Alt. sources for tube material [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Alt. sources for tube material

11-11-2003, 04:03 AM
Two of my sources have run dry for alternate tube sources. I had a hobby shop and an autoparts store I used to frequent that had great plastic tubing for this. Just needed to heat up and straighten. But both stopped carrying it in the diameter I used. Does anyone else have other shops they frequent that carry viable alternatives? I may just have to break down and buy the one's made actually for tube flies. I just like custom cutting (some places I know they sell the tubes so you can cut).

Any help would be appreciated. Heard about the qtips and such. But the one's I've tried were a bit brittle for me. But, have heard their are some that work great. I mostly use the "saltwater" diameter tubes.

11-11-2003, 12:30 PM
on what you're looking for.

I've got a North End hobby shop that has the plastic tubing I like, but it comes in a "kit" for radio controlled airplane cabling. It's called "goldenrod", and it's a slightly flexible golden yellow plastic tube that resists breakage and is the smallest OD I could find.

That being said, I tie most of my tubes these days on very narrow OD brass tubes also available at that same hobby shop. About the same OD as the plastic, I have to cut each tube to length and smooth/polish using a Dremel tool and assorted attachments.

Sounds more involved than it really is - I can probably finish 2-4 tubes in less than 1 minute.

The advantage to brass is that, for everything except pure floaters/skaters, I want the fly BELOW the surface of the water. Unfortunately, when tied on plastic tubes, most flies tend to skate in all but the gentlest of currents.

This doesn't really matter if you're fishing a sinktip, and I still tie all my Intruder-like flies on plastic tubes. These narrow brass tubes seem to give the fly about the same density as a moderate wire conventional hook.

Happy Searching!


11-11-2003, 01:42 PM
Medford, OR carries all this stuff in several different sizes in white plastic, alum., and brass. If you need a mini-tube cutter for this, it runs about $5.00. I'd also recommend a reemer (another couple of bucks) to 'de-bur' your cuttings.

The tubes are all a foot long and several don't weight 'jack.' The mail bag will cost more than the postage.


Let me know what you need and I'll ship it up to you in a couple of days.

11-12-2003, 01:47 AM
I need the plastic one's. Mostly because I'm selling a TON of these to gear guys. They're driftfishing the tubes and are making a killing on them. So floating is good, since they have a weight.

I have plenty of access to the brass and copper tubes. That is easy. But the two shops I picked up the tubing from don't carry the stuff I want. Was given a link. May try that. I just want long tubes that I can custom cut. Most of the ones you buy from fly shops (which I can buy wholesale) come in premade lengths. I did get a message about a link to a place. So gonna try them out. But I know most of the good hobby shops in south sound are disappearing.

Once I'm healed up, and get another spey rod (had to sell all three of mine off thanks to my injury) will be tying up a ton of tubes for them. I love fishing them on the spey rod.

11-12-2003, 08:45 AM
I have no idea why you are having trouble finding "plastic" for tube flies.ANY primary research on the internent will show a huge # of suppliers.Just find the nearest supplier of plastic products nearest to you .Johnson Plastics are great to deal with and will entertain small orders.Just ask for Polyethylene tubing in the I.D.andO.D. sizes that you require.If they DO have the "high pressure" variety that's the one to order !
If you know anyone that works in a medical research lab.Eppendorf disposable tubes( I believe they are used on centrifuges) are IDEAL for what we need !! However they come in batches of 5000 + :whoa: But you DID mention industrial quantities
BTW if you do buy any of the eppendorf tippet tubes I'll buy 100 of ya !!!!

11-12-2003, 09:25 AM
I followed Tyler's advise who said that 'leftover' tips from rod blanks make for wonderful tubes. Most of the custom rod builders I've quickly befriended will gladly trade their scraps for fleas...or beer.


11-12-2003, 03:47 PM
The problem I had (and did internet search) was finding WHAT material the tubes I had were made from. Wasn't exactly sure. I had a company send me some samples, and come to find out what I thought were the tube material I wanted was a harder/brittle material. Was poly too. But makeup was stiffer and would crack. I'm a "feel and see" type to make sure i'm getting the right stuff. Don't want to make a huge order and then find out I have a few thousand feet of what I won't be able to use. Plus, I'm sure if I buy in bulk, there would be PLENTY of people who wouldn't mind buying some cheap. Now would there? :D ;)

11-12-2003, 05:16 PM
1/8 od black tubing from the auto supply works great for tube flies. Any auto supple should be able to get you all you can use.

11-12-2003, 05:58 PM
The auto store I went to switched to a new type of tubing. Is more limber and not very strong.

When I get a bunch, you're more then welcome to as much as you want thanks to your generosity to me. Have a couple people who have sources for me I'm going to look into.

11-12-2003, 06:18 PM
Go to any class 8 truck dealers parts counter, (Freightliner, Mack, Peterbuilt, Volvo, or Kenworth) and ask for spaghetti air line. You should be able to get it in black, red, or white.

11-13-2003, 09:59 AM
Go to the NAPA auto parts Website and search for "Balkamp". You'll come up with a bunch of tubes. Just sort through them till you hit the 1/8 inch O.D. It's clear, flexible (not too flexible) and works great on Renzetti tube vises. Two problems, are it's more expensive than spaghetti line, has black writting on it, and worst of all, you can't buy it online, you have to go to the store (call first, they may have to order it). Also search for one of my posts on tube material if you do want the black spaghetti line. I put up the NAPA auto parts sku, company name and parts number on that post.

Good luck. And let me know when you're ready for rods if you like old sages (7136, 9140-4). I may have some I'm looking to pass on and we may be able to agree on a price ;)