Spey Fly Fishing (Ancient Indications of Tube Flies in NW)

Ancient NW Indigenous Cave Drawings

Ancient NW Indigenous Cave Drawings

 Tube flies—flies tied on metal or plastic tubes rather than the shank of a hook—have been around since the mid-1940s. Joe Bates in Atlantic Salmon Flies and Fishing attributes the first tube fly to Winnie Morawski of England who tied it on a hollowed turkey quill. Their effectiveness for Atlantic salmon is well established, and according to co-authors Mark Mandell and Les Johnson in Tube Flies, pockets of anglers on both coasts of the United States have experimented with tubes for saltwater species since the 1950s. A handful of steelheaders have known about the effectiveness of tubes for a long time, but an increasing number of anglers from British Columbia to the Great Lakes are discovering that they can hook and land more fish with tubes.    http://flyfisherman.com/ftb/jnsteelheadtubes/


OK, so I am exaggerating for affect, re the cave drawings, to let you know that the 1940’s anglers were innovating toward the tube, be it quill or early tubular options. I believe it is a sound option that provides for different sized hooks for the same size fly and for the better use of stinger hooks. Perhaps for some it is just a new, refreshing option to breathe life into their stale tying practices. That is fine. But, I think tactically, it is a cheaper way to tie all manner sized flies. Vary the hooks to the species or water levels. I wonder if Winnie Morawski was inspired by others. Some indications of Indians and Islanders with tubes flies.

Winnie Morawski, whilst working for a fly tier Charles Playfair & Company of Aberdeen in Scotland in 1945, is credited with tying the first tube fly. While she was tidying up the turkey quills from her work bench she had a brain wave. She chopped the top and bottom off and scrapped the insides from the quills . She then dressed this natural tube she had created. One of the company’s customers was a doctor called William Michie. He liked the idea of tube flies but suggested that cut lengths of surgical tubing should be used instead of the fragile and very brittle quills. Word got around and soon tubes were being tied in Norway, Sweden, Canada, USA as well as the United Kingdom. Saltwater tube flies appeared in the North American Pacific Northwest and were used in Washington State’s Puget Sound in the late 1940s…


The above tube fly is a design by outstanding NW River Guide, Matt McCrary. I took the liberty of using a photo design to play around a bit. I am sure Matt does not mind.  


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