Tube flys: what do they bring to the Party? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Tube flys: what do they bring to the Party?

12-03-2001, 06:22 PM
Well, I'll get the new toys ... before Joan gets the credit card bill .....

Decided to tie some tube flys but know zilch about the how to(book coming on the subject). But other than "in the round" what extra do they bring to the Party over a standard tie?

Also hints for doing it right at the bench would be greatly appreciated!

Now they're tied (looking ahead) do you fish them any differently than you would a 'standard' fly?

Thoughts from you all would be most imformative.
>=))))))'> ??

Dble Haul
12-03-2001, 08:32 PM
Fred- Although I've never tied or fished with tube flies, I can give you two pieces of information:

First, you'll need a special attachment for your vise to tie them. The name of the gadget escapes me.....:confused:

Second, one of the things that the tube fly brings to the table is an advantage for the angler during a fight. Conventional hooks allow a fish to gain a certain amount of leverage against the shank, but since the leader/tippet runs through a tube before connecting to a hook, this leverage is lost. The hinged effect can be a real boon to anglers fighting large fish.

Then there's all the history associated with these flies, but I'll let someone else get into that. :)

12-03-2001, 10:11 PM
Part of the 'order' was the vise attachment for tube fly tying. Interesting, $20 or $50 bucks, the difference (basicly?) is the 'nail' that runs through the tube. One's a bent piece of metal, the other is machined.

Good news on the 'leverage' info; hope to 'test' the info on a large fish. Typical winter run here on the Rogue will be 6-8 pounds so may have to force a trip or two to the Chetco or Smith to see if your right.

Life's a bitch, then you ....

Come on fish!!

Willie Gunn
12-04-2001, 01:30 PM
Hi Fred
Have a look at my picture under my name.

Willie Gunn tube fly.

1. Slides up line when playing a fish.
2 Tubes can be made of different materials different weights - Plastic lightest Aluminium middle Brass Heavy.
3 You can carry lots of tubes and a few of the expensive hooks.
4You can tie tiny tubes just a piece of plastic with a wisp of hair.

1 Can sometimes flip over catching on itself.
2 VGery long wings 6" or so tend to wrap round the hook.
3 Tend to be fished with Trebles or at the least doubles never seen a single.

I hope this helps

If you want a cheap and easy attachment to tie tubes just use a big blind single hook.


12-04-2001, 02:33 PM
Couple of comments:

You do NOT need any special expensive gadgets to tie tube flies. All you need is a large, long shanked salmon hook. Cut off the eye and point (optional), fit the eyeless hook in a standard fly tying vise, and then slide the tube body over the salmon hook shank. If the hook shank is too thick, shave it down with a file. If too thin, it can be built up with laquered thread. Works great.

Short shanked single hooks work OK with tubes. The European trebles with the needle eyes work best, but are illegal in many steelhead areas.

Tube flies are very seductive. Their wispy, slender shapes have that eel-like appeal that those goddam bunny leechs have, but at the same time can achieve the elegance one associates with well-tied Salmon or Steelhead flies. In fact, while most tube flies are symmetrical (that is, have no disguishable top and bottom halves) they don't have to be. Conventionally styled flies can be tied on tubes -- you could make a tube Jock Scott if you wanted -- although the traditional symmetric look is probably their most effective style.

Try 'em; you'll like 'em.

One more thing -- I used to have to write to SportFish in England for my tube tying supplies; now supplies are available in most disreputable fly shops. Ain't progress grand.

Petri heil, and all that,

12-04-2001, 04:38 PM
Great idea on the cut off hook(s) for mandrels (think that's the correct term) for different size tubes. The 'machined ones' were God aughfull expensive. Also liked the idea of the double hooks as I've found these will increase 'hook ups' greatly. (Not a fan of indicators)

For those that use tube flys in more low-clear water conditions (flows of 1200 - 1800 cfs), has any particular size/length appeared more preductive? The 'bunny stip' comment suggest the little buggers approve of this type of attractor pattern. But as I use a spey rod, should I assume a heaver line wt. is in order given the fly size?

12-05-2001, 08:19 AM
I read about tubes being tied on silicon tubing (adjust length for pattern in a snip! tied very small, about 1cm, to long and skinny for the estuary) for use in low water conditions for the dedicated tube man....


PS can ferret the article out for anyone interested...

12-05-2001, 09:07 AM
Mylo, the more good reading on the topic the better!

12-05-2001, 09:11 AM
They work great, the easiest way to cut them is to place them on a cutting surface, place a razor down on it at the point you want to cut, and roll the tube. It makes for a perfect cut. Some even melt it slightly with a lighter flame to round the edges out.

You can also find fuel lines for remote control scale airplanes at the hobby shop in various diameters and materials, aluminum and brass etc. The metal tubes can also be cut the same way but the razor won't last too long.

Although the lined tubes are better they aren't as easy to finish once you cut. A dremel tool works well but it's a lot of work.

I have been tying SW tubes for years since the coho hook up better with the hook to the rear half of the fly. Since coming to striper country, I've got some great squid patterns that are tube based. I gave my best prototype to Roop for his great effort pulling the Spring Cape Clave together, but hope to get an image of it so I can post the recipe (sorry about the delay Rich, Mark). I have been developing a new pattern on an old theme that incorporates a tube. I'll post the recipe when I work out the quirks.

A good source of tube materials is Kennebec River. I spoke with their rep a while ago, need to rekindle that conversation.

12-08-2001, 11:28 AM
Great tip on using the salmon hook to tie the tube flie. Tried some a couple of years ago with out the fly vise adapter, was difficult to tie. Will try this technique this winter.

Thanks !