Scandinavian Tube Fly

Scandinavian Tube Fly tying instructions

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Scandinavian Tube Fly tied for steelhead.

The fly portrayed here is meant to display a style accredited to Mikael Frödin and Håkan Norling for catching salmon on both of the Atlantic and Pacific.  Our research discloses that this style of fly is productive for local steelhead, especially during the cold water months.  To some degree we have altered the basic dynamics of Scandinavian design by placing the hook more near the rear of the wing.  This gives the fly a slightly chubbier look when it is dry, but it tends to slim down when wet.  The wing on this fly is tied from Arctic

Fox and Flashabou.  Each layer is kept relatively thin so the it will move easily in the water and be

somewhat translucent.  The plastic tubing used in the construction of these flies is very lightweight and flexible. This extra-lightweight tubing combined with a heavy brass or heavier tungsten cone gives this fly design a front-end weighted action.  This often accentuates the variances in the currents giving the fly an action that settles in the calm spots and rises in the fast ones; giving the fly an up and down motion.  The fly below is a successful pattern, but is offered more as a style of fly that can be tied in many different color combinations.

Scandi Tube Fly
Tool and Material List

For this fly you will need the following items:

An indispensable tool for tying Scandinavian style tube flies is the
European Tapered Tube Fly Needle.
It supports two diameters of tubing at once.  Therefore, small diameter tubing which fits through the hole in a standard-bore cone-head can be used.  This piece of tubing can be coupled to a length of larger diameter tubing which acts as a hook holder.  The "Needle" fits both diameters of tubing.  This fly is tied with: FRÖDIN IMPROVED TUBE FLY SYSTEM – F.I.T.S

Bobbin with tread
Hackle Pliers
Zap-A-Gap Super Glue
Frödin F.I.T.S Tubing
Cone Heads
LiteBrite Dubbing
Pearl Flashabou
Black Flashabou
Orange Arctic Fox
Black Arctic Fox
Red Saddle Hackle
Black Saddle Hackle

Pattern: Red & Black Scandi Tube Fly
Tubing: Frödin F.I.T.S Tubing
Thread: black 6/0
Tag: silver medium oval tinsel
Tail: single strand of red poly yarn
Rib: silver medium oval tinsel
Body: red LiteBrite Dubbing
Bottom Wing: red dyed arctic fox fur
Collar: red saddle hackle
Top Wing: black dyed arctic fox fur
Collar: black saddle hackle
Eyes: jungle cock
Cone: Spirit River Hot Cone

Selecting long straight hair is crucial for tying outstanding flies.

Installing the cone after the fly is tied gives a more streamlined appearance.  Clamp the tube with a hemostat to get better control.

Slide your tapered European Tube Fly Needle inside the tubing being careful not to run the sharp needle into the side wall of the tube. It may be handy to dull the point of the needle with a sharpening stone or diamond file.  To keep the tubing from rotating around the needle while tying, place the rear of the tubing between the needle and tube fly tool and then tighten the holder nut so the tubing is clamped firmly.  You can perform this part of the operation while the tube fly tool is in or out of the fly tying vise. 

Be sure that the tube fly tool is installed in the vise level with the table and if you are using a rotating vise, the needle with the tube should be centered on axis.  Start your thread in the conventional manner as you would start to tie the same fly on a hook.  Leave enough room behind your thread so that the rear of the tube can be used as a hook-holder.  This exposed colored tubing also acts a a tag or tip.  For this reason, you will want to choose the color of  your tubing to give the desired effect under water.

Tie in a tag consisting of five wraps of medium oval tinsel.  This is normally silver or gold.  Red was used in the demonstration fly shown here (don't ask me where Josh got it).  Next a tail made from red poly yarn is tied in.  This tail is designed to help keep the long fox fur wing (which will be added later) from wrapping around the hook as the fly swims through the water.  The tail can be made of many other materials such as hair or feathers.  Poly yarn gives good color and is very durable which becomes important when you are unhooking fish. 

