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 Needle Tubes and Tube Flies

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Sea Trout - Where to Fish

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Needle Tube Success

Some notable salmon, steelhead and sea trout

Grays Needle Tubes, developed and manufactured in Scotland by Grays of Kilsyth, are made from fine stainless steel tubing, as used in the manufacture of medical hypodermic needles. With outside diameters as small as 1.5 mm, they are the slimmest plastic lined metal tubes currently available commercially for the fly tyer.

 Sea Trout Needle Tube Flies


Sea Trout Needle Tube Flies

Since their introduction at the start of the 2008 fishing season, these ultra slim stainless steel fly tubes have made something of an impact worldwide, recording many notable successes - Atlantic salmon, steelhead and sea trout .....

Atlantic Salmon

Spectacular Sport in Norway

Since their introduction in 2008, Grays Needle Tubes have proved extremely effective for Atlantic salmon. This 10.5 kilo fish, pictured below, was one of a number taken in late June 2009 by Geir Kjensmo from the River Orkla in Norway. All fish were taken on one of Geir's Needle Tube Salmon Spiders, which he wrote about in the April Issue of Trout & Salmon magazine.  See Geir's Trout & Salmon Article

Another Norwegian angler wrote "I love your needle tube flies. The salmon love them too! Today I got 6 salmon (3 -6 kg)"

Book - Sea Trout Nights




Grays of Kilsyth

Salmon Flies

Trout Flies

Fly Fishing Knots

Salmon Fishing Scotland

Trout Fishing Scotland

Sea Trout Fishing

Sea Trout Flies

Tube Flies

The Tube Fly Shop


Salmon Spinhead
HMH Tube Fly Tool


 Slim stainless steel salmon and sea trout flies




Geir's Orkla Salmon and Needle Tube Flies

10.5 kilo Norwegian salmon

10.5 Kg fish taken on one of Geir's Salmon Spiders

Salmon Spider Needle Tube flies

A couple of Geir's Salmon Spider needle Tube Flies

Great Lakes Steelhead

Bob Schoeller is an accomplished fly fisher and fly tyer, who fishes for the steelhead of Lake Erie and its tributary streams. Bob had great success last season with a selection of beautiful flies dressed on Grays Needle Tubes.  Bob has used the longer lengths of needle tube to create a range of stunning baitfish patterns, which have proven extremely effective fished from the lake shore, while the shorter needle tubes have been dressed as small colourful shrimps, for use later in the season on the tributary streams.

A few of Bob Schoeller's Steelhead Needle Tubes

In one report Bob writes .... "I did get out Friday and tried out the shrimp on your needle tubes. Fantastic! .... I took a fish in the first drift and ended up with seven fish in 3 hours fishing .... best trip yet this year .....  I got out again today and had a cracker of a day!  I really got lucky and got some very nice fish this morning ..... all on your needle tubes. They certainly have helped my fishing this year. It's the best year I've had to date due in no small part to the needle tubes.  The three of us landed 19 fish for the morning (all on your needle tubes) ..... The biggest one was a very fat hen fish of 16 lbs ..... the best of the year thus far for me.

Great Lakes Steelhead taken on a Needle Tube Fly

Salmon at Night

On the night of 20th May, while fishing for sea trout on the River Spey at Grantown, I myself took this eight pound salmon, at 11.30 pm in the dark ...

Night Time Salmon

on this two inch long needle tube fly ....

Needle Tube Fly


 and a six pound Spey sea trout taken on a Needle Tube Fly, June 30 2011

Sea Trout on a Needle Tube Fly


and a seven pound Spey sea trout taken on a Needle Tube Fly, July 5 2013

A Seven Pound Spey Sea Trout


Needle Tube Sea Trout Flies

Sea Trout

Nocturnal Sport in Wales

The Needle Tube was originally developed primarily with sea trout in mind. The idea was to make the slimmest possible tube fly for late night summer sea trout fishing. The resulting Needle Tubes, in lengths up to 40mm and with an outside diameter of only 1.5mm, have filled the bill admirably and continue to account for many good sea trout and sewin throughout these islands. They have performed with distinction on many rivers from the Spey to the Towy and beyond.

