Tube Flies & Leader Formula

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Tube flies can be tied on plastic, aluminum and brass tubes, just to name a few.  Tubes are available in a range of lengths.  A common size for spey casting is 1/2 inch to 1 inch long.  A 1/2 inch tube weighs 10 grains and a 1 inch tube weighs 20 grains.  When casting a tube fly, the overall dress of the fly can assist in its fishing and casting ability. A tube fly tied sparse, sometime tied with marabou, will sink faster, possesses more motion and will cast easier than a heavily dressed fly. 

There are many benefits to using a tube fly design over traditional, longer shank hooks. A shorter shank hook, like the octopus bait hook, will give the fish less chance to shake the fly out of its mouth when jumping or just shaking his head. The tube slides up the leader away from the fishes mouth, avoiding being torn up by teeth. When using longer materials, especially on shorter tubes, the fly may extend  so far back beyond the tube that when a fish hits the fly it does not get hooked.  To prevent this, use a connection tube that slides on the back of the fly to increase the distance between the fly and the hook (illustration on right).      

Leaders lengths can be a short as required or 20 plus feet.  A longer leader will help to get the fly

deeper when using a floating line.  

Use Maxima Chameleon Leader Material for Butt Section and Taper and use clear fluorocarbon or mono for tippet section. The stiffer maxima leader material will assist in turning over the fly.

Gamakatsu Octopus Bait, Owner Octopus Mosquito Hook size 2, 4, 6 Bronze, Nickel or colored hooks.

The following leader formula works well when using a floating line with 1/2” to 1” brass tubes.  Experiment with lengths to adjust for turnover.

Butt Section:  4’ of 30lb.

Section 1:         3’ of 25lb.

Section 2:         2’ of 20lb.

Section 3:         2’ of 15lb.

Section 4:         2’ of 12lb

Tippet:    2’- 4’ of 2X or larger - Clear mono or fluorocarbon

Tie on the hook with “Perfection Loop” or “Snell Knot" (basically a nail knot around the shank)

A snell knot will prevent the tube from sliding down directly to the knot and weakening it.  When tying a perfection loon, slide the tube down the leader and over the knot,  A small plastic bead can be slid onto the leader after the tube and before tying the hook, so the tube will slide against the bead instead of the knot.

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