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Probably the finest salmon fly tying tubes ever made!

Needle Tube Fly

Stainless steel tube 1.5mm diameter

Over the years, there have been many innovations in the world of fly tying, particularly in the design of flies and lures for salmon fishing. We might include in this flies aimed at both Atlantic and Pacific salmon and at Steelhead in North America, together with flies for salmon and sea trout fishing in Europe, particularly in the U.K., in the Scandinavian countries, and in Russia. Recent years have seen the development of many and varied innovative designs. Whether his chosen quarry is the salmon, steelhead or sea trout, today's fisherman has a great many weapons in his armoury, ranging from simple single, double or treble hooks, short or long in the shank, barbed or barbless; snakes and needle flies; coneheads, bottle tubes and turbo discs. The tube fly has long been a favourite of many fly tyers, available in a variety of materials, such as plastic, aluminium, copper and brass, allowing flytyers to make tube flies in a useful range of lengths and weights to suit most river conditions. Another great advantage of the tube fly is its durability, as the hook, whether single, double or treble, can be easily replaced when damaged.

Grays Needle Tubes

Grays's Needle Tube compared to a traditional copper tube

I am a great fan of very slimline fly bodies, particularly for sea trout fishing at night but also for salmon. For many years now, I have used needle flies, the slimmest of all flies. More recently, I collaborated with Dave Wallbridge in developing micro tube flies, undoubtedly the thinnest metal tube fly ever devised, with an outside diameter of 1.1mm (19 gauge stainless steel tubing) or less than 1mm (20 gauge stainless steel tubing). Because it was impossible to line such slim tubes with the traditional plastic liner and still allow room for the leader to be passed through the tube, our early micro tubes made use of heat shrink tubing to shield the nylon leader from the sharp tube ends and very effective they were, too, if a little unconventional.

Grays Needle Tube Flies

Grays Needle Tubes

Gray's needle Tube Fly

see more photographs of Needle Tube Flies

Online forum discussion of the possibilities presented by our stainless steel micro tubes prompted renewed efforts to develop slim stainless steel tubes of the more conventional kind, employing a traditional plastic liner, with a view to making them available to fly tyers worldwide. Reverting to the traditional lining method would not, of course, produce such slim tubes as our original micro tubes but the resulting Needle Tubes come pretty close, with a minimum outside diameter of 1.5 mm., slimmer than any other commercially produced lined fly tying tubes. Being made from polished stainless steel, the kind used in the making of hypodermic needles, they sink more readily than aluminium tube flies but fish a little higher, and more attractively, than the heavier copper and brass tubes. Needle Tube flies would have a comparable sink rate and similar slim profile to flies dressed previously on Waddington shanks, but with the important benefit that the hook is easily changed on the needle tube fly. Needle tubes are also much easier to dress than Waddington or snake lures.

Fly Fishing & Fly Tying Magazine Review

In his recent review of August 2011 Magnus Angus wrote of Gray's Needle Tubes:

" ... slender, gleaming tubes; utterly functional and very tempting, these are extraordinary in a couple of ways - slimmer than any straight tubes I have seen for sale - stainless steel which is both hard to find and hard to cut.

... flies tied on these tubes are not like heavy bulky conventional tubes, these are light and sleek, cast easily and can be controlled by a sink-tip or poly-leader. Want to fish deeper, use a faster sinking line. In other words these are modern tubes for modern fishing techniques which emphasise easier casting and employ sophisticated modern fly-lines to determine fishing depth.

As a fly tyer the proportion, neatness and finish of these tubes and the neat finish I can achieve on them appeals directly to the satisfaction I get from fly tying. And stainless steel tubes are about as tough as fly tying tubes get - so my carefully tied flies should fish a little longer. Then as an angler, the slimness of these tubes makes me think of clear water and sea trout. The shorter tubes seem ideal for those wee speck-like flies for low flows, longer tubes for faster water or fishing into the dark ..."

Read the full Needle Tube Review

Gray's Needle Tubes, made in Scotland by Grays of Kilsyth, are now available online in two diameters and lengths ranging from 10mm to 40 mm.  To be dressed, these very thin tubes are best held in a dedicated Needle Tube Fly Vise.      

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Trout and Salmon Fishing