This past weekend we did a little Pro Tubefly tying demo at Kiene’s Fly Shop Annual Expo. There was a lot of interest among anglers in tying tube flies not only for salmon and steelhead, but also for bass, stripers, and trout. Tube flies can be used for all species, it just so happens that there is more popularity in tying tube flies for salmon and steelhead. There were a lot of questions about tying on tubes and why some are better than others and so on. I figured this would be a good place to discuss tube flies and the four major players in the tube fly game here in the States.
HMH: One of the first tube fly systems offered in the U.S. HMH offers tube fly vises, adapters, kits, as well as a variety of tubes from hard plastic tubing, aluminum tubes, and copper tubes. The HMH tube fly starter kit is great for those looking to get into tube flies as you get the tube fly adapter, large and small tubes and junction tubing. While this is a good way to start, HMH plastic tube are very firm and rigid and can crack easily, especially in cold water. These are great tubes for longer baitfish, streamer, and saltwater patterns. They still work for all other style of tube flies but we have found some cracking issues in cold water conditions.
Frodin: Guideline Frodin F.I.T.S tubefly system has been around for quite some time and is extremely popular. The Frodin system uses soft plastic tubing in a variety of sizes that are meant to fit inside one another. This allows an anglers to tie on a particular part of the tubing and use the back end as junction tubing. For example, extra small fits with medium tubing and small fits with large tubing. This is a favorite system as you can tie on tubes of all different sizes and colors. One of the downsides, is that this tubing bends and twist very easily and sometimes is hard to keep longer tube flies straight/flat. The Frodin turbo cone is a favorite on these tubes to increase movement and profile in the fly.
Eumer: Eumer is a relatively new addition to the tubefly market in the U.S. Another great company that offers tube fly adapters, kits, and a variety of tubes and coneheads. Many use Eumer’s softer plastic tubing can comes in a variety of sizes and colors to choose from. Eumer’s plastic tubing is not quite as rigid as HMH plastic tubes but not quite as soft as the Frodin system. A good in-between with a lot of color and cone options.
Pro Tubefly: Pro Tubefly is the newest tubefly system to hit the market in the U.S. and they are making a big splash. This is one of the easiest tube systems to use as all the tubes, weights, and cones are interchangeable and work together. There is no need to mix and match to find a tube or cone that fits. The flexineddle is also quite nice as it has a flat side that fits right into a standard vice. No need for a tube fly kit or adapter. Pro tubefly also offers a nice assortment pack that features a little bit of all their product. For bigger flies the 40/40 tubes work great and for smaller stuff, the micro tubes and silicone junction tubing is hard to beat.
Go for the grab!