Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Joy Of Tube Flies

In my opinion, tube flies are just plain fun. I don't need any other reason to tie them and try them. I will do my best to offer the pro's and con's.


A tube fly, based on material, length and shape can be both lighter or heavier than flies tied on hooks.

A tube fly can be much longer with the hook in the back of the fly without creating damaging leverage.

The hook size of a tube fly can be changed according to situation and fish species.

You can make plastic tube flies hitch or skitter for salmon.

A tube fly will accept cone heads, bead chain and baffles with ease directly on the tube as you are tying.


Sorry, I can't think of any.

There are many different size and weight of tubes available on the commercial market. The range of fly structure is substantial. From straight style ranging in plastic to tungsten, from H.M.H., to the various shapes of metal from Eumer and ProTube, to all the different bottle tubes made in Europe. Your choices are endless.

Here is a tube within a tube constructed Scandinavian style fly that I would use for salmon on heavy rivers as well as Steelhead everywhere.

The reason for using tubes on long flies is the most important positive characteristic to me. Take a Carrie Stevens style streamer for example. These well noted and documented gems of New England lore and crafted on special long hooks were made this way so that the point is at the back of the streamer. The leverage from line to hook point caused by the long shank of these hooks is very damaging when the fish is thrashing about. A tube fly separates from the hook and causes less damage toward a live release practice. Also you will land more fish, should you like the table fare, because the leverage does not rip out the hook.

Tube flies will get weight added as you are tying the fly. Stacking cones with a palmared hackel between each is possible. With hooks you must apply the weight first and then tie toward the weight.

A tube fly is made with a small diameter connecting tube that holds the hook in place. This allows for quick change of a tail that can have different materials and colors for accent to the fly. Adding that little plume of red marabou with a bit of crystal flash just might be the ticket.

Hitching for salmon in summer is as simple as drilling holes at the side of the head and threading your leader through the hole.

I have now tied many tubes over the last ten years for Atlantic Salmon and am working on steelhead patterns to swing with an 8 weight switch rod. I will give you an up date as soon as I have a few flies to show. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

If you want to know more about tube flies please e-mail me a flyspoke@gmail.com

1 comment:

chaveecha said...

Tubes are a lot of fun, but one "con" I've faced is that they break. Maybe it's just me, but I've had most of my longer HMH tubes bust up after relatively little use. I've never had a shank break.

The other "con" in my opinion, is that most tube rigging ststems involve too much extra stuff between the fly and hook. Using ProTubes as an example, the connector tubing and hook are like a fly within a fly.

You're right--they are a lot of fun. But durability is a key factor for me.