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Trout Tube Flies – Ruben Martin has been tying tube flies for over a decade, which would not be a rarity except at a time when trout fly anglers around the globe had yet to discover what Martin knew. Tube flies are a gold-mine tied as small, classic trout flies: dry flies, nymphs, streamers, still water, and terrestrials.

Do you always tie your trout flies on hooks? Huge mistake

How to up your trout catching stats as close to 100% as possible

NOTE: This posting has a bonus. A partial list of Ruben Martin’s recent Trout Tube Fly Instruction Videos and Recipes.

By Skip Clement

About a decade ago, Angie, TJ, and I switched to tube flies for trout fishing; TJ in Wyoming, with destinations to Alaska and New Zealand, and here in Georgia, Angie here in Georgia exclusively on the Eberley Farmstead fly fishing for trouts and bass and in the Bahamas for bonefish, mostly the eastern end of Grand Bahama. For me, only trouts in Georgia and North Carolina. I gave up 30 years of fly fishing South Florida’s once bountiful fishery a decade ago.

Our collective catch stats became so ridiculous that we learned never to share the reality with fellow fly fishers for fear of being categorized as braggadocios.

At first, we all stuck with tube flies as trout streamers, then tried tying dries like a Royal Wulff. My initial flies, tied as tubes, were demonic clumps of trimmed deer hair. TJ hit the ground running, Angie relied on me, and I was disappointed. TJ offered his help, but it seemed to be hand-eye dexterity that separated us. But hanging in there proved rewarding. I watched Ruben Martin, Jay Nichols, and April Vokey and got Tim Flagler at the pre-Covid Atlanta Fly Fishing show to promise he’d get into it. He did, but he still needs to become a big fan. I can now tie tubes to call them ‘productive.’

Fast forward

I made tube flies for trout, the go-to for my Wednesday bakery clutch of friends, those above, and a handful of others associated with this magazine. Unlike most people who believe they have graduated to a higher calling and discovered something worth merit, they soon drift back to their ‘good old days,’ whatever that was. However, the folks I got to switch are still all in on tube flies. Two are predominately saltwater flats fishers; three do not tie flies, so they often say they get stuck using hook-tied flies, and the rest of us have become trout fishers using tubes as dries, streamers, nymphs, and terrestrials.

Ruben Martin, world renown fly tyer, casting instructor, conservationist with guide [R] holding a nice brown caught on a tube fly tied that morning. Martin photo.

Size does matter

Tying tubes smaller than #16s is complicated and unnecessary because the hooks are small enough. I balk at #14s, and TJ says he does not need to tie less than #16. A remarkable nymph fisher, Angie seems content with my limiting at #14.

Are there hook-tied flies still used?

Obviously, yes. My fly box is full of hook-tied flies, as are Angies, TJs, and all the fly fishers I know that are tube fly converts. Anything smaller than a #16/18 as a tube is not popular with any tyer I know. But it still needs to be done.

Some who can tie small, classic trout tube flies like Jay Nichols, Ruben Martin (Argentina), Tim Flagler, Jim Spicer, April Vokey, and a lot European tube tyers that are referred to as ‘Scandinavian’ style flies. But innovators like Ruben Martin, Jay Nichols, and a long list of European Frödinflies customers carry the message.

Albula vulpes illustration by Thom Glace. Angie Roth caught several Grand Bahama [East End] bonefish in the 4- to 7-pound class over the course of five days pre-Dorian [September 1, 2019 as a Category 5 hurricane]. Her flies all tube tied shrimp and crab patterns in various sizes, color combos, and using various hook sizes. Angie said small, dark-rust color shrimps with imbedded #12 and #14 hooks worked best.

Partial list and links to Ruben Martin Tube Flies:

Royal Wulff Tube Dry Fly . . .

Crawfish Tube Fly . . .

Easy Nymph Tube Fly . . .

Micro Nymph Rubber Legs Tube Fly . . .

Sculpin Streamer Tube Fly . . . 

Dry Fly CDC Caddis Tube Fly . . .

Prince Nymph Tube Fly . . .

Dry Fly Humpy Tube Fly . . .


Author Skip

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