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Tube Flies For Stream Trout and Other Ways to Think Outside the Box

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June 27, 2013

Tube Flies For Stream Trout and Other Ways to Think Outside the Box

By Kirk Deeter

I really enjoy applying lessons learned in one style of fishing to another, and seeing what works. For example, I haven't thrown anything but bonefish flies to carp all summer. One can argue that the "Czech nymphing" rig with weighted flies and a taut line is basically a drop shot rig adapted for river trout.

On my recent salmon trip to Russia, we swung weighted tube flies like the one pictured above. The advantage of this pattern is that the brass tube body sinks quickly and evenly. Unlike a cone-head bugger or another weight forward fly, this pattern doesn't dive nose-down in slack water. It sinks flat, and is consistent when you're sweeping a run. They're pretty simple to tie. And when you fish, simply thread your leader through the tube, and tie on a hook, which snugs into the flexible plastic sleeve at the back of the fly. They're easy to switch, adjust, and so forth.

I've been swinging tube flies for trout on my home rivers since I got back. I reasoned, if a trout will eat a big Zoo Cougar or Autumn Splendor, why not one of these gaudy things? They do. Big time. Cast at the bank, let it swing through the run, and the big browns will pound this thing.

All of which goes to underscore a lesson I was talking about with Romano the other day. He told me that he had caught a handful of grass carp in one afternoon. He said he thought the reason he could pull that off was because the pond he fished has not been fished for five years. Unpressured fish get really brave.  On the other hand, showing the same fish the same bugs over and over is why we have "spooky" and "selective" fish in the first place. Sometimes, if you throw the fish something out of left field, even the wary ones can be fooled. My two cents. Anyway, it's always fun to try.

Comments (8)

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from buckhunter wrote 42 weeks 6 days ago

Crazy Charley's are my favorite carp fly. Not only are they a good pattern but they are easy to cast in the wind for the necessary pin point accuracy needed for carp.

Let's talk at fish which have been conditioned to fishing pressure. I believe this "excuse" is highly overrated and we credit fish with much intelligence than they have. I do believe that trout who live in environments with lots of food have adapted the ability to easily identify their food source. In other words, trout will not turn down a fake but rather not identify a fake as an original.

I fish in Ohio where we have only 75-90 fish per river mile and these fish only occupy 10% of the river system which make them easy to fine. Yet they take the fakes, day after day. The trout in Ohio must be more opportunistic due to the low volume of aquatic life.

This is only my theory and not scientific fact but responses are welcome.

Deeter, Loved the comment in your new book about the guys who scent their flies for carp but let's save that discussion for another day.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 42 weeks 6 days ago

Forgive my poor grammar. I'm still in the office and it's been a long day. Edit function please!

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from ejunk wrote 42 weeks 6 days ago

I've been seriously considering investing in a tube jig, but not for trout - for bass (black and temperate).

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from the Preacher wrote 42 weeks 6 days ago

Not exactly outside the box there. Tube flies were developed for trout. (and salmon in freshwater)..

Steelhead are trout, and tube flies are fished in freshwater for them. but yes, they are awesome for flowing water. Not only do they sink smoother ect, they hold the fish much better, straight from the reel to the octopus hook. J hooks on something like a big bugger, is quite easy for a fish to "roll" off of, especially when debarbed. But the best part of tube flies, is the ease in which you can switch hooks after a snag, or even loose the hook but retain the fly.

So yes tube flies work for the fish that they were designed for whether ocean going or native freshwater. And Salmon...

Outside the box isnt using a tube fly, it is swinging for trout. That is a technique that is not done enough by trout fisherman. Especially in pressured waters where they have all seen perfectly presented dry flies with an accurate drift. Sometimes ya gotta cut through the drift.

Outside the box would be using tube flies as salt water streamers, or musky lures. They work extremely well for both.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from the Preacher wrote 42 weeks 6 days ago

Not exactly outside the box there. Tube flies were developed for trout. (and salmon in freshwater)..

Steelhead are trout, and tube flies are fished in freshwater for them. but yes, they are awesome for flowing water. Not only do they sink smoother ect, they hold the fish much better, straight from the reel to the octopus hook. J hooks on something like a big bugger, is quite easy for a fish to "roll" off of, especially when debarbed. But the best part of tube flies, is the ease in which you can switch hooks after a snag, or even loose the hook but retain the fly.

So yes tube flies work for the fish that they were designed for whether ocean going or native freshwater. And Salmon...

Outside the box isnt using a tube fly, it is swinging for trout. That is a technique that is not done enough by trout fisherman. Especially in pressured waters where they have all seen perfectly presented dry flies with an accurate drift. Sometimes ya gotta cut through the drift.

