Don's Fly Tying - The Baitfish Tube


[Baitfish Tube]

The old saying, "You are never too old to learn something new," certainly proved true to me early in 2006! I have heard of tube flies now for several years and some of the inherent advantages such as the ability to use short shanked hooks for not only better hooking but also improved retention of the fish. As well, the hook can easily be changed if the point becomes dull or corroded. The other day I decided to give these tube flies a try at my tying vice and I soon found that tube flies are relatively easy to tie! I have read that you can purchase metal or plastic tubes designed just for this type of fly but I thought why not use spare materials in my basement workshop to give it a go? I therefore cut a red spray tube from an empty WD40 can into several pieces about 3/4 inch long! I knew that I needed a holder to extend the tube past the jaws of the tying vice so I simply straightened a hook, pinched the barb and stuck it into one end of the tube. Presto, a holder that held the tube securely for tying clear from the vice jaws! I am sure a needle of the correct size would also do the job. Tying the materials to the tube as explained below was easy and as I was very pleased with the result, we will examine exactly how I tied my first tube fly!


Materials

Instructions

Push a straightened hook or darning needle into the red plastic piece of tube. After securing the needle in your vice, create a long beard hackle by tying in white polar bear hair near the other end of the tube. I found that the red plastic tube could be twisted upright for this first step, then down to complete the wing on top. The baitfish wing is composed of three layers of polar bear starting with a white underlayer. Next tie in a second layer of green polar bear hair and complete the wing with an overlay of blue polar bear. The final step is to change your tying thread from invisible mending to a green rod winding thread and wind over the wing cut ends to form a fairly large green head. Oh yes, the hook! Simply select the leader size that you intend to use and tie a bait loop onto a size 2 short shank steelhead hook. Push the free end of the leader through the tube (after removal from the vice and also the needle), then a double surgeons knot to tie that piece of leader to your main leader and line! Notice how the tube fly can slide up the leader but water pressure will keep it snug to the hook during the retrieve.



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