We really like tube flies. They’re fun to tie, fun to fish, and offer advantages that traditional shank or hook style flies just can’t compete with.
However, not all tube materials are created equal. We’ve tied on many styles of tubing from inexpensive ‘Q-Tip’ tubes to many of the commercial fly tying tubes available today, but one of our favorite style of tube to tie on are HMH Poly Tubes. They’re strong but flexible, available in wide range of colors, but best of all, they don’t crack in cold water!
We’ve been tying on the original large sized poly tubes for quite some time and have been very impressed. Although, we have been secretly hoping that the good folks at HMH would release their Poly Tubes in a thinner diameter, closer to that of their popular Small Rigid Tubes. Well, they did, and needless to say, we’re pretty excited about it and here’s why.
We really like the size of the new Small Poly Tubes. According to HMH, the small tubes have an outside diameter of 3/32 inch which doesn’t really mean much to us other than it feels great to tie on, feels more like tying on a shank than a big clunky tube, and is great for tying flies where a thin body is desired (like the skinny post in the middle of an intruder). Due to a smaller inside diameter, they also rig differently than larger tubes as well, allowing a loop knot to jam into the back of the tube rather than slide up in it. Not sure what we mean? Check out some of our posts on rigging tube flies here, here, or here!
Strong but Flexible
Just like the original Large Poly Tubes, the new Small Poly Tubes are extremely durable. We think they have a good balance between being flexible (and thus strong), but not so flexible that they feel floppy or collapse with tight wraps of tying thread. And, as we mentioned above, they don’t crack or break in cold water which is a HUGE plus in our book!
One thing we’re really excited about upon of the release of the small sized Poly Tubes is the ability to use nearly all types of hardware (i.e. cones, discs, beads, etc.). As you can see in the photo below, the small diameter tubes accept a number of popular cones and discs without the need for any liner tubing. At the same time, the original large size poly tubes pair perfectly with tube-specific cone heads.
Want to use a cone or bead with an opening too small to fit the Small Poly Tubes? No Problem! HMH’s Micro Tubing nests like a glove within the original Large Poly Tubes to accept smaller cones or beads to create a great clean looking fly.
The addition of the HMH Small Poly Tubes allows for more versatility than ever from an already bomb-proof tube material. We’re going to be spinning up plenty of flies on these tubes in the seasons to come and we think you should too!
Both Large and Small Poly Tubes retail for $5.29 per package (each package contains 10, 5 inch tubes) and are offered in a variety of colors. For more information, visit your local fly shop or check out HMH’s website, here.
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