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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've finally got my copy of "Tube Flies, A Tying, Fishing & Historical Guide" and I'm looking for a source for inexpensive tubing. I managed to get some flexible tubing at a local hardware store but it is a little big. I also got some small tubing by cutting the ends off some plastic q-tips.

I tried just about every shop around I could thing of. Craft shops, medical supply, I even went to Walgreens. No one sells tubing. Where do you get your tubing?
 

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Mr. Mom
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baldmountain said:
I've finally got my copy of "Tube Flies, A Tying, Fishing & Historical Guide" and I'm looking for a source for inexpensive tubing. I managed to get some flexible tubing at a local hardware store but it is a little big. I also got some small tubing by cutting the ends off some plastic q-tips.

I tried just about every shop around I could thing of. Craft shops, medical supply, I even went to Walgreens. No one sells tubing. Where do you get your tubing?
Go search under tube or "tube source" over on the flytalk board. I posted a year ago (maybe more) with the item code for some nice tubing available at NAPA auto parts. Or call the nearest truckstop and ask for 1/8 inch spaghetti tubing.
 

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B-Mountain,

Have you contacted your local fly shop about the tubing available from HMH/Kennebeck River?

Also, Jack Cook of Steelhead Anglers has a complete line of tube fly components from Jurij Shumakov.

Igor
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Just got back from the local shop where I managed to find a HMH Tube Fly Starter kit. Has the vise adapter, a bunch of different tubes, (plastic, aluminum and brass), and a sampler of Daiichi hooks all for the princely sum of $8.

I'm all set to tie bunches of tube flies. :D

WooHoo!
 

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Kudos on your starter tube fly kit!

The Mandrell & Johnson book you spoke about should provide you with some bare-bones basics about dressing a tube fly. Keep in mind that the book is somewhat dated - the tying too is IMHO quite 'ordinary'.

When you're ready to dive in to more creative (yet still practical) tube patterns, I highly recommend Ken Sawada's book on Tube and Wandington flies.

Have fun!

Igor
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Igor said:
When you're ready to dive in to more creative (yet still practical) tube patterns, I highly recommend Ken Sawada's book on Tube and Wandington flies.
Thanks for the pointer. I had a look at Ken's website. He has some neat designs. Although it looks like I'll have to order the book from Japan. :(

At this point I was interested in learning the basics. Since there isn't any salmon or steelhead water around here I was planning on experimenting with bass bugs, and streamers that I can use locally.
 

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Tubes I use:

5/32 copper and aluminum tubes that are avail in any hobby shop that carries K&S metal tubes ( do a search on the net and I am sure you will get a ton of hits for K&S Metal tubing). They are 12" long and run at about $1 each. I then line these with 1/8 ID black automotive air brake line. It is about 20 cents a foot.
I use the metal tubes if I need the weight to get the fly down, otherwise the air brake tubing is fine on its own...and a lot less work than making metal tubes.

Line the metal tube with the air brake tubing, and leave the front end of the air brake liner about 1/16th of an inch longer than the metal tube. Heat the air brake liner tube carefully with a lighter and the result will be a beautifully rolled back lip that rivals factory made tubes.

I leave the rear portion of the liner tube about 1/4 " long and roll the end back with a lighter, this creates a bit of a barb for the hook holder or junction tube.

I then take a short piece of medical IV tubing and slip this over the rear of the liner and bind it down onto the liner tube, with tying thread.

One thing I did forget to mention was how to cut the tubes to length.

After much tinkering around I found that a mini tube cutter is the best way. You can find these in any hobby shop or a hardware store. They are simply a mini version of a common pipe cutter that plumbers use......Forget using a hacksaw....it only makes burrs in the tube that are difficult to remove.

For Metal Tubing

The important part about using the cutter is NOT to go all the way through the tube , as it creates a narrowing of the tube wall. What you want to do is to use the cutter to simply score the tube. I adjust the cutter so it makes contact with the tube wall. Then tighten the cutter wheel lightly on the tube, rotate the cutter until it rotates freely without any drag, then adjust it once more and take another couple of turns.