Tie in a length of oval tinsel to be used as a rib.  Then form a dubbing loop in your thread and add LiteBrite Dubbing to it.  Spin the loop tight with your dubbing tool (we like the Cal Bird's Dubbing Tool the best).  Wrap your dubbing noodle forward and tie it off.  If you have judged the amount of dubbing right, you will tie off on the the bare thread at the end of the dubbing noodle instead of the bulky dubbing noodle itself.  Wrap your rib forward and tie it off.  It will be more secur if you tie it off on the bare tube.

Add a wing of fox fur.  The length of the wing should reach slightly beyond the length of the tail.  This will allow the wing to be very supple when wet.  Fox fur is impossible to stack. Leave the untrimmed ends at random lengths just as they grew on the animal.  Remove only the unusually long guard hares and the shortest under fur. Adding a very small drop of Zap-A-Gap will make the fly much stronger at this point.  Add this drop from the under side of the fly to control the amount.  Add six strands of pearl Flashabou over the top.

Select a red saddle hackle with soft barbules that will absorb water and move around easily when wet.  Tying the hackle in from the tip will give the fly a more cultured look to the human eye.  The top part of this hackle will be layered between upper and lower part of the wing and helps to separate the wing colors.  The length of the hackle reaches to the base of the tail. and veils the body.

A black top layer to the wing.  Most things that live in the water are darker on the top than the bottom.  This is most likely true about the things that steelhead feed on in the ocean.  This wing is the longest part of the fly and may be 20% longer than the red part of the wing below it.  Four to six strands of black or pearl Flashabou are added over the top of the fox fur.  This gives the fly a glisten like the outside of a bait fish or squid.

Install a webby black hackle. Wind it from the point where the barbules match the length of longest barbules on the red hackle.  How many wraps of black hackle are used depends on how much red hackle you want exposed.  Generally four to five turns of each hackle are used.  However as few as two turns of black hackle can be used.

The hackle contributes to the silhouette of the fly and could simulate the gill plates of a large headed bait fish, such as a herring or sardine.  More likely in the case of a steelhead fly they would simulate the fins on a squid. It takes a very few wraps of thread to tie off the hackle.  Keeping bulk to a minimum will help with the installation of the cone-head at a later time.

Eyes of the prey can become a significant targets for most predatory fish. Targeting the eye rather than the whole body of a prey item can focus the attack, thereby making the rate of success higher.  We have explored how eyes effect fly design in past issues of our weekly newsletter.  Jungle Cock eyes became popular on Atlantic Salmon flies during the late 1800's.  They have remained as popular with modern fly tiers.  Strip the fluff from the stems in the eye feathers and tie them directly to the layer of thread that tied off the hackle.

Pull the cone onto the tube using a pair of clamped hemostats.  A very small drop of Zap-a-Gap at the base of the eyes and hackle will contribute to the durability of the fly and help anchor the cone-head.  The drop in the picture is too large and will saturate much of the hackle and eyes.  The reason the drop in the picture contains so much volume it that the bottle had to be held in place for a long period in order to get the picture.  Use Zap-A-Gap very sparingly it is tremendously strong and will penetrate most fly tying materials.

Slide the tube up tight against the rest of the materials.  The concave base of the cone will cover the base of the hackle and jungle cock eyes as well as the thread wraps and super glue. Trim the tube so that it is about 1/16" from the front of the cone.  This material will expand when it is heated with a flame.  The expanded material will provide a smooth non-abrading surface for your leader and hold the cone-head on the fly more securely.  Any size of cone can be used as long as it fits the tubing.  You might consider tying your flies with both brass and tungsten cones for fishing different depths.

There are probably a variety of flames that could be used.  A long barreled barbeque lighter works well and allows good vision of the operation. Remove the fly from the vise and hold it vertically.  Position the flame above the fly.  Radiant heat from the underside of the flame is often enough to melt the tubing.  It will puddle against the cone-head.  If the right amount of tubing was extended beyond the cone, the hole in the center of the tubing will be the right diameter for the size of leader you will be using.

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