Question for youutube fly guys [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Question for youutube fly guys

01-02-2002, 02:22 PM
From speaking with Brian (Doublespey) and reading what the rest of you have said about tube flies, I'm looking at getting a startup kit to tie my own up. What I'm curious abouut is how much shoould these starter kits go for? Say, one with 3 mandrels of different sizes, instructions, and multiple types of tubes. I haave a chance to get this system for abou $23 and was wondering if it's too expensive or not. Yes, I knnow Ii can go chea and use a nail inn my vise, but figured if I'm gonna do it, I'l go all out.

Or, if by chance you kknow where to buy a system let me know. I don't want to spend afortune, but at same time I want a decent system from get go instead of having to upgrade later. Just my opinion anyways.
Thanks Jerry

01-02-2002, 02:33 PM
Mine cost about $40, sounds like the one you describe. It's the Kennebec River model, I really like it. Of course you don't really need anything fancy as the other people who recently commented on this topic said...

(others out there, try "search" for more good posts)

01-02-2002, 03:00 PM
Hey '69,

The systems like one I have (with a small metal square that holds the mandrels and is clamped in the jaws of a traditional vise) can be had for less than $50. They usually come with 3 size mandrels and instructions. And if I was selling mine, i'd probably let it go for about $25 too.

It's a good place to start, but if you get seriously into the tube fly thing I'd highly recommend (as would others - Kush? Black Salmon?) a vise conversion kit like that offered by Renzetti. The conversion kit replaces the whole head of the vise and is a very efficient and clean system. Or just buy the entire tube fly vise. The drawback is that they're somewhere between $50 and $100 buckaroos, so it's a bit more of a committment.

Here are some options and prices - see how the kit you're considering buying compares.

Happy Tying!


Tube Fly vise options (

01-02-2002, 05:28 PM
The HMH pin vises really work, but the difference in price for the basic vs. the upscale one is the three mandrels you get. If you're not going to pop for the extra $, and have a vise with good clamp pressure, just use different sized finishing nails.

The nail heads give you the 'butting up' you need to hold the tube in place if you push the end of the tube firmly up against the jaws of the vise. What the hmh clamp does is simplify the process of getting the nail, et. al. on/off and is more secure way of holding the mandrel.

Well thinking about this you really could use the less expensive vice and the nails. Damn, wish I'd thought of that before I spent the rest of the money.:razz:

Also, most hobby stores have a ton of tubing, etc., for building tube flys, ditto pet stores for clear/stiff white tubes at far less cost. And as we've over killed the info about the plastic Q-tip bodies I won't go there other than to say you can get them in white, light blue and pink. 300 for a buck fifty 'tain't bad.

01-02-2002, 06:00 PM
I agree with Doublespey, the Renzetti system is the way to go, especially if you already have a Renzetti Traveller, as the tube fly head is relatively cheap. The great thing about the Renzetti is the rotary action which certainly come in handy when tiying grosses of Thompson Stones!

As to whether you will get into tubes - yes it will happen! The biggest thing I can point to is the beach to hookup ratio - there is a huge difference. Having just completed my 2001 records (the first year I used tubes exclusively) I can say that my traditional beaching ratio of around 50% is dwarfed by this years 82%! Enough said.

01-02-2002, 06:07 PM
Fred's right on that there are always cheaper ways to do things.

But there are prices that are also paid for doing so. I used the HMH vice for quite a while before I got the Renzetti Tube Fly conversion kit. The difference is definitely noticable!

When using the Rotary feature of this vice to apply dubbing etc you get a nice clean pivot without the metal attachments and screws that get in the way with HMH. And nails can slip out of the vise easily with the wrong pressure - not fun when you're 3/4 of the way thru a complex tie and end up chasing your creation around the floor.

Additionally, you can get caught using cheap materials for your tubes and undercut one of the big advantages this style of fly - their longevity. Several of us have tried the Q-tips for tubes and discovered they ~break~ very easily. Kinda sad when your last exquisitely tied Black Maribou GP becomes unexpectedly jointed halfway thru a run :rolleyes:

There are deals out there, and I for one love to find 'em! The comment about hobby shops is dead on - i've found great micro-surgical and hard tubing at my local hobby shop that's the best. I don't want to divulge other's stories, but I've heard entertaining tales of materials purloined from both medical and auto parts stores that attest to the creativity of our Flytalk members!

