Comments: First tied in August 1997, as the
Steelhead Boobie; a regular hooked fly, but in 2000
it became a tube fly and was renamed the Boob Tube.
I needed a simple, unsinkable waking fly and I wasn't
enthralled with any of the standards, so I set out
on my own.
By Tyler Cushnir, Kingfisher Rod & Gun Club, B.C., Canada
The concept is a spin-off from a British trout fly known
as the Boobie. I had come across it while checking out
a British trout magazine. Apparently it was a controversial
and deadly fly on lakes in Britain. In fact, many waters
banned it outright; needless to say, this caught my attention.
It was fished as a wet flies on Hi-D lines and three-foot
leaders. The long marabou tail wiggled irresistibly as the
foam "boobies" moved the fly. I tied some for interior
lakes and they were deadly. For a couple of years they
were one of my "trout secrets." Then in preparation for
an early trip to the Morice I was considering some waking
flies. It struck me that in the first article on boobies
that I'd read, there was mention that it was originally a
waking pattern, - hmmm. The first Boobie was basically a
Bomber with the foam "boobies" up front; it definitely
floated and waked. On its maiden voyage, less than five
minutes from the By-Mac launch on the Morice River, the
Steelhead Boobie took a sleek 10 pound fish! I had my waker.
In 2000 when I switched to tube flies for steelhead I
turned my attention to the Steelhead Boobie. I had never
been really happy with the bomber shape, so I tried some
alternatives. The new style was inspired by Collin Shadrech's
Bulkley Mouse, which is like a giant Elk Hair Caddis. The
simple tie of the flared deer hair up against the back of
the "boobies" was perfect; even better, the black air
brake tubing I use for most of my tubes made the perfect
The final piece of the Boob Tube came during that first
2000 season. Once again, reading a British magazine, this
time an Atlantic salmon publication, I came across a
method of riffling a tube fly. It involves a small hole
on the underside of the tube a short distance back from
the head end of the fly. The leader is threaded up from
beneath and through this hole, then threaded down the
tube and tied to the hook as usual. This brilliant
technique cocks the fly up on an angle and planes the
fly up onto the surface. As well, with the hole at the
bottom of the tube, there is no need to worry about which
side of the river you are on—as with a riffle hitch—it will
wake from anywhere! The Boob Tube had arrived.
The Boob Tube is probably B.C.'s first waking tube pattern.
It is a truly unsinkable waker that functions in all water
types equally well. It is also a combination of a number of
radical concepts, using foam, tube and riffle hole that can
be successfully adapted to many other patterns. I have fished
it in sizes that range from a sparsely dressed 1 1/2" to a
fully dressed 2 1/2" long. While the original colour was
natural deer hair with black foam eyes, a purple version
with black eyes has proven effective, as has a Boob Tube
with black deer hair and yellow eyes, which as a bonus is
quite visible to the angler.
While this fly has been kept somewhat quiet until recently,
it has had success on the Morice, Bulkley, Copper and Babine,
as well as the Thompson.
Fly Fishing Techniques: This fly is used in the standard
waking manner, fished under tension and followed or led through
its arc as required. A unique feature of the Boob Tube is that
while it is a radical waker, that is, a fly that planes up and
onto the water due to its design and the force of the current,
it will also float and wake in very smooth, even flows.
Furthermore, with the exception of the foam, it rides in
the surface providing a great silhouette.
An interesting variation of the two-fly "waker/dropper"
technique is possible (and legal in B.C.) with the Boob
Tube. Due to the construction of the fly, the leader can
be pulled through the tube two or three feet and a low-water
pattern can be trailed. The waking hole in the front of
the tube will lock the waker in position on the leader.
This is a deadly technique in tough conditions. The fish
come to investigate the commotion of the waker, then take
the low-water trailer.
Recipe - Boob Tube
Originated and contributed by Tyler Kushnir
Waking Hole Note: Turn the fly bottom-up and
poke a flame-heated bodkin needle through the tubing at
a 45-degree slant toward the hole at the front of the
tube. Start far enough back so as to ensure that the
needle doesn't melt through the front edge of the tube.
Work the needle back and forth to swage the hole, let it
cool and you are done. ~ Tyler Kushnir
Hook: Size 4, Partridge Nordic Single
Tube: Black air brake tubing approximately 1" long.
Boobies: 3/8-inch foam stick about 3/4-inch long tied
in with cross wraps then clipped to shape.
Body: None, the black air brake tube does the trick.
Wing: High-quality deer hair, natural, black or purple
Intended use: Waked tube fly for summer-run steelhead.
Credits: The Boob Tube is one of hundreds of flies from the
new book Contemporary Fly Patterns of British Columbia by
Art Lingren, published by Frank Amato Publications. Art's previous book,
Fly Patterns of British Columbia has been featured here
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