Tube Flies are a great way to dress flies without having a large assortment of hooks. The idea of tubes came from across the pond from our European friends. When you fish tubes you pass your leader through the body of the tube then tie to the hook. The hook can be left to swing freely or, as I have done on the flies below, use a clear plastic sleeve to hold the hook in place. Tubes have many benefits. As I've already stated, you do not need any hooks to tie them, only when you fish them. You can also create a large fly without adding the weight of a large hook, or the expense of the hook. When you fight a fish the tube can slide up the line out of harms way protecting the fly itself from damage. Really, there are many advantages to tube flies.
(The province has many regulations that change throughout the season. Gear resrtictions are common. Know the regulations before you do any angling.)
Probably the most difficult thing in tying tubes is acquiring the right tools and the hollow tubes. The problem lies with getting the tube securely in the vise. Of course you can buy specific tools and tubes but that can be expensive. First I suggest you find a plentiful source for your tubes. You can use cheap cotton swabs and cut them. If you use these make sure they are the swabs with plastic sticks not paper.
Now you need a way to secure the tubes to tie on. I have a universal tube fly vise that you can use as an adapter in any fly tying vise. You do not want a very tight fit because once you start tying the the pressure of the thread will collaspe the tube some and you may not be able to get the finished tube off the insert.(experience talking)
Once you have the proper items to start, the rest is just like any other fly tying. Any fly can be converted to a tube. Experiment and remember practise, practise, and more practise.
I will mention that I found bombers on the light plastic tubes were virtually unsinkable. Give them a try and let me know what you think!
Gary Fraser, Canada, ©1999-2011. All Rights Reserved.