Now stop cutting....remember all you want to do is score it....much like cutting glass. Then I place both thumbs on opposite sides of the score line and gently flex the tubing back and forth
( works best on copper) until it snaps cleanly. If you have made too deep a cut you will need to ream out the cut end. I simply use my scissors in a closed position. Insert the tapered part of my scissors into the narrowing of the tube and lightly ream out the mouth of the tube until the liner fits nicely into the metal tube.

Cutting the Air Brake Tubing: Is done with a safety razor blade; cut it perpendicular to the length for a nice clean, square edge.

By the way ...the liner is Air brake line tubing found in any good automotive store. I use LORDCO here in BC Canada ( not sure if you have that store in the U.S or not). If the parts guy is having a hard time understanding what you need , tell him it is the same line used in the tractor trailer transmission shifters, for the big rigs that use air shifters in their tranny's. It is black, is 1/8th inch inside diameter. Don't get the clear it doesn't melt as nicely as the black.

Also the IV tubing is the best that I have found for making the junction or hook holder , especially when making metal tubes. The reason being, it is very thin walled and it will match the metal tubing diameter exactly without a big lump as you will get if you use air line for aquariums. Makes for a very even body on the fly when finished.
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Norseman said:
Tubes I use:

5/32 copper and aluminum tubes that are avail in any hobby shop that carries K&S metal tubes ( do a search on the net and I am sure you will get a ton of hits for K&S Metal tubing). They are 12" long and run at about $1 each.
I bought a bunch of 1/8" aluminum and brass tubing a a local hobby shop. Yup, about a $1 each. For plastic tubing I'm just using plastic qtip sections.

Norseman said:
One thing I did forget to mention was how to cut the tubes to length.
I cut a bunch of 1" and 1.5" aluminum pieces using a dremel tool. I then used a emery board to knock of rough edges and a small phillips screw driver to clean up any burrs on the inside.

Since I'm using such small tubing I may not be able to line it. What I was planing on doing was dipping the ends in 5 minute epoxy and inserting a dubbing needle in the hole once the epoxy has setup but before it hardens. This will give me a little lip at the end and I won't have to worry about lining. I tried head cement but that doesn't seem to work. (I snapped the fly off on the first or second cast. But that may be a technique problem rather than a tube fly design problem.) If the 5 minute epoxy doesn't work I may just buy HMH tubes and be done with it.

By the way. I like the way a 1" piece 1/8" aluminum tubing reacts in the water with a bucktail tied to it. Very nice intermediate sink.
 

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I'm tickled that you're venturing in to a very effective and creative method of tying. Please feel free to e-mail or PM me if you have questions.

Geez, I can't believe I spelled Waddington wrong.

Igor
 

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baldmountain

I do not think you will be happy with the q-tip tubes. The ones I have used have been very fragile. I have been much happier with the 1/8 in od brake line or the hard plastic commerical stuff. I spend enough time that I want a fly to last, at least till a fish has a chance to taste it.

I have found that the unlined metal tubes chafe the leader, at least for me, and weaken it.
 

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I do not think you will be happy with the q-tip tubes. The ones I have used have been very fragile.

Boy I agree with Ted's statement. My "wham bam" style of spey casting used to turn those Q-Tip tube flies into 4 or 5 pieces. They were great to practice on though and I had a blast with them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
t_richerzhagen said:
I do not think you will be happy with the q-tip tubes. The ones I have used have been very fragile. I have been much happier with the 1/8 in od brake line or the hard plastic commerical stuff. I spend enough time that I want a fly to last, at least till a fish has a chance to taste it.

I have found that the unlined metal tubes chafe the leader, at least for me, and weaken it.
The Q-tips seem to be working OK for me. But I'm throwing them pretty gently and not very far. I'm also not tying regular tube flies. Mainly standard streamers and a bass bug ot two. But I haven't gotten to use them enough to really decide if they will work or not.

One of the other things that is nice about the qtip tube flies is you can throw a good sized one with a 4 wt single handed rod. :D

I do agree about the unlined metal tubes. Doesn't work. The epoxy idea isn't working either. The epoxy dries hard and cracks off easy. Whatever doesn't crack off catches on the leader. Lined metal tubes are the way to go.
 

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geoff

I think I remember someone saying they used a hotmelt gun, put a dab on the end of the metal tube, then used a needle to open the space before it cooled completely. A hot needle would also open for the leader.
 
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