Wanna Try Tying Tube Flies....



I would like to try my hand at tying tube flies for PA/NY Great Lakes rainbows (we call them steelhead back east:)) and Susquehanna River smallmouth. I've been tying flies off and on for a few decades. I'm not a great tier by any means, but I know my way around a vise.

I've noticed that there are various material suppliers for tubes, tools, heads, hooks, etc., and I'm hoping that you all might save me time, money and frustration by pointing out what works and what doesn't.

I happen to have an original New Hampshire-made HMH vise, and I called the company to ask whether their tube fly converter would fit in my old vise. They were confident that it would and said they could give me some new part for my old vise if it didn't. I know there are much cheaper options than the HMH converter, but since I already own the vise I figured I might as well start there. Other than that, I'm open to suggestions.

I'm just trying to avoid buying a bunch of different stuff only to find out later that I should've gone with something else.

The Fly Fishing Show in Lancaster, PA will be here in a few weeks, and I plan to attend. I'm not sure if there will be much there with regard to tube flies, but I would like to check things out there before I commit to anything.

Any and all advice would be appreciated.

Thank you.


Active Member
i tie some of my tube bugs on brass tubing purchased at Joann's sewing store. Sink nicely and not too much lead


Active Member
Flexi needle is about the best that I've used. You can slide about any tube that you'd want to on their needles.
Second vote for the flexineedle. It's *so* nice have something that will lock every tube in place, every time instead of having to futz around with multiple needles trying to get the right fit.


Active Member
The following isn't necessarily useful but it is interesting. To me anyway.

I tie tube flies a lot. Usually with Q-tips and the HMH attachment.

But there is another way. Put a fat needle in the vise. Wax it with purple cross country ski wax. Wet it with fabric cement. Wrap the wet needle with flat nylon. Wet with more fabric cement. If you are motivated by durability now add a layer of spawn sack--if so wet that once again with fabric cement. Now tie a simple streamer on top.

Pull if off the needle with both hands. Now you have a soft flexible tube fly. Does that matter? Maybe not. It's fun to play with.
I always tied my "trailer hook type flies" (trying not to use the word intruder improperly lol) on shanks with trailer wire and preferred that method but have also been intrigued with tubes for their simplicity and ease of changing out to fresh hooks.

I tried the HMH stuff and didn't like the system. A friend showed me a little while back the flexineedle and flexitubes from prosportfisher and I have loved tying on them. Needle goes into any vice without an adaptor. Tube slides on and is secure. Narrow portion of tube to tie on to keep the fly slim but hook still slides into thicker portion at the back with no junction tubing, weights available that slide onto the tube as well as cones to finish it off. Other systems may work out cheaper to use but the prosportfisher stuff works for me.


Active Member
Should also note that the flexineedle works well with the infinite tube supply that came along with the "Bunch of Waterballons" that I bought for my girls this summer:



Active Member
Also really liking the way the Daiichi X510 "X-Point" size 4 hooks pair with tubes. Awfully hard to find at the moment for some reason, but worth seeking out IMO.

Chris Johnson

Active Member
I tie tube for most of my steelhead fishing and I like the needle better than the hmh tool, no worries about size or spinning. I tied shanks for a while, then I hooked a steelhead in the tongue and she bled like a stuck pig. Don't know if the trailer was the problem but it soured me on them quickly. On a tube the hook is fixed and seem better to me, more positive hook sets. Like pittendrigh, I use Q-tips a lot.

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