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Crackaig

Starting Tube Tying

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Inspired by a post elsewhere here is a quick guide to getting started tying on tubes. For this you will only need things that most of us will have already. To keep it simple I've used a Woolly Bugger as the example fly. I doubt if there is anyone on here who can't tie a Woolly Bugger. Even if you haven't before it is nice and simple.

 

The tube comes from a cotton bud (Q Tip), with some heavy scissors trim off the ends, You can use a needle or a piece of stiff wire to mount the tube on while tying. If you are using stiff wire bend the wire 90 degrees 1/8" (3mm) from one end. Cut the tube length you want plus a little. About 3/32" (2mm) extra is enough. So for our Woolly Bugger we will want just over 1" (About 27mm). If you are using stiff bent wire cut one end at 45 degrees about 1/8 (3mm) longer.

WoollyBugger_0002_zps9deaa28c.jpg

 

Now you need a flame. Hold the end of the tube close to the flame and spin it in your fingers to produce a "mushroomed" end. WoollyBugger_0003_zpsc1416b24.jpg

If you are tying on a needle do this on both ends.

WoollyBugger_0004_zps082c7ac2.jpg

If you are using bent wire do this only on the flat end

 

When the tube is finished you will need a short length of silicone tubing to slip over the hook end of the tube. This grips the shank of the hook you will use to fish the fly.

WoollyBugger_0006_zpsdfa9030a.jpg

WoollyBugger_0007_zps237cb2d2.jpg

Leave the tubing off while you are tying.

 

I'm using a sewing machine needle as it is ideal for this diameter of tubing. Mount it in the vice, and slide your tube on. It should be gripped quite firmly.

WoollyBugger_0005_zps4bd85459.jpg

If you are using the bent wire place it into the tube then into the vice like this

WoollyBugger_0019_zps3b9ad6e4.jpg

 

Right you are ready to tie the fly. Use a large size of tying thread. Here I'm using UTC 140. If you use a finer thread you'll be winding all day. Now just treat the tube as you would a hook shank. Run the thread down in touching turns to the tail. Notice I've started well back from the end of the tube. This is the space you will need for the head of the fly. Stop well short of the end of the tube.

WoollyBugger_0009_zps17668fae.jpg

 

Now it’s decision time. Are you going to tie the tail in in a single bunch, like you do on a hook shank, or are you going to put it all round the tube. On this example I'm tying it around the tube. To get the flash into the tail I tie it in first.

WoollyBugger_0009_zps17668fae.jpg

Then the tail tied around the tube.

WoollyBugger_0009_zps17668fae.jpg

Most of you I know wind the hackle from the tail to the head of the fly. I don't! I'll explain later.

Tie in some ribbing wire and chenille and advance the thread back to the starting point. Tying down the butts of the tail as you go.

WoollyBugger_0011_zpsb46b23e8.jpg

Wind the body to where your thread is hanging, tie it off and trim out. Then take your hackle, I'm using a soft schlappen hackle because I like the way it moves, tie it in by the butt end.

WoollyBugger_0012_zpse32b1a0c.jpg

Attach your hackle pliers and wind the hackle over the body to the tail.

WoollyBugger_0013_zps4fcd7ec9.jpg

Leave your hackle pliers in place and let the hackle hang. Then wind the rib through the hackle. By tying it this way if the hackle stem gets cut by a fish's teeth the hackle will only unwind to the turns of rib either side of the cut. Not disintegrate, as hackles made with the usual technique do.

WoollyBugger_0014_zpsb5a6a0f0.jpg

Tie off the rib at the head. Worry off the excess wire and trim out the excess hackle.

I want a head hackle as well on this fly. For this I'm using a blue / green peacock neck hackle, because I like it. You should use whatever you like.

Tie it in at the head and wind it. My hackle has only enough for one turn. That is enough for this fly, with this kind of hackle.

WoollyBugger_0015_zps23cc4d95.jpg

WoollyBugger_0016_zps8fdc731e.jpg

Once this is done I build the head. For this one I’ve changed to a Fl Fire Orange. Then a coat of varnish or head cement finishes the tying.

WoollyBugger_0018_zps69484064.jpg

If you are using the bent wire mount you should now trim off the section of tube trimmed at an angle and mushroom it with your flame.

All that is left to do is slip on the silicone tubing at the tail end of the tube, and go catch some fish.

 

There are many other styles of tube to explore. This should get you started.

Cheers,

C.

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GREAT SBS Crackaig...guess what my next tube attempt will be?! :lol: Ever try to "spin deer hair on to a tube? Kind of a pain, but doable...just more like stacking than spinning...

