Tube Fly Tying

Tying Tube Flies

Tying salmon, steelhead and sea trout tube flies on fine stainless steel Needle Tubes

I have a liking for very slimline fly bodies, particularly for sea trout night fishing but also for daytime salmon fishing. For many years now, I have fished with needle flies, the slimmest of all salmon and sea trout lures. More recently, I collaborated with Dave Wallbridge in developing micro tube flies, probably the thinnest metal tube fly ever devised, with an outside diameter of 1.1mm ( in 19 gauge stainless steel tubing) or less than 1mm (in 20 gauge stainless steel tubing). Our experiments ultimately led to the development of the more conventional, but ultra slim, Needle Tube, now produced in Scotland by Grays of Kilsyth in two diameters (1.5mm and 1.8mm) in a range of lengths from 10mm to 40mm. Held in a suitable Tube Fly Vice, tying flies on tubes can be as simple or as complicated as we want to make it. I generally like to keep things simple, rarely adding a body dressing to the shiny, silver needle tube body and most of the flies I dress for salmon and sea trout fishing are extremely simply dressed, often with no more than a fox or squirrel hair wing with or without a hackle or two up front, always aiming for a sparse, translucent, mobile lure, more impressionistic than imitative. A sleeve of  fine silicone or PVC tubing may then be slipped on to the rear end of the tube to secure a hook, be it single, double or treble, barbed or barbless.

Tying Tube Flies

A Simple Tube Fly


Tying a Simple Tube Fly on a Needle Tube - Step by Step

click on images to enlarge

Tying a Tube Fly - Step 1


Tying a Tube Fly - Step 2

Insert Needle Tube in suitable vice and tie in some hair (fairly sparsely) top and bottom, colour to taste


Tie in a doubled strand of Krystal flash and a second, shorter bunch of hair on top, again sparsely aiming for a light, airy, mobile fly


Tying a Tube Fly - Step 3


Tying a Tube Fly - Step 4

Tie in a  hackle. The tube fly might be finished at this stage, or a second hackle may be added


Tie in an optional second hackle in front of the first, form a neat head and varnish

The colours of hair and hackle may be varied, together with the tube diameter, length and weight of the tube, to create a variety of tube flies in a range of sizes, weights and styles. Below are a few more examples of flies dressed on Grays Needle Tubes, very simply and sparsely dressed for the most part, with links to pages showing detailed step by step illustrations of their dressing.


More tube fly examples can be found on the following pages, which links to a series of simple step by step illustrated fly tying sequences:

Trout and Salmon Fly Tying

Tube Flies


Plastic Fly Tying Tubes

For excellent value in plastic fly tying tubes see

Plastic Fly Tying Tubes


Tube Fly Shop