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The Tube Stone
By Faruk Ekich (Ekich Automatic Bobbin)

The first dry fly that I converted to the Point-Up tube concept was a stone fly. It was not only because it lends itself readily to the tube on account of its size. It was because the stone fly is my favorite and I have a lot of confidence in it. This one offers all of the advantages of the short shank up-eye hook held in a fixed, Point-Up position as described in FOTW: Polar Shrimp Tube Fly in the Fourth Quarter/06.



The Tube Stone is easy to tie and requires just one simple tool that can be made quickly: a wire mandrel. It is a 3 inch long piece of spring wire of 0.050 to 0.055 inch diameter, with one end flattened. This mandrel can fit in a standard as well as tube vise.

    Mandrel: 0.055in. diameter spring wire.

    Tube: 1in. long Q-Tip (Cotton Swab), section with both ends cinched to form a flare.

    Hook anchor: 1/4in. long section of 1/8in. white Shrink tube, heat shrunk to one end of Q-tip tube. Make sure that during the shrinking process you end up with a free end of shrink tube sufficiently tight for the solid grip on a chosen hook's eye. Color this free end rusty brown and yellow with permanent marker.

    Thread: 8/0 red.

    Dubbing (body and thorax): POLY II- Fly Rite- rusty brown.

    Ribbing: yellow Monobond or single strand floss.

    Wings: two sets of three matching CDC feathers - natural color.

    Hackle: Iron Blue Dunn.

    Hook: Daiichi 4250 # 8 or 6.


    Step 1

    Step 1: Slide the tube assembly over the mandrel so that the flared end gets stretched over the flat part of the wire mandrel. This will distort the end of the Q-tip tube (temporarily) and will provide a solid hold on the tube. Slide the free end of the wire mandrel into the vise until the shrink tube touches the jaws. This will assure that the tube does not slide off the flat end of the mandrel. Attach the thread just short of the head's flare on the front. Attach the ribbing and wrap the thread right up the shrink tube, short of the bump formed by the flare.

    I use the tube vise and automatic Ekich Bobbin. As shown in the photo, a rotary vise allows you to let the bobbin hang, and the controlled constant tension of 1.1 oz (33 g) will lay out even and secure wraps, strong enough to bind and hold even the Monobond ribbing.


    Step 2

    Step 2: Select a pair of tail fibers. I use the whiskers from a hare's mask but any stiffer fiber will do.

    Step 2a

    Attach the tails just ahead of the flare bump as shown and add a half hitch.


    Step 3

    Step 3: Start the body on the tying point of the tails and cover ¾ of the tube. Half hitch it.


    Step 4

    Step 4: Wrap the ribbing in the opposite direction and tie in just about a quarter length from the flare. (I whip finish the ribbing or wrap a couple of turns tightly, then hold the tag end of the ribbing towards the back and wrap again over it).


    Step 5

    Step 5: Select six CDC feathers of the same size and curvature. The wings should be slightly longer then a tube. Form two pairs of three feathers and apply glue or head cement to the base of the feathers to bind each wing in advance.


    Step 6

    Step 6a

    Position the wings on a slight downward angle, tent-like fashion.


    Step 7

    Attach the hackle right over the tying point of the wings.


    Step 8

    Using the same dubbing material as in the body, cover the remaining part of the tube, leaving just enough space for the whip finish.


    Step 9

    Wrap the hackle sparsely. All of the materials that form this fly are lighter then water (except the hook of course, but that too is one third of the weight that this fly would have to support if it was tied conventionally on a long shank hook), so there is no need to use too much hackle.


    Side View
    Finished Fly - Back View

    Back View
    Finished Fly - Side View


About the Fly

The Tube Stone is easier to make and less precious than the conventionally tied fly such as the local patterns tied by my friend Roy Degiusti.

Of course there is as many variations and choices of materials to be used.

The Q-tip tube, as mentioned, is lighter then water (approximately 20%), so are most synthetic dubbings. The short shank –light wire hook of desired gape, reduces the "ballast" of the fly and permits sparse dressing. The position of the hook, point-up, minimizes the chance of "short take." Once the fight starts, the tube fly separates itself from the hook and the vibration moves it up the leader so it is not damaged by the teeth of the fish.

It can be fished as a conventional stone fly but I like to drift it with an occasional imparted twitch. Or, because it is very buoyant, I like to skate it over the current.

It can be fished for a long time without the false casts to "dry it."

I use this concept on Bombers and all the patterns whose size and proportions permit it.

But, Q-Tip tube is not limited to dry fly imitations only. The metal tube flies are not legal for Atlantic Salmon fishing in Canada. Paul Marriner, the author of hundreds of articles and several books about fly-tying and fly-fishing, has designed a series of Q-tip tube flies called Maratube. He fishes them with different density sink tip lines right down to the bottom with a really short leaders and he gets a lot of salmon that way on his favorite Margaree River.

Best Fishes,
~ Faruk Ekich, Quebec, Canada

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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