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Fullers earth sinkant paste

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Hornbeam
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Re: Fullers earth sinkant paste

#11

Post by Hornbeam » Tue Jun 15, 2021 3:54 pm

Paul Arden wrote:
Tue Jun 15, 2021 2:53 pm
It’s an interesting question. I also have also thought about it! I knew people who wouldn’t smoke when tying flies… of course one shouldn’t smoke anyway, at least not nowadays!

I’ve had plenty of refusals but none that I can categorically put down to scented washing up liquid. For the record the last batch I mixed smelled of apples :)

Cheers, Paul
The most magical present I have ever received in my life was a Christmas present given to me when aged about seven. It was a box of flies. The donor was a lovely old boy called Cyril Hopps. My parents befriended Cyril and his wife, Elsie, when we lived briefly in Sheffield in the late 1950s. The box of flies came when we had, by then, moved down to Buckinghamshire.

I remember a couple of fishing outings on the Derbyshire Derwent with Cyril and Elsie. Cyril was a heavy smoker, in the days of full-strength, untipped cigarettes and his smoking fingers were almost orange brown. I have the vaguest recollection that he once told me that he thought the tobacco scent was actually an attractant to the fish!

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Paul Arden
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Re: Fullers earth sinkant paste

#12

Post by Paul Arden » Tue Jun 15, 2021 4:13 pm

:D :D

Well that is supposedly why the Booby works. I remember being introduced to this fly around about ‘86 and was told to “cut the unwashed stocking from the crotch area!” Bloody pervert!! (Mind you he was bloody good fisherman!).

From my perspective of being a smoker in my 20s it certainly didn’t turn the fish off. Maybe it did attract them and I just didn’t know it :)

Cheers, Paul
It's an exploration; bring a flyrod.

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tomo
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Re: Fullers earth sinkant paste

#13

Post by tomo » Fri Jun 18, 2021 4:06 am

Great FP from Martyn, I've always used the commercial stuff, but would like to experiment with roll your own for differences in effectiveness with consistency etc.

Cheers!

Hornbeam
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Re: Fullers earth sinkant paste

#14

Post by Hornbeam » Mon Jun 21, 2021 8:21 pm

Paul Arden wrote:
Tue Jun 15, 2021 4:13 pm
:D :D

Well that is supposedly why the Booby works. I remember being introduced to this fly around about ‘86 and was told to “cut the unwashed stocking from the crotch area!” Bloody pervert!! (Mind you he was bloody good fisherman!).

From my perspective of being a smoker in my 20s it certainly didn’t turn the fish off. Maybe it did attract them and I just didn’t know it :)

Cheers, Paul
Well, what harm? I guess on a fishless day, with not a lot else happening, one could have a quiet sniff and (ahem) contemplate other pleasures? ;)

Hornbeam
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Re: Fullers earth sinkant paste

#15

Post by Hornbeam » Mon Jun 21, 2021 9:22 pm

If we can put olfactory distractions to one side and 'retour à nos oignons', as they say in France, I have conducted some kitchen experiments and hope to produce some more conclusive results later.

So far, I am of the opinion that the fuller's earth/ detergent/ glycerine mixtures that have been used/sold up to now are just far too thick and solid. The wide-mouthed little pots that these come in are inconvenient to use and the stuff dries out too quickly because of repeated exposure to large suface area. If the sinkant mixture is made much 'thinner', it can be dispensed quickly from a flip-top toothpaste tube type of container. The dispensing can be done much more efficiently, with both far shorter exposure to atmosphere and much smaller surface area of the sinkant preparation exposed.

I am not now entirely conviced that the fuller's earth is completely necessary, but it provides a useful thickening of the paste to make it more manageable and can possibly help in scrubbing some of the lipid and some of the shine from very glossy monofil materials. I am not now convinced that, with thinner pastes, the glycerine is neccessary, but -for the time being- I'm leaving it in my own mixtures for 'auld lang syne'. It's unlikely to do any harm.

