Monday, January 28, 2013

Class A

On the face of it, you could argue that arranging to import a large plastic tub of fine white powder from the States, might not be the most sensible thing to do; and with hindsight I'm probably lucky that I didn't receive a visit from the customs officials. I suppose that's the price you pay for being a borderline obsessive fly fisher.
Either way, after a wait of two weeks it's now in my possession: not a sniffer dog exciting supply of 'beak', but a quart of something much more valuable - hydrophobic fumed silica powder!

For those of you none the wiser, I'm talking about the same stuff which is sold in miniscule bottles under the brand name 'Frog's Fanny'. It's a dessicant, a 'drying out powder' which is the absolute business for reviving waterlogged dry flies, particularly cdc based ones. Personally I swear by the stuff and have done for a few years now. It converted me from an angler who detested the high maintenance nature of cdc flies and steered clear of them wherever possible, to someone who now has dozens of 'duck's arse' patterns in the box.

In fact I now actually look forward to the inevitable waterlogging of cdc patterns, for it allows me the opportunity to work through the little ritual of unscrewing the lid of the FF bottle, withdrawing the brush and applying the magic dust to my sorry looking fly, all the time marveling at the amazing properties of rejuvenation it affords. It is truly a 'phoenix from the flames' moment every time; if it had a theme tune it would be Ride of the Valkyries.

Of course the Frog's Fanny people know all this and they consequently position their product at a similar pricepoint to ambergris. I get through a bottle of the stuff every season or so and at £7.50 in my local tackle shop, it's not going to affect my mortgage payments. Still, I can't help but feel as if I'm being 'done up a kipper' every time I pick the nearly weightless bottle up off the shelf and transport it to the counter. If I have - God willing - another 40 fishing seasons ahead of me, it's going to cost me at least 300 quid, and that's without inflation!

Luckily salvation is at hand in the form of an Ebay trader named Troutful. I was put onto the case by Richard from Dry Fly Expert blog and immediately got my order in. Our saviour Stateside has sourced bulk quantities of the same raw material - the hydrophobic fumed silica - and supplies it in quarts for the approximate equivalent of £16 delivered to UK. He claims one tub will fill a FF bottle sixty times over and having got my mitts on one, I've no reason to dispute that claim. That's just about a lifetime's supply for me I reckon, and a joyous 27p every time I refill -  a big middle finger to The Man!

I haven't formally tested the stuff yet, but to all intents and purposes it appears identical to the Frog's Fanny, and if it's good enough for Richard, then that will do for me. If any of you fancy checking it out and causing a bit of ruckus at customs, then the link below takes you where you need to go. Happy snorting!

Troutful - Hydrophobic Fumed Silica


Swamp Yankee said...

Damn that's a lot of frog blow! -Think you're good for life. haha

David said...

I has seen it advertised on ebay but always hesitated from buying white powder from another country. Now you've taken the plunge I'll follow.

Dan Price said...

I feel exactly the same!! Absolutely brilliant stuff but far too expensive as it is packaged for fly fishers.

I found a slightly different solution.

This stuff is used by archers to keep their feathers dry in the rain and is exactly the same. A £5 quid tub has enough to last me many many seasons in (it has filled up my FF tub three times and atleast 3 others for mates and has not noticeably gone down at all yet!).


Andy said...


I bought from this guy about a year ago. Just a tip push the empty bottle down into the stuff and use a pencil to push powder into it. I tried a couple of ways to fill the bottle without success was like trying to carry an octopus in a string bag.


Matthew Eastham said...

Thanks Gents!

Dan - very interesting, I might invest and see how it looks. Never knew there was so much to archery!

Andy - yeah I sort of came to the same conclusion. Just opening the lid was like releasing the curse of the Ark!


Alan said...

Hi Matt
Thanks for the helpful steer on this. Have just placed my order and will await the knock on the door from the boys in blue!