What is Fulling Mill Fuller's Mud for?
Fulling Mill Fuller's Mud is a clay-based product used for degreasing tippet and leader when fishing dry flies and emerger patterns.
Fluorocarbon and copolymer tippets tend to be quite shiny and often float on the water surface due to the presence of oils remaining on the line from manufacturing and this makes them more visible to fish.
Fuller's Mud can be used to remove the oils and take the shine off to help make tippet and leader sink so the fly looks more natural to the fish, thus increasing your chances of catching. Most people who regularly fish dry flies reckon it's crucial to increasing their catch rate.
What's Fuller's Mud made from?
Although the Fulling Mill version is called Fuller's Mud, it's made from a material more commonly known as Fuller's Earth. This is a clay, usually made of bentonite or palygorskite, and has been used historically for lots of things, from a plaster additive to cosmetic treatment.
There are quite a few similar Fuller's Earth-based products on the market, such as Orvis Mud and Dick Walker's Ledasink, and these are often more than just the Fuller's Earth and sometimes contain other materials, such as glycerine and washing-up liquid to further aid degreasing. Fulling Mill don't say what's in theirs but is made in-house to a unique recipe.
How does it work?
Fuller's earth absorbs oils. Since tippet and leader materials usually contain traces of oils from the production process, rubbing Fuller's earth over it can help remove them. As it's slightly abrasive, I am guessing the clay particles also roughen the surface of the leader or tippet removing a bit of the shine. Whatever it does, the fresh tippet will go from floating on the surface being highly visible to fish, to sinking just below, where it's harder for the fish to see.
How do you use Fuller's Mud?
Simply open the flip-top tub, rub your thumb over the mud and then run the tippet and leader between your mud-covered thumb and your forefinger. This will smear a layer of mud over the line, slightly abrading the surface and collecting any oils in the mud. On the next cast, your line should change from floating on the surface and being clearly visible to fish, to sitting just below the surface where the fish won't see it.
What's it like to use?
This works as well as any other degreaser or leader sinkant I've used, but the packaging gives it the edge some rival products. Like Orvis Mud, Fulling Mill's Fuller's Mud comes in a compact flip-top tub which means you can open it easily with one hand and there's no lid to drop. This is very handy if you're standing in a river with the rod tucked under your armpit.
It's easy to apply a smear of Mud to your thumb and wipe it over your line. Once applied to your tippet and leader it will quickly sink and the silhouette the fish see will change from something that resembles a fly with a long thread attached, to just the outline of the fly. Like most degreasers, you'll need to reapply from time to time, but there's definitely no doubting that it works.
Is it only suitable for fishing dries?
Fuller's Earth is predominantly used when fishing dry flies and emergers, but you can use it for other things. Some newly purchased sinking and intermediate fly lines often float due to the presence of manufacturing chemicals and Fuller's Earth works just as well on these as it does on tippets and leaders.
Anglers who fish wet flies in the upper layers of the water, or buzzers and nymphs will also find it useful for helping to present them more naturally to the fish as it lets the leader cut through the water quicker getting the flies to depth faster.
How much is it?
Fulling Mill Fuller's Mud costs £3.55 and is available from most good fly shops as well as directly from Fulling Mill online.
Available from: Fulling Mill