Rigging Tube flies so you don't lose them when you break off the hook.

Paul Huffman

Driven by irrational exuberance.
I'm still not sold on tube flies. I still like tying my big flies on a shank with a dropper. One of the advantages proponents claim for the tube flies is you can replace the hook if the hook gets damaged and keep on fishing. What happens to me is when I have to break off a hook, the fly goes with it. Is there an easy way to rig a tube fly so it isn't just slide off the leader when you break off the hook?
I have been using prefab bobber stops for this for several years now and they work well for the task. On tandem tubes I put the bobber stop on my line just behind the front tube and on non tandem It may have to go right above the terminal knot snugged just inside the junction tube. They work to keep the fly on about 3/4 of the time and this probably depends more on how you are snagged. If you are snagged on the actual hook your will be fine.

There is user experience required to get bobber stops to the correct tightness so they don't damage your leader and they also don't move. You will probably be frustrated at first.

Also, it is complicated rigging them at the river so I have a leader board with all my tube flies pre-rigged so I don't necessarily have to deal with this crap while fishing.

I should also say that I am still not so sure where I stand on tube flies. It seems like so much extra effort for what I am not sure is much benefit. I still like a box of flies with actual eyes and I can just grab one that looks good and tie it on there. I have experimented with leeches tied as tandem tubes and leaches tied with a loop of braid and the action looks the same to me.

As I am sure most of us know, this sport is about finding steelhead and understanding their behavior. The rest is the easy part and thus I find it tough to stomach over complicating my flies and tackle. However, I do hate losing a beloved fly tied on a tube or not and I see this type of bobber stop system to be one of the true benefits of a tube fly.

Hillbilly Redneck

wishin i was fishin
What HBW said. I went on a tube fly only kick for a few years but I'm just not sure they are worth the hassle. I did have confidence in their ability to hold a fish but I'm not sure it is any real advantage over a conventional fly or a shank with a stinger. Tying on a shank is so much easier for me. The tandem tubes are great if you want to fish a huge fly though. I started to get a little carried away with my tubes in trying to duplicate smaller summer type patterns. Even had a reversed spider tube. I finally came to my senses and started fishing the originals again this summer and fall.

Paul Huffman

Driven by irrational exuberance.
Those bobber stoppers tied on a little tube that you see at all the little stores where you can get tater tots, Busch Beer, and sand shrimp?

I wonder about this technique shown by Red's using a piece of old fly line.
You'd half to use a small diameter fly line so the knot would fit into the junction tube.
Those bobber stoppers tied on a little tube that you see at all the little stores where you can get tater tots, Busch Beer, and sand shrimp?
Those are the ones Paul. I would think that the home made fly line bobber stops would be much too large to work for this purpose. I doubt they would be tight enough as well. You are likely going to have lower yourself to the gutter on this one.........

You can make bobber stops from anything if you want. It is just a nail knot. Maxima Chameleon works well. But IMO, you are just making more work for yourself.

And I really don't appreciate your condescending elitist tones with regard to tater tots. ;)

Paul Huffman

Driven by irrational exuberance.
The Murdock Market has some really good tots and other glass case hot items in the morning. Gizzards too! You can tell they're good because they're all gone by the early afternoon.

Paul Huffman

Driven by irrational exuberance.
You can make bobber stops from anything if you want. It is just a nail knot. Maxima Chameleon works well. But IMO, you are just making more work for yourself.
Well, I always use a fast-tie tool, so I could whip on a nail knot with maxima with that tool. Maybe the answer is to tie a nail knot with the tag end of the hook's non-slip loop knot, just to make the knot big enough that it would not go through the fly tube. But that gets back to my other problem with tube flies. Too much farting around with them on the river bank where it's always colder and darker than at my tying bench.
There are pros and cons to rigging your tube fly hook to break off to save the tube fly. The pro is you save the tube fly. The con is you must rig a weaker leader knot to the hook to have it break off when snagged. Knowing this, I usually still rig for my tube fly hook to break off when snagged to try to keep the tube fly. I just play the fish with a little bit more caution and finesse. It is similar to HauntedByWaters rigging.