Towy Sewin


Towy Sewin 15 lb 12 oz

The photographs above show Ed Middleton's magnificent sewin, a fish of 15 lbs 12 ozs, taken on a simply dressed needle tube in June 2009 from the River Towy.

Dr Bill Smith is among other Towy fishers who have reported notable successes on the Needle Tube. Bill writes, "I recently visited the Golden Grove beat on the Towy. I started fishing at 10.45pm with a 15 mm needle tube sparsely dressed with natural dyed blue squirrel and a few strands of crystal flash. By 11.30 I had had 4 fish from 3 to 6 pounds. A friend fishing with me then tried the fly and had one of 4.5 lb. A tropical downpour then stopped play .... I use the micro tubes all the time now on my local river, the Fowey, and am looking forward to trying them for salmon on the Deveron in August."

July sewin taken on a needle tube fly

The Needle Tube continues to do well here in Scotland. One happy angler wrote to say, "I was on the Spey 2 weeks ago and had some good sea trout (best 5.5 lbs) on your needle tubes. I also had a 7lb salmon on one at dusk", while, back in south Wales, Dafydd Rees writes, "Got out with the fly rod on the weekend ... used one of the smaller 20mm tubes with a very sparse Alexandra variant and ended up catching my bag limit in 30 minutes flat! A very short night's fishing! If that is any indication of how well these needle tubes fish it should be a good season!" and, later, "Just to let you know, I've had my most productive sewin season ever, with ten days still to go, thanks mainly to the needle flies I have been using tied on your needle tubes ... fishing with flies that give you a lot of confidence is a bonus, many thanks for the raw materials."

Dovey Sea Trout

This specimen sea trout of 16.5 pounds was taken at night in June 2011 on the Welsh Dovey (Dyfi) near Machynlleth by New Dovey Fishery Association secretary Richard Evans on his own tying of a Sunray Shadow dressed on a Needle Tube ...

Dovey Sea Trout

Devon Sea Trout

I was delighted also to receive news of a remarkable catch of sea trout, taken on the night of 23rd May, 2013, by Dart Angling Association Chairman Mr Julian Sharpe, from the Totnes Weir pool of the River Dart in Devon on a needle tube fly of his own dressing. The catch consisted of four sea trout, fresh off the tide, weighing 4.5 lbs, 5.5 lbs, 8 lbs and 12 lbs. What a night! The two smaller fish are pictured below along with the successful needle tube fly. Julian followed this up on 9th June with a night of three sea trout of 5.25 lbs, 6 lbs and 8 lbs, again on a needle tube fly. Many thanks for the photograph Julian.

Dart Sea Trout

Two of Julian Sharpe's four Dart sea trout taken on 23rd May on a Needle Tube Fly


Needle Tubes have also been working well on the rivers of Japan, as illustrated by this photograph of a nice Japanese rainbow trout, taken by Makito Koyama on a 40mm needle tube fly.

Trout Japan

Success in Canada

I was especially pleased to receive the following report from Jim Gourlay in Canada. I grew up with Jim here in Scotland where we spent our formative years chasing trout on local lochs and rivers. Jim now lives in Nova Scotia where he runs the very successful Saltscapes magazine group. He still finds time, though, to go fishing now and again. Here is Jim's report of a recent trip ...

"I acquired a dozen or so shrimp style tube flies from Grays of Kilsyth while visiting Scotland a couple of years ago. Tubes are not (yet) in common use in Canadian rivers and the only shrimp patterns regularly fished are the venerable General Practitioner and the original Ally's Shrimp - both relegated as typically orange late season flies only: so I pretty much forgot about them.

On a recent early September sojourn to the Restigouche River in northern New Brunswick with five other rods, I opted to give the Grays tubes a go, what the hell! I chose a Cascade pattern about size 6 to fish in medium low water of about 52 degrees F. at the end of a slow sink tip.