Murray

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I've always wanted to tie tubes. This is a great SBS. Thanks. I have one question what is the benefit if any to using tubes over regular tied hooks. I really know nothing about tubes except what I just read.

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Thanks guys. Glad you like it.

 

Advantages of tubes,

You can add tubes together. If you wanted an egg sucking leach from time to time and just have Woolly Bugger tubes just tie eggs on short tubes and put them on the line first. It will but up against the head of your Woolly Bugger and you have your Egg Sucking Leach. Same for muddler heads.

 

The hook size is independent from fly size. You don't need to use a larger hook the bigger your fly gets.

 

If the hook is damaged you can change just the hook. No need to have another fly.

 

When playing the fish the tube rides up the leader out of the way. Meaning that the fish doesn't have the leverage it has to get off a long shank hook.

 

You can get much more weight in a tube than you can put on a hook. A 1" tungsten tube can be cast on light bait casting rods, they are that heavy!

 

For dry flies like salmon bombers you can make the fly lighter. Tie it on a plastic tube and use a short shank hook. Less metal in the fly = less weight.

 

There are probably more but they are few good ones.

 

Lykos, I wouldn't really spin deer hair onto a tube! Like you have found it is more stacking than spinning. Work the bunch around the tube and flar it. The outside diameter of a tube is much greater so if you spin deer hair it has much further to travel as it spins. That makes it difficult to do. Flaring the hair works much better.

 

Cheers,

C.

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Thanks guys. Glad you like it.

 

Advantages of tubes,

You can add tubes together. If you wanted an egg sucking leach from time to time and just have Woolly Bugger tubes just tie eggs on short tubes and put them on the line first. It will but up against the head of your Woolly Bugger and you have your Egg Sucking Leach. Same for muddler heads.

 

The hook size is independent from fly size. You don't need to use a larger hook the bigger your fly gets.

 

If the hook is damaged you can change just the hook. No need to have another fly.

 

When playing the fish the tube rides up the leader out of the way. Meaning that the fish doesn't have the leverage it has to get off a long shank hook.

 

You can get much more weight in a tube than you can put on a hook. A 1" tungsten tube can be cast on light bait casting rods, they are that heavy!

 

For dry flies like salmon bombers you can make the fly lighter. Tie it on a plastic tube and use a short shank hook. Less metal in the fly = less weight.

 

There are probably more but they are few good ones.

 

Lykos, I wouldn't really spin deer hair onto a tube! Like you have found it is more stacking than spinning. Work the bunch around the tube and flar it. The outside diameter of a tube is much greater so if you spin deer hair it has much further to travel as it spins. That makes it difficult to do. Flaring the hair works much better.

 

Cheers,

C.

 

Thanks for the reply. That makes sense to me now. Now I gotta get tying :)

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Great job Crackaig. I've just started tying some of my more elaborate saltwater flies on tubes. Seems that the hooks always rust to some extent, no matter how careful I am to rinse and dry - being able to change hooks is really a Godsend. :) Many thanks for sharing

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Thanks for the info and such Crackaig...I never thought about the diameter being more than a hook is and thus having to "spin' that hair further around. You are so correct it is easier to stack it and flare it. Your help to those of us new to this aspect of tying, is what this forum is all about! Thanks again

Murray

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Persist with the deer hair on your tube Lykos33. I found a tube muddler worked well this year for seatrout.

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Nice step by step. It helps me understand how to prepare a Q-tip for tube tying. I had heard the suggestion before, but really didn't get it until now.

Thanks!

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An Allen wrench, or Allen key as we call them here, is an interesting idea. It would work well with the harder tubings, The softer ones could be a problem, mind you they usually are. As you tie you may find that you bind the tube down to the wrench. As they are parallel it could be difficult to extract the Allen key after. I've found this with the soft Scandinavian style plastic tubes sold by Veniards. Once I didn't have a needle to hand and used a nail. I think the result is lurking in the bottom of my fly tying chest somewhere, with the nail still inside! On the good side the Allen wrench has flat sides so will give a good grip in the vice.

 

What pass as cocktail straws here are too large in diameter and too soft to be any use as tubes. Maybe yours are different. Ours are great for storing dubbing in though for a traveling fly tying kit. Cut into 4" lengths and sealed at one end, (hold in pliers and lick with a flame) they hold a surprising amount of dubbing.

 

Felting needles are often used to tie plastic tubes. They are available from fly tying suppliers, but at 5x and more what they cost as felting needles!

 

Cheers,

C.

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