Outside the box would be using tube flies as salt water streamers, or musky lures. They work extremely well for both.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dangle wrote 42 weeks 3 days ago

One of the keys for me is to have the straight eyed hook that will fit up into the tube. I use a slightly bigger tube section, about 1/4" at the end that fits on the smaller shank tube, and accepts my hook.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dangle wrote 42 weeks 3 days ago

I like to us a slightly larger tube that fits over the shank tube...about a 1/4" piece at the end that accepts my straight eyed hook(ie) it shoves up into it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from vbxtc wrote 42 weeks 1 hour ago

Not really fly related, but definitely outside the box. Discovered this trick by accident that works on trout on my favorite Maryland rivers after the end of spring stocking when the weather is starting to really heat up (mid-May-June). I stand 15-20 feet above a deep pool and cast a 1 1/2 inch lipless crankbait that's painted in bluegill colors over the downstream end of the pool. I'll pull it back into the pool, then reel it in about a foot at a time, pausing about a minute between cranks. The current gives it all the action it needs hanging in the water. By the third or fourth crank trout that by now are ignoring every common lure people have been throwing all spring will race each other to the crankbait.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from the Preacher wrote 42 weeks 6 days ago

Not exactly outside the box there. Tube flies were developed for trout. (and salmon in freshwater)..

Steelhead are trout, and tube flies are fished in freshwater for them. but yes, they are awesome for flowing water. Not only do they sink smoother ect, they hold the fish much better, straight from the reel to the octopus hook. J hooks on something like a big bugger, is quite easy for a fish to "roll" off of, especially when debarbed. But the best part of tube flies, is the ease in which you can switch hooks after a snag, or even loose the hook but retain the fly.

So yes tube flies work for the fish that they were designed for whether ocean going or native freshwater. And Salmon...

Outside the box isnt using a tube fly, it is swinging for trout. That is a technique that is not done enough by trout fisherman. Especially in pressured waters where they have all seen perfectly presented dry flies with an accurate drift. Sometimes ya gotta cut through the drift.

Outside the box would be using tube flies as salt water streamers, or musky lures. They work extremely well for both.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from the Preacher wrote 42 weeks 6 days ago

Not exactly outside the box there. Tube flies were developed for trout. (and salmon in freshwater)..

Steelhead are trout, and tube flies are fished in freshwater for them. but yes, they are awesome for flowing water. Not only do they sink smoother ect, they hold the fish much better, straight from the reel to the octopus hook. J hooks on something like a big bugger, is quite easy for a fish to "roll" off of, especially when debarbed. But the best part of tube flies, is the ease in which you can switch hooks after a snag, or even loose the hook but retain the fly.

So yes tube flies work for the fish that they were designed for whether ocean going or native freshwater. And Salmon...

Outside the box isnt using a tube fly, it is swinging for trout. That is a technique that is not done enough by trout fisherman. Especially in pressured waters where they have all seen perfectly presented dry flies with an accurate drift. Sometimes ya gotta cut through the drift.

Outside the box would be using tube flies as salt water streamers, or musky lures. They work extremely well for both.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 42 weeks 6 days ago

Crazy Charley's are my favorite carp fly. Not only are they a good pattern but they are easy to cast in the wind for the necessary pin point accuracy needed for carp.

Let's talk at fish which have been conditioned to fishing pressure. I believe this "excuse" is highly overrated and we credit fish with much intelligence than they have. I do believe that trout who live in environments with lots of food have adapted the ability to easily identify their food source. In other words, trout will not turn down a fake but rather not identify a fake as an original.

I fish in Ohio where we have only 75-90 fish per river mile and these fish only occupy 10% of the river system which make them easy to fine. Yet they take the fakes, day after day. The trout in Ohio must be more opportunistic due to the low volume of aquatic life.

This is only my theory and not scientific fact but responses are welcome.

Deeter, Loved the comment in your new book about the guys who scent their flies for carp but let's save that discussion for another day.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 42 weeks 6 days ago

Forgive my poor grammar. I'm still in the office and it's been a long day. Edit function please!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ejunk wrote 42 weeks 6 days ago

I've been seriously considering investing in a tube jig, but not for trout - for bass (black and temperate).

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dangle wrote 42 weeks 3 days ago

One of the keys for me is to have the straight eyed hook that will fit up into the tube. I use a slightly bigger tube section, about 1/4" at the end that fits on the smaller shank tube, and accepts my hook.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dangle wrote 42 weeks 3 days ago

I like to us a slightly larger tube that fits over the shank tube...about a 1/4" piece at the end that accepts my straight eyed hook(ie) it shoves up into it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from vbxtc wrote 42 weeks 1 hour ago

Not really fly related, but definitely outside the box. Discovered this trick by accident that works on trout on my favorite Maryland rivers after the end of spring stocking when the weather is starting to really heat up (mid-May-June). I stand 15-20 feet above a deep pool and cast a 1 1/2 inch lipless crankbait that's painted in bluegill colors over the downstream end of the pool. I'll pull it back into the pool, then reel it in about a foot at a time, pausing about a minute between cranks. The current gives it all the action it needs hanging in the water. By the third or fourth crank trout that by now are ignoring every common lure people have been throwing all spring will race each other to the crankbait.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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