April 7, 2010

DIY tube flies for roughfish

I'm not new to tube flies, but to be honest, I haven't really put much thought into them over the past few years regarding their application to roughfish. Tubes excel in situations where you have a large profile fly and desire a shorter shanked hook, reducing the opportunity for a large fish to throw the hook by using the shank as leverage. Typical tube fly applications include salmon and steelhead patterns, as well as pike and muskie fishing. They are wildly popular in Scandanavia and have even started to gain a small following here in the States. Check out our outlaw buddy Simon's snotrocketliner tubes; they are the tits. Here's one of mine for show.

I know people like to piss and moan on online forums; trust me, I'm a moderator on several. Bring up a topic, and twenty know-it-all lurkers chime in on how much of a fool you are for bringing this up and that you are doing it all wrong. Enter the DIY tube fly. Take a look at any DIY metal tube topic online and there's always a handful of fellas telling you that you're wasting your time and money making them yourself and that you're better off buying them pre-made. Interesting notion, but who makes those metal tubes for the dealers to sell? Riddle me that asshole.

Obviously, someone is cutting up some metal tubing, whether it be copper, brass, aluminum, or whatnot, flaring and/or deburring the ends, and some even tossing in a plastic liner to prevent any "leader chafing". I've seen a kit for a dozen plastic-lined metal tubes going for $7.99. $7.99! Even at full retail art shop markup, a 12" piece of 3/32" copper tubing is still only a buck. Add a quarter at best, for a foot of hard plastic tubing from the hardware store, you could buy a new compact tube cutting tool for 5 bucks, and still come out cheaper. Plus you'd be on the fast track to making your own tubes. I even bought a piece of solid brass round to make my own mandrel for tying up some larger 1/8" tubes. Sometimes fly tyers and fly anglers just over-analyze things to death.

I'm gonna cut up some small pieces of metal tubing, maybe or maybe not line them with plastic, and wrap some fur and feathers around them and fish them to roughfish. They will sink to the bottom fast, get down low in the current, and they will catch fish. And my leader won't fall apart. It can be just that easy.

More to follow.


  1. Nice, I've been kick this idea around this winter. Haven't tried it yet, though.

    I'm sure going to try it on predator flies, though I was wondering how they would turn out for bottom dredging roughfish flies.

    Are you going to bend them to get a curved profile? Or just tie straight pattern on them?

  2. bending will be a bit tough since they need to slide on/off the mandrel to be tied on the vise. I suppose you could bend them after you are done tying, but that might damage the materials. I was mainly intending to use the tubes on patterns where a straight body is preferred, or on carp patterns like a rusty crawfish. I think that's where they are going to excel, honestly.

  3. That's what I figured. Should be great for crayfish. I'm sure it would rock for rough predator flies, it'd be perfect for fast water shortnose gar (rope would still be better on longnosers)

  4. the other issue will be finding the correct junction tubing ..lol.. the ID will be tough but well worth it ..lol.. Nice fly I need to order a hat SOON!

  5. To be honest JP I haven't tied much onto Copper & brass tubes but will be in the near future.Top tip: Use small tubes to tie your materials onto.just slide a slightly larger plastic tube on the end where your hook slides into. This way your not using large diameter tubes for your hooks to fit into.

    Wicked looking fly by the way!