The Cone Head Tube Fly

A brand new way of tying tube flies

By Oivind Urkedal

The usual way of weighting a tube fly is by using copper or aluminum tubes. This article shows a totally different approach

Oivinfd Urkedals Cone Head Tube Fly - click for a larger picture
The Cone Head Tube Fly is precisely what the name indicates: a tube fly with a cone head. The tying is a little more complicated, though... but only a little.

Once in a while I read about a fly that I think looks like a killer and I tie it and try it. Usually I don't have any more success than with my standard patterns. This has happened to me several times but I never give up trying new patterns (does this sound familiar?). So when I read about the Cone Head Tube Fly in an article written by Mikael Frödin - a superb Swedish flytyer - I thought as usual: "This does look interesting".
I went to my local flyshop and got the cone-heads and tied up a few flies in different sizes.

The first trip to the river I got nothing...

The next trip I got three salmon in less than 90 minutes...

No surprise that I felt that this was a special fly, and even if there where several far more experienced fishers in the river, I was the only one that got any fish. After an exciting trip like this I just couldn't use any other fly.

So what's making this fly so different from other tube flies?
Of course it's the head. By using a metal cone head you will eliminate the weight of the treble or double hook and the fly will have a jig-like motion when you retrieve it (depending on the current). In strong currents you'll have a fly that hardly ever drags. So the cone head give you "new" behaviours both in strong currents and slow waters.

Selection of cone heads
Cone heads come in several sizes and colours.
tye cone on the tube
Cone heads mounted on inner tube (left) and inserted in the "main" tube (right).

If you know how to make a tube fly you know how to make a Cone Head fly.
The tricky part is getting the inner tube to fit in the hole in the heads. I first used a paper knife to "peel" off some off the plastic to make the front part thin enough to insert it through the head, now I use a 2mm drill to widen the opening a little.

When you have inserted the inner tube well through the head, you must melt the protruding part down towards the head, making a plastic cuff. This will prevent the head to slip off the tube. Use a lighter or a candle and rotate the tube while putting the head close to the flame. Be careful: Don't get to close to the flame as it can catch fire or melt too much. Also make sure that the inner tube isn't clogged by melted plastic. If this happens, you can use a bodkin to open up the inner tube.

Insert the inner tube in the outer tube before you tie the fly. If you tie the fly on the outer tube first you will probably have difficulties inserting the inner tube due to the compression of the tube that the tying-thread makes. You can use you favourite pattern with this type of fly. I prefer using a short tube (2 cm or 3/4") and rather short wing (about 4 cm or 1˝"). This makes a small fly that will take most benefit from the weight of cone head. It will dive and jig when you wiggle your rod tip or retrieve with short pulls.

Tying the Cone Head >>>

User comments
From: Glenn Roberts · gkroberts·at·  Link
Submitted March 5th 2007

Great looking fly!! I have fished with tube flies for salmon for over 15 years...I find this conehead concept interesting...but how do you keep the outer tube connected to the inner tube?

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