I noted at the outset that this simple looking fly takes on a life of its own when dropped in the river. The movement offered by the lightweight almost neutral buoyancy design and elongated shape is considerably more pronounced than that of a conventional hook-mounted, short wing fly. My conclusion is that the lifelike appearance is a significant seducer of salmon.

The fly was so successful I only took it off in the few minutes just before dark each evening when I conventionally fish a white-winged Butterfly pattern.

Sixteen pound Restigouche Salmon

Thiry Four Pound Salmon

In four days of morning and evening fishing only, it accounted for 3 grilse and five salmon landed, the salmon ranging from 16 to 34 lbs. It also accounted for the four large salmon I hooked and lost and several raises (offers). The same pattern was responsible for several fish landed by other rods who "borrowed" all examples in my possession regardless of size.

The fly itself is undamaged by all that action and perfectly good to go on my next trip.

But it's the only one left. I have to replenish." 

Jim Gourlay

Nova Scotia, Canada


Cascade Needle Tube Flies

Cascade Needle Tube Flies


Spey Sea Trout

More success on the Spey for the Needle Tube Fly

June sea trout from the Spey

One of eight Spey sea trout taken by the author on a 25mm black and silver needle tube in two hours fishing on the Grantown Association water in the early hours of Monday, June 23rd, 2014. I began fishing at midnight and stopped fishing at 2 am, having caught enough - eight lovely fresh sea trout averaging around 2.5 lbs. All were returned except one, which was kept for the table.

A  Good Spey Sea Trout

Seven and a half pound sea trout from the Spey

A nice seven and a half pound sea trout taken on a 20mm black and silver Needle Tube Fly from the Grantown Association water, River Spey on June 17th 2015.


Sea Trout Needle Tube Fly

The successful Needle Tube Fly - 1.5mm diameter, 20mm long tube


Tyne Salmon

South Tyne Salmon Taken on a Needle Tube

A thirteen pound salmon taken on a Magus Needle Tube Fly, South Tyne, July 2015


Spey Salmon

Spey Salmon from Abernethy Angling Association water

A Spey salmon of about 10 pounds taken on a one inch needle tube fly from the Abernethy Angling Association water at 11pm, 3rd June 2016.


Spey Salmon from Abernethy Angling Association water

Another salmon of ten pounds caught on a one inch needle tube fly on the Abernethy Angling Association water, 12.10 am, Monday 13th June, 2016. Both salmon were returned safely.


Steelhead and Lake Trout

More success for Bob Schoeller stateside ... a brace of beauties from Lake Erie 


A fine Lake Erie steelhead

A sea trout/lake-run brown trout from Lake Erie

A nice steelhead  taken by Bob Schoeller in the spring of 2016 in the lake, off the beach on a bait fish imitation tied on a needle tube (see flies above).  

A 12 pound sea trout/lake run brown trout caught by Bob in Lake Erie on one of his baitfish imitations dressed on a needle tube.


An Early Start to Spey Sea Trout Fishing

With the Spey running abnormally low throughout May 2017, and a good number of early sea trout having run the river, night fly fishing has begun much earlier than usual, on all the beats above Grantown. Here is a nice five pounder taken, along with another of three pounds, on the Grantown Association water on the night of Monday 15th May, on a one inch needle tube fly.

Spey sea trout


Abernethy Sea Trout

One of three sea trout taken on the Abernethy Angling Association water of the River Spey on a simple one inch needle tube fly, 29th May 2017

Grantown Sea Trout

Sea Trout at Grantown on Spey

A fresh sea trout of 3 1/2 pounds caught on the Grantown Association Water of the River Spey on the night of Thursday 1st June, again on a one inch needle tube fly.

