Tube Fly Questions [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Tube Fly Questions

01-11-2005, 02:30 PM
I've been tying big squid and baitfish flies for years but only beginning experiments with with tube flies, and have a few questions for you tube vets:

How big (diameter) are the tubes you use? I found 12" brass tubing from less than 1/8 to more than 1/4 inch in diameter, that can be cut to any length. Does diameter matter? I like the weight of brass for some larger, big water applications.

Do you prefer to have the eye of the hook fit into the tube so the tube sits back on the bend, or does it matter if the eye of larger hooks but up against the tube.

I read about the toothpick this always necessary to keep the tube from spinning while you fish it, or will a lead keel on the tube keep it tracking ok?

TIA for any ideas,


01-18-2005, 01:06 PM
Hi Matt,
I have tied salmon flies on tubes and I use the ones with an insert so there is no abrasion to the leader when fished. Can't help with different sizes only use the ones listed above. Maybe it is time to experiment also.
fish we must,
grizz0707 chuck

02-01-2005, 05:12 PM

I would use the 1/8 tubing and if you want to use brass you should line it to avoid abrasion. In most hobby stores you can get thin white plastic tubing that will slide nicely inside the brass tubing. Cut it with just a little overhang at each end, then gently heat the end with a lighter which flares the plastic and locks it into the tubing. Now you will not have any worries about nicks or abrasion.

If you want to have your hook secured to the tube - which I do on my steelhead flies - you can easily mount a "hook-holder" on the end of the tube. A suitable piece of surgical tubing or clear soft tubing (like IV tubing) slipped over the end of the tube - I wrap mine with tying thread as well, will keep your hook where it belongs - just pull the eye of the hook into it. As well, the flexible connection will still give you the holding advantage of a short-shanked hook.

In addition, having the hook secured usually provides enough of a "keel" to keep your fly swimming straight.

I converted to tubes for all my steelhead fishing (even dry flies) 5 years ago and would not consider anything else now. When I came out and fished with Juro, Striblue and Penguin a couple of summers ago I used some "tube - squid" (Kush's Kalamari" in the fly archives) on the rip at Monomy and they did great!

02-02-2005, 08:27 AM
Thanks for the ideas Kush--I'll give them a shot.

A friend gave me some of the plastic tubing you mentioned, which should work well.

Nothing better than when the squidhounds show up big in the rips. May can't get here fast enough!


02-02-2005, 08:36 AM
Hey Kush--

found the thread but no pic of your 'kalimari' you have one you could post?


02-02-2005, 11:21 AM

I have an image on CD - I will post it when I get home later.

02-03-2005, 01:16 AM
Here are a couple of Kalamari. As I said in the original thread, these are kind of "cheating" in that the essence of the fly is the Salmon lure called called a "hootchie". I even hesitated when I first tied them to post them due to the plastic - but after checking out some of the other creations that used synthetics - I thought what the heck.

02-03-2005, 10:55 AM
Thanks for posting that pic, Kush. They look like they would catch pretty good. I'm a believer in those rubber skirts for squid too.

Oh, and don't let any "split bamboo purists" get you down. If it catches bass, I'll throw it at them. One of my favorite patterns is the rubber curly-tail conehead pattern-- deadly on Chatham sand eels with a 600 grain line.