I believe that the signs of drag on water surface can scare fishes away.
If you touch the fly/tippet/leader - and sure you do - then some natural oil of your skin stains them, and they will swim on surface of water. As so, they will make marks on it by the drag/retrieving.
There are commercial fly sinkants (like Xink, or Xunk, or River Mud, or Line degreaser), but instead of them I was advised that use a mix of fuller's earth, glycerin and odorless dish soap for it. (Original idea from Sexyloops: here and here.)
None of the commercial sinkants are expensive, but you can do it from less money and get a lifetime supply.
Benefits of using this degreaser:
- It makes the fly/tippet/leader sinkable, and
- It takes off the shine of tippet/leader, making them less visible to fishes.
Here it is how to do it yourself, and one idea of how to take it with you.
Materials, tools needed:
- Fuller's earth, a.k.a. Calcium bentonit, a.k.a. cat litter. You can also use clay, or talcum. Although fuller's earth is the best.
- Glycerol (or glycerine, or glycerin oil). 1 dl or 0.5 US cups will do the job.
- Odorless dish soap. Just a small amount needed.
- plastic bowl
- stick for stirring
- stone mortar or unused coffee grinder
- empty toothpaste tube
- knife or scissors
- wipes or a piece of cloth
- lighter or match and candle
Step 1: Mixing
As you see, the cat litter I have is not powder, but in form of mineral nuggets. I used an unused coffee grinder to grind it into powder.
If you have a stone mortar, then it also can do the job.
Put the calcium bentonit powder into the bowl. Pour some dish soap onto it, and glycerol too. Stir it with the stick.
All the other ingredients are harmless to Nature, but use as little soap as you can to avoid water pollution.
Your way to waterside or producing your fishing equipment/clothing possibly have much larger marks on Nature, otherwise there is no need for a strong mixture to remove your skin-oil from fly/tippet/leader.
Step 2: Density / Consistency
You can make a mixture to produce a pasta-like result. You can keep it in a film canister, if you like this way.
I liked differently, and mixed it until I got a toothpaste-like mixture.
Add more fuller's earth, if you need denser mixture. Add more glycerol, if you need more dilute mixture.
Step 3: How to Take It With You
Cut the end of the toothpaste tube. Clean it with water and dry it well.
Pour your mixture into the tube. Check if you can close the opening without overflow.
If there is an overflow, then clean it (inside, outside) with wipes or a piece of cloth.
Get the pliers and the lighter. Melt lightly the plastic ending, and clench together with pliers.
You can do it with small steps, don't need to do it at once.
When the tube end is closed, check it with small pressure. If there is leaking, then you have to clean the area and melt-clench the sides together again.
You can put it in the pocket of your vest or bag.
Pour a very little to your index finger, and pull it over the leader, tippet and fly between your index finger and thumb.
That's all. The water will clean it off quickly.
I hope you can catch more fish with this.
Take your kids with you.