Tying Has Gone Down the Tubes
|Tube fly, popper style|
Besides an excuse to buy more fancy tools and materials, there are some definite advantages to tube flies -- regardless of the specific patterns you'll be whipping up.
First off, and this is the biggest advantage from my vantage point, you can tie a fly with a much bigger and longer profile without adding the weight and worry of a large hook. For me, it was the need to cast some bigger salt-water poppers. When I got into the size hooks that would match the big poppers, I was looking at something that turn my popper into something akin to a hand-grenade (not to mention the cost of the bigger hooks). With tube flies, on the other hand, you can really mix and match the sizes and hook types since you're not constrained to have to build the fly onto the hook itself. You can create enormous profile flies and pair them up with smaller hooks that will still pierce flesh and land even the biggest fish.
|Baby brown trout tube fly|
|Purple Midnight Fire Streamer|
Not only will the shorter hook shank reduce leverage, the hook will often separate from the tube when fighting a fish, which keeps it out of some gnarly mouthfuls of teeth. Even if the tube doesn't separate from the hook, you can easily slide it out of the way and remove the hook without fear of damaging a nicely tied steelhead or salmon fly in the process.
|Weedless hook on a Deflectinator|
And last but not least, because I can keep my tube flies stored without hooks, I can literally stick a pack of hooks and a bunch of tube patterns in my pocket and not worry about having to throw them into a box. In fact, my tube fly "box" is officially a ziplock bag that I can store almost anywhere without taking any space. Cheech makes fun of my "box".
|Baby bluegill tube fly|
Now that you're familiar with some of the concepts, part II will take a look at the tying aspect (which is all we really care about anyway, right??). Stay tuned...