn from orange to clear when they run out of life.
High & Dry (£7.99) is a pure silica powder with added desiccant. It is perfect for those who prefer shake tubs rather than brush on powder. Ideal for larger CDC and less delicate dry fly patterns. Simply leave the fly on the leader, place the fly in the powder and close the lid but don't snap shut, gently shake for a few seconds and remove. Your fly will now be coated in powder and will sit perfectly on the surface.
Hunt's Original Floatant (£7.50) is a soft powder that will keep CDC flies afloat for longer by providing a protective barrier that works in even the toughest of conditions. To revive flies, simply work the powder into the body and wings of your fly with the easy to use applicator brush provided. Remove any excess Floatant with a few false casts and you are ready to go. It can also be used to coat nymphs, that once underwater, will produce air bubbles that can look like the realistic effect of an emerging insect.
Fluff Dust (£7.99) is a pure silica powder perfect for CDC patterns. Simply place the fly still connected to your tippet into the powder, close the lid but don't snap shut and shake for a few seconds. Remove and your fly will now be coated in powder and ready to fish. Remove any excess by either blowing on the fly or with a few false casts.
Mud (£4.50) Take the shine off your line! Hunt's Original Mud is created by using a blend of natural ingredients, so it is environmentally friendly, mixed in house to create the ultimate degreasant for your tippet. This MUD should be applied to your tippet in order to eliminate any grease, allowing it to sink, and by using MUD in this way you will also reduce any line flash, allowing you get that fly closer to spooky fish.
Before we get to how the product performs I would like to mention the price point. When I first looked into it and specifically looking at the mud I thought it was rather expensive. Orvis Mud retails at £3.99 and this is my usual poison. But when I compared the two containers you receive almost twice the amount of product in the Hunts container so like for like its better value for money.
Frog’s Fanny has been my favourite treatment for a number of years and retails at £8.99. The Hunts equivalent for a comparable size bottle is a pound cheaper. I looked at some other Dry shake floatants and the Hunts products were a £1.00 less. So far, my wallet was winning, but would it do what it says on the packaging?
The first thing was to check it was still in one piece especially the mud! My biggest gripe with mud is that it tends to dry out, subsequently you are dipping it in the river trying to get some moisture back into it. The Hunts Mud was still very moist (even after the extended stay in the garage) and it was easy to remove a small amount to degrease the leader. It did not clump up and a thin workable coat clung to the leader so that you would only notice when you held it up to the light. As the leader landed on the water which was very still it only took a little time to cut through the surface film. So, a big thumbs up for the mud!
I wanted to try and give you some hard evidence as to the quality of the product so did a bit of messing around in my office with it. I used three different types of dry fly a large Jingler pattern, parachute Adams and a little CDC number. As you can see from the photos, the flies started out dry and untreated. I then gave them a thorough soaking in water before applying the various products to the flies.
Overall I was pretty impressed with the Hunts Original products, they performed as well if not better in some cases than the stuff I currently use. My favourite was the Slime and Grime, with not much effort at all it really dried the big Jingler out no problem. I was speaking to Ben Bangham at the recent London Fly Fishing Fair and he suggested that the brush on the original floatant needs a bit of wearing in. He found that rubbing it on the back of your hand softens the bristles and makes it easier for application. Personally, I thought it was OK straight out the bottle but if you are finding when you have bought this product that the brush is a little stiff give Ben’s tip a go.
Any of the products shown are available Hunts Original.