Having seen both the quantity and quality of your ties, I'd definitely recommend looking at a full vise. Hell, I'll be happy to lend you my HMH tool if you want to try tube tying for a while. It has 3 mandrels and works with any vise. Then if you like tying/fishing tubes you can invest in a good vise.

let me know!


01-02-2002, 11:27 PM
Kush is right about the hooking/landing ratio. I too was a 50% steelheader...until this season. Fishing tubes exclusively has taken me up to 70% h/l r overall. The short shanked hooks make all the difference, as does the style of hook. I experimented with a number of different hooks through the better part of the year. My h/l ratio was @ 65% for most of the season using Tiemco 105s and a few other hooks such as the Daiichi tube hooks on winter and summer fish. Once on the Thompson I switched to the Partridge Single Nordic hooks for the remainder of the season and my h/l ratio jumped to 82%.

01-03-2002, 01:12 PM
Don't think that nasty little fact has come up before. Got 300 of them yesterday ..... any of you need a supply of ear cleaners? The plastic is a light pink ..... :devil:

01-03-2002, 01:30 PM
Hey Fred,

Don't dispair - just tie disposable flies on those pink tubes!

They're also great for cleaning out the female ferrules (if you use wax) of your spey rods and other on-the-river maintenance. :eek:

And BTW - I like that cone head tube fly you posted. Just the ticket for river salmon fishing!!



Willie Gunn
01-03-2002, 03:07 PM
Hi Fred.
Look at

They seem to use Cotton Buds with no problem.


01-03-2002, 06:48 PM
Thanks for the heads up; already downloaded/printed off several of the patterns mentioned. Big Single Malt and back to the Bench tonight.

Joan knew what she was getting into with me back in 1984; zip has changed. Consistency must count for something?

01-03-2002, 08:08 PM
Will someone please explain to me why a tube fly with a short shank hook has better hooking charcteriztics than say a, chemically sharpened salmon fly hook. It seems to me the tube would be just like a long shank. Does the fly dressing come unbuttoned from the hook after a hook up?

01-03-2002, 09:03 PM
Have the Renzetti traveller will need to check out the tube fly adaptor and tie up some tubes. Sounds like they are very effective.

But how do you tie a natural looking steelhead nymph on a tube fly ?

01-03-2002, 10:14 PM
First, when a fish hooks up with a tube fly, the 'fly,' almost always, floats up off the hook and up onto the leader. Just hook and fish. The short shanked hook doesn't give the fish any leverage against the metal to tweek around with, especially given the fly 'is gone.'

Same (from all info gained) is true regardless of using a single, double (watch these as frequently they are a long shaked hook -- look to the Loop doubles to solve this issue) or treb's.

01-03-2002, 10:17 PM
Short shanked hooks have much less leverage associated with them than long shanks, so it is tougher for them to work their way out over the course of a fight. Most tube tiers design their flies so that the hook will pull free of the tube on hook up, but I haven't had a problem with LDRs even when the hooks don't pull free with the flexible tubing I use.

For stoneflies talk to your local auto repair shop and see if they can get you the plastic nozzles used for WD-40-type lubricants. I got a ton from a local shop and they work well for tying smaller, slimmer bodied tube flies.

01-03-2002, 10:56 PM
I guess it all makes sense. I used hang around fabric stores, now you guys have got me hanging out in garages and auto part stores. It keeps getting crazier.

01-03-2002, 11:10 PM
the guys & gals at the counter will look at you kinda funny initially when you tell them you really don't need all that air brake hosing for your Mack, that you're really using it for tying flies, but then they sorta take pity on you, especially if you lay it on thick about how hard it is to find this stuff. With the guys especially, mention the word "steelhead" and they get this wistful, far away look in their eyes and pretty soon they're handing it over for nothing.

Amazing how that happens...