The tube fly rigging for the hook to break off is as follows:

1" - 1 1/2" of 3/32" K&S alum. or copper tubing (K&S Tubing Cutter #296, tie the fly on the metal tube first, no liner tubing yet)

1/16" HMH Micro Liner tubing (add the brass cone/bead, sharpie color to match the fly color, melt front with a lighter, insert into the finished metal tube fly, leave the rear 1/8" longer for the junction tubing to be added, don't melt the rear)

1" - 1 1/2" of 3/32" Canadian Tube Wiggle black junction tubing (cut to the same length as the metal tube fly length, slide onto the 1/8" exposed rear liner tubing)

You can also change to different size brass cones/beads with this tube fly rigging, just as long as they fit onto the liner tubing. Take the junction tubing off, slide out the liner tubing, change to a different size brass cone/bead and put the tube fly back together.

The leader rigging for the hook to break off is as follows:

10lb. - 15lb. Maxima UG

#4, #2, #1 Owner Mosquito (black light wire hooks, may bend out on snags also)

With the main leader tie a 2 turn Improved Clinch knot to the hook eye and leave a 1/8" tag. A four turn Improved Clinch knot tends to be too strong sometimes, but if more strength is desired use 3 turns.

Then take a 6" piece of 8lb. Maxima UG and tie a 3 turn Uni Float Stop knot on the main leader above the hook, tighten using saliva, to not burn the main leader and leave 1/8" tags. Adjust the distance between the hook eye and the Uni Float Stop knot, to the length of junction tubing being used. Pull the Uni Float Stop knot into the junction tubing to butt up against the end of the liner tubing and the hook eye just inside the back edge of the junction tubing.

The 2 turn Improved Clinch knot will usually fail/break off when snagged, leaving the Uni Float Stop knot still on the leader with the tube fly.


David Dalan

69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E
Tubes only make sense to me if you swinging high and wide. Once the weather cools and it is far more practical to swing deep and slow, they just don't seem to be the best tool for the job.

In full dicslosure, i've tied bunches, but never fished them.
Hey Gray Ghost, I simply use a non-slip mono-loop on the end of my pre-tied leaders to loop them onto my sink tip in an instant. In my experience, this loop knot is stronger than the improved clinch knot thus it always breaks at the terminal end.

The Non-Slip Loop knot is the strongest loop knot I know, I use it on all my regular fly hooks. I seriously can not think of a time it has failed me, super strong. Way too strong of a loop knot to consistently break off at the hook eye.

I tested all the loop knots I know for the hook to intentionally break off at the hook eye and the only one that was weak enough for semi-consistent break offs at the hook eye was a 2 turn 1/4" long Uni Loop knot.

I wanted a knot to the hook that was strong enough to land the fish, but would fail/break off right at the hook eye when snagged, leaving most of the leader below the Uni Float Stop knot and the Uni Float Stop knot itself. A 2 turn Improved Clinch knot has been the most consistent for me for breaking right at the hook eye, but still plenty strong enough to land most fish if played accordingly. If I want to increase the knot strength just a little, I'll tie a 3 turn Improved Clinch knot. I'm more inclined to do so with 10lb. versus 15lb.

I use tube flies for the majority of my fishing. For me, it's a cheaper alternative to spending $14.75 on a 25 count pack of single size TMC 7999 hooks. So if I do loose a tube fly, it's really no big deal.
I use bobber stops (the rubber ones pictured) in a couple scenarios. I tie all my intruders on waddingtons and rig them by passing my line through the eye, along the body and out the back eye. A small piece of junction tubing is pulled snug onto the back ring, add a bobber stop and then tie the appropriate size mono loop to attach my stinger. Without the bobber stop the knot can slip through the junction tubing and draws the hook tight against the shank. No problems with this rigging.