Understanding the Turmoil of Tube Flies

Published Aug 16th 2007

The concept of tube flies is fairly well known, but we still get questions about the basic ideas as well as some of the new tube systems. This theme tries to answer them.


Orange and black fly with beads - In stead of a rear tube this fly has four beads.
Orange and black fly with beads

This tube fly theme has been divided into these sections:

Tube Basics
An introduction to the concept of tube flies and some arguments for using tubes rather than hooks.

Tube Style Plate
All kinds of tubes in an overview. Want to get an idea of the richness in the tube fly world? This is one place to look.

Tube Styles
Trying to grasp the many different styles and types of tubes available out there can be almost impossible. This article tries to set things straight and cover most of the tube styles currently on the market.

Tube Tools
This article dives into the different vises and tube fly holders, which is a world full of strange and complex contraptions as well as very simple devices.

Tube Tying Techniques
Tying on tubes is not unlike tying on hooks. This article tries to cover a small selection of the many different ways a tube fly can be tied.

Styles and Patterns
There are as many tube patterns out there as you can name in a lifetime, and there are so many different styles of tying. But this article still tries to bunch them into some common groups.

Tube Ressources
Want to go further than just this tube fly theme? Here are all the books, DVD's and web sites worth getting acquainted with.

Tube flies have long been stable flies for many salmon anglers all over the world, and these practical flies have also been adopted by salt water anglers in need of large flies. But tubes can be useful to almost any angler apart from those using the smallest of flies.

We frequently show tube fly patterns on the site and not rarely does that spawn some questions about the ins and outs of these flies. This theme will try to introduce newcomers to the basic concepts of tubes and pile some knowledge on top of the basics to extend a bit further on the subject.

Reasons why
There are several good reasons to tie and use tube flies:

  • You separate fly and hook. Trash the fly and keep the hook or vice versa
  • You can avoid the fly becoming a lever in the mouth of the fish
  • You can tie large but still light flies
  • You can tie some very heavy and compact flies
  • You can construct some very special flies
  • Tubes can be inexpensive (but also the opposite)
I will cover each of these arguments in further detail as we go along.

Below you see a bunch of flies tied in the traditional Scandinavian style, but tube flies are much more than that, which this theme hopefully will demonstrate. To the right you will find links to the different articles in this theme, but you can also use the keyword tube flies as an entry.

You can get an idea about the richness of tube flies by browsing this tube fly plate, which barely scratches the surface of tube fly styles.

Black Back - A black Morrum tube and some black Arctic fox. Easy-peasy...
Black Back
Copper Streak - Tied on a black Morrum bottle with a medium copper cone.
Copper Streak
Germaniac tube fly - Recognize the flag? Tied on a Eumer orange rear tube with a matching orange cone.
Germaniac tube fly
Green Finish - Fun with colors using the Finnish Eumer translucent plastic tubes and matching cone heads.
Green Finish
Lowwater Blues - A Scandinavian style tube fly tied on a blue lowwater rear tube from the Fly Co.
Lowwater Blues
Orange André - A lightly dressed fly on a Bidoz aluminum bottle tube.
Orange André

More on tube flies

User comments
From: Steve Unwin · sjfunwin·at·aol.com  Link
Submitted April 20th 2008

My brother-in-law, Peter Harding Rolls, has been a wonderfully expert and successful fly fisher all his life.
He caught some beautiful 30 lbs salmon in Tillamook Bay when he visited us in 1988. His arthritis now makes it difficult for him to tie his flies. Could you possibly suggest techniques to solve or ease this problem? If you can help, perhaps you could email him direct in the UK: plhrolls@talktalk.net. Otherwise I'd be happy to pass on any advice you can give me. Very many thanks.

From: Carlos Heinsohn  Link
Submitted August 27th 2007

Great job, Martin and GFF Staff!!
You wrote a complete book about tube flies. The best guide book we can see.

Carlos Heinsohn

From: tony lark · tonylark·at·mac.com  Link
Submitted August 20th 2007

Thanks.Just started tying tube flies. In the 20 minutes that I spent reading your " ...Turmoil of Tube...", you have given me more insight into the nature of tube tying, than the many, many, many hours that I've spent trying to get the same information from the web. Seeing all the different tube types & etc. in one place can only help accelerate one's progress in tying tubes. Looking forward to more!
Thanks, again

From: Masi Hast · masi·at·perhokalastajat.net  Link
Submitted August 17th 2007

Great! Waiting for the next tube articles :)

Comment to an image
From: Brad Hodkinson · ghostly·at·hurontel.on.ca  Link
Submitted January 11th 2008

awesome looking tube
what size is the conehead and tubing as im just staring to tye these

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