Article Written for Foxy-Tails by: Janusz Panicz
The 'Compact', 'Long Range' and 'Skittle' tubes are designed for no-body flies where the tube itself is left undressed. This means you tie the dressing on the FutureFly 1.8mm Inner tube only (not on the metal tube itself). Of course, as always there are exceptions to this rule, and we find the TFS Compact Tubes perfect for tying patterns like the Frances or Snaelda.
Optionally, you can add some dressing to the metal tubes themselves by either tying in contrasting colour thread, braid or nail varnish to fill their grooves or by using TFS soft tubing. You can also add a contrasting butt made from a small piece of FutureFly 3.0mm Outer Tube.
TFS Soft Tube can be used in either a free swinging hook setup or it can be slid on the metal tube for traditional hook holding style. Therefore the TFS Soft Tubing comes in three diameters, where 2.5mm is used for free swinging hooks, 3.2mm for fixed hook setups and 3mm silicone tubing can be used both for free swinging hooks as well as to put on Compact-13C or Long Range-13 tubes.
For free swinging hook arrangements the key is to cut the front of the TFS Soft Tubing at a 90 degree angle in order for the hook to be aligned with the axis of the metal tube while fishing. Furthermore, you shouldn't cut the soft tubing too long - just enough to cover the hook shank and tippet knot is plenty. This is soft tubing after all and it's prone to flexing over a certain length.
When choosing between a free swinging hook and a fixed hook setup the Foxy-Tails Team follows a simple rule - whenever we tie a wing using soft materials like Marble Fox Tail or Tanuki Finn Raccoon Pelt we use a free swinging hook setup. When the fly is to have a stiffer wing made of bucktail or including Wild Boar Bristles etc then the team prefers to use a fixed hook.
All TFS Compact Tubes (except the US Tube family) are tapered toward the fly head and this tapered part was given an angle that allows for extra support of the wing. This is support is particularly desirable in Scandinavian style flies but also helps to give the correct body profile on Frances and Snaelda flies.
TFS Compact Tubes are very similar in design to bottle tubes. The only difference is that with Compact Tubes materials are tied using FutureFly 1.8mm Inner Tube while standard bottle tubes have their inner part made of metal. They are meant to be fished with a free swinging hook setup except the Compact-13C variant which has smaller diameter metal butt to allow soft tubing to be put on for fixed hook setups. All TFS Compact Tubes have a single groove at the back for adding a coloured tag.
TFS Long Range-13 tubes have a similar profile to Compact-13C tubes with a smaller diameter metal butt at the back. However they are lighter and have four grooves to accent body segmentation of the fly, especially when you insert contrasting colour thread or enamel into the grooves.
TFS US Tubes can be used to tie both standard body and no-body flies. They are recommended whenever you need to add some weight to the fly and then wrap a body over it. They are most useful when you want the body to remain flat and just tie in silk, tinsel, braid, etc like in the Willie Gunn pattern. You can also combine sections of both US Tube and FutureFly 3.0mm Outer Tube. Of course, US Tubes can also be can be used in the same way as Compact Tubes to tie no-body flies - it depends on your personal preferences and on fishing conditions.
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