01-05-2002, 06:06 PM
Talked to the guy who had the kit, and he made me a deal on it. Come to find out, it's an HMH starter kit, and gave it to me for only a few bucks. I think it came to $11 including shipping. Figured why not. I can't afford to buy a renzetti vise just to put a tube fly attachement in it. I hhave a griffin full rotary vise, and it works perfect for me. Hmm, maybe I should talk with Griffin about building a clip ii attachement for th fice. Hmmmmmmm, just may do thta. :)

01-05-2002, 06:09 PM
Fred- I proved to myself today that Doublespey is right about the fragility of the Q tip tubes. I had tied up some "Bead Head Wooly Buggers" on 1 1/2" tubes and I thought they were just great but each one I used wound up in 3 or 4 pieces. I guess they couldn't stand up to my bad casting. It's back to the spaghetti air line for me.

01-05-2002, 07:32 PM

Lots of nymph patterns are tied "in the round", but you can tie a "regular" fly by securing the straight eye of your hook either inside the tubing of the fly or inside a flexible tubing "hook-holder", when the hook is inserted it will rudder the fly so the wing stays on top. At first, I tied all my favourite pattens as the originals, but recently I have found myself converting most of my stsndards to in the round dressings - with no noticeable change in their effectiveness!

I think that a variety of tube diameters is key to the various body-looks that I want to create. Some flies I feel better about when they are on very thin tubing like WD-40 tubes and others suit thiker tubing. Finding various sizes of tubing is half the fun of tubes.

01-06-2002, 04:17 PM
Tyler, Are you tying your "BLACK" MARABOU G.P. and Raging Prawn in the round? If you are is there a pic of them somewhere? How are they different from the flies in the archives under Tyler's Tubes?

01-06-2002, 04:37 PM
I am a tube fly virgin. I'veheard about them but them buu m completely new to rigging them. Ii received Fred's flies in the swap, and his extra tube flies had hooks stuffed into soft plastic coatings at end of the flies. What I'm curious about is where and what type of hooks do you buy and do you add these sleeves to end of the tubes to keep the tube on th hok while you're casting them?/

Al I ant to do is tie som up, and not fiish them correctly. THankss

01-06-2002, 05:17 PM
Jerry, The Tiemco 105 in size four is a common tube fly hook that you should be able to get at any fly shop over there. If not Mark has them:
I've even used VMC size four "Siwash" hooks in a pinch.
If the tubing is flexable you can fit the hook eye right in the tube end otherwise use the little plastic collars to keep the tube and hook together while casting. Surgical tubing in a tiny size will work for a hook collar (holder).

01-06-2002, 06:10 PM

You can tie tube flies "in the round" or as traditional dorsal and ventral flies. Nymphs would seem a natural for in the round dressing as a number of famous ties like Joe Brooks nymphs are already tied this way. When I first got serious about tubes I tied my favourite patterns exactly as they had been on the hooks. With the hook inserted into the plastic sleeve or the tube itself it fished as the originals had. As time went by I have found myself converting more and more of my standards to "in the round" dressings, mostly due to the ease of construction and there seems to be no drop in their effectiveness! I do not however, like to let the hook hang free and always insert it into the tube or sleeve. Maybe this is just a prejudice from so many years of conventional flies, but I do think that the stationary hook offers a better chance at a secure hook-up.

As Dana says I think a key in tying tubes that give me the necessary feeling of confidence is the availability of tubing of various diameters. For example, my low water version of the Green-butt Spratley inspired no confidence until I found some super thin tubing to provide the thin bodied look I liked. While conversely, Dana's deadly Thompson River Stone is truly inspiring on thicker tubing (in fact I rarely fished this fly until I tied it on a tube - it didn't feel right for me - in spite of Dana's continued success with it!). We are always on the look out for any kind of tubing we can find, it is part of the fun!

Willie Gunn
01-07-2002, 01:22 PM
To answer your questions,
I choose the hooks to suit the size of the fly, but being Scottish I use trebles, not a thing that appear popular in USA/ Canada where you all use singles. I have a selection of hooks in my tin and usually just choose the one that looks best.

For the Atlantic Salmon Fly Swap I got some Jack Hilton Carp hooks which have a nice wide gape but a short length.

The plastic tails I add them after tying the flies but you can put them on in the start if you want what ever is easiest.
Aquarium Airline works well and is cheap.

Hope this helps