Towy Sea Trout

I was delighted to receive a report of this superb double figure sea trout, caught by Guy Edwards on the River Towy on the night of Saturday 8th July, 2017

Guy, who took the sea trout on a needle tube fly of his own dressing, writes, "Your needle tubes are just fantastic. I have recently started tying them nice and sparse as you recommend and they have revolutionised my sea trout fishing.  My own pearl and blue dressing resulted in my largest sea trout from the Towy this Saturday...... a fish of my lifetime! I fished a 10 foot 6 weight Loop Multi single-hander, a floating "Robjent's Chalk stream Special" line and 12lb Trilene fluoro. Hook size 16 Tubertini treble.  Caught in the first half at around 23.00, the fish took after I missed two very quick pulls. In low conditions, she put on a fabulous fight! Thanks so much again for your invention, I am completely "sold" on them as a deadly taker of sewin."

More Success in Norway

I was delighted to receive a report from James Martindale of his impressive 35 pound salmon caught in Norway on a Wee Dee Monkey needle tube fly ..... well done, James!

On an earlier visit to the same Norwegian river, after an epic 2 1/2 hour battle, James's friend landed a magnificent 36 pounder, this time on a Wee Green Monkey needle tube fly  .....


Wee Monkey Needle Tube Flies

Wee  Monkey Salmon Needle Tubes


Back on the Spey

8 pound salmon caught on a 15mm needle tube fly, 12.30 am, June 27th, 2018


River Eden Salmon

An Eden salmon caught on a needle tube fly

A 10lb cock salmon caught on a Magus Needle Tube Fly, River Eden, August 2018

.... and a hen salmon from the Eden, caught on a Blackback Needle Tube Fly

A hen salmon caught on a needle tube fly


River Lune Salmon and Sea Trout

Lune sea trout caught on a needle tube fly

A late summer Lune sea trout caught at night on a Tingler needle tube fly


River Lune salmon on needle tube

A 12 pound Lune salmon caught on a Magus Needle Tube Fly, September 2018



Spey sea trout July 1st

A fresh sea trout from the Spey, 1st July 2019, caught on a needle tube fly


eight pound sea trout from the Spey

Spey sea trout estimated at around 8 pounds caught on a Tingler Needle Tube, July 9th, 2019

and the fly ....

Tingler Tube Fly

Tingler Needle Tube 

Sandeel pattern dressed on a 1.5mm diameter needle tube

See Tying The Tingler


A Salmon on the Tingler

Eamont salmon caught on a Tingler Tube Fly

This ten pounder fell for a black and orange Tingler (shown below) on the River Eamont, July 2019


A selection of Tinglers

Tingler Tube Flies for salmon and sea trout


Back in Wales

I was pleased to hear today, 3rd August, from Wayne McGilloway, who tells me that the needle tubes have been doing well on the River Elwy in North Wales. He sent me a picture of a recent catch taken on a simply dressed needle tube:

Elwy Sea Trout

A good sea trout from the River Elwy, North Wales

Wayne writes, "I found the best catchers are when a hackle is tied in first to support the squirrel adding a better profile." 

Wayne's Needle Tubes


Border Esk Sea Trout

Border Esk sea trout caught on a Tingler needle tube fly

A typical Border Esk sea trout, July 2019


Lune Sea Trout

Five pound Lune sea trout caught on a Tingler, September 2019


River Lune Salmon

A thirteen pound Lune salmon caught on a Magus Needle Tube Fly, October 2019


The Magus Tube Fly

Magus Needle Tube Fly

Magus Salmon Tube Fly dressed on a 15mm long needle tube, diameter 1.5mm


Iceland Sea Trout

Icelandic Sea Trout

Paul Friend kindly sent me this photograph of one of the specimen sea trout he caught in Iceland. Paul writes, "It was caught on your black & silver needle tube, I remember it well!" The sea trout was safely returned. Well done, Paul! A beautiful fish in a beautiful place.


Needle Tubes are now available online at Grays of Kilsyth for the fly tyer in lengths from 10 mm to 40 mm in two diameters - 1.5 mm and 1.8 mm. Boxed selections of sea trout and salmon needle tube flies are also available, with free worldwide shipping.




Trout and Salmon Fishing