I've come to a fairly firm conclusion that the best way of applying leader sinkant to the leader is with a really SMALL folded pad of felt (say 30 mm x 60 mm, folded in half and stitched). Larger pads just wastefully soak up larger quantities of the sinkant paste to no useful purpose. If you think about it: we're only really interested in degreasing/sinking a couple of feet of leader tippet -not wiping down an entire fish and chip shop!

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Re: Fullers earth sinkant paste

#16

Post by Mangrove Cuckoo » Tue Jun 22, 2021 2:17 am

From a chemical perspective, the formula is almost redundant. All three components are about removing oils. Fullers earth is a fabulous oil absorbent while glycerin is a natural surfactant. I expect those two were the traditional components. Adding dish washing detergent is almost overkill, but I would bet that is a newer additive since the industrial revolution. The glycerin could probably be dropped and not be noticed.

Curiously, Fuller's earth is not really all that abrasive, but I guess it is harder than mono. I have made some but seldom trout fish so I have not had much experience with mud. Does it remove the shine from fluorocarbon too?

I think I will have to give it a try on my saltwater leaders just to see what happens!
"Technique is the proof of your seriousness"

Wallace Stevens

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Paul Arden
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Re: Fullers earth sinkant paste

#17

Post by Paul Arden » Tue Jun 22, 2021 5:21 am

It certainly takes the shine off mono so I’m sure it will do the same with fluoro. I’ve always carried it with me (and used it) in the salt. I guess I just grew up with the stuff and it would be strange not to apply it. Certainly for that snook stuff I would be applying it religiously. Something I learned a long time ago was to use one hand for mud and another for gink. I use the left for mud because that’s the one I catch the leader with. I’ve never used a pad but I’ve never thought of it before :D

Incidentally if it does dry out it can be recovered with washing up liquid. It might just be me but I think the glycerine helps prevent it drying out.

Cheers, Paul
It's an exploration; bring a flyrod.

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Tangled
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Re: Fullers earth sinkant paste

#18

Post by Tangled » Tue Jun 22, 2021 6:59 am

I think fullers earth is used mostly to form a paste from the other two components. It's other assumed use as an abrasive seems to me to be counter-intuitive - it makes a translucent line very visible.

Glycerine's main purpose is to prevent or at least slow down the drying out of the paste - it's hygroscopic, absorbing water from the air.

It's the detergent that actually sinks the line by lowering the surface tension of the water that's holding it up. (Both nylon and fluorocarbon are denser than water and will sink if they can penetrate the water's surface tension.) You can prove it to yourself by getting a 6” piece of fine mono and dropping it on a bowl of water. It will float. Smear it with fairy liquid and it sinks.

We could just use detergent but without the paste it washes off after every cast…

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Paul Arden
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Re: Fullers earth sinkant paste

#19

Post by Paul Arden » Tue Jun 22, 2021 7:44 am

Bankside mud will also do the same, albeit not as effectively. A couple of times I’ve been caught out and reduced to this. I also find that the mix with glycerine sticks better to the leader. You can also use fish slime or at least we could in the past!

Jesus I’m being invaded by stingless bees.
It's an exploration; bring a flyrod.

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Hornbeam
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Re: Fullers earth sinkant paste

#20

Post by Hornbeam » Tue Jun 22, 2021 11:06 am

I think that glycerine does help prevent the stiffer 'mud' consistency leader sinkants from drying out. But if you start off with a much looser paste, made with a lower proportion of fuller's earth, that problem largely disappears.

I have used bankside mud on many occasions to degrease leaders. I'm always slightly concerned, though, that I might be rubbing the tippet with a sharp bit of grit that might nick it.

I love your suggestion, Paul, that we should use one hand for degreasing tippet and the other for applying floatant. It makes sense! :D There are several cultures/religions that stipulate the use of one hand for eating and the other for arse wiping.

I'm pretty certain that these sinkant mixtures wash off and disappear from a monofilament leader/tippet very quickly. They're not there to add mass to the leader, but to remove the oils/greases that are attracted to the lipophilic polymer leader/tippet material. There are, however, tungsten pastes used by carp fishers to add weight to braid lines so that they sink more readily. I have never thought of trying any of these preparations on a monofilament fly fishing leader/tippet. Has anyone done so?

Cheers,
Tony

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