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  1. #1
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    Question Has Our Fishing Changed ?

    I have been tying my Spring fishing tubes over the last couple of days. Most of these are tied on 1 1/4 inch copper and aluminum tubes plus Loop bottles, Eumers and coneheads and the largest is tied on a 1 1/2 inch copper tube, which actually looks quite a large fly to my eye.

    Looking back at Francis Grant's book he was regularly fishing 2 1/2 inch copper and brass tubes in Spring on the Dee, presumably because snowmelt was a much more significant factor 20 years or so ago. I prefer to fish a lighter fly on a faster sinking line where possible and find I have no need for heavier flies than these although I do like a larger lighter fly like a large Waddington at times

    Do you think fishing conditions have changed over the last few years and do you feel happy using smaller tubes or do you stick with the old classics. On the Tweed last back end i saw a guy with a Comet that was at least 5 inches long

    What are your favourite tube sizes and weights and what will you be using this Spring ?
    Last edited by splash; 04-01-2008 at 12:06 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Oct 2007
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    The longest tubes I use are 1 1/2" but with a long wing/dressing it can measure 3-4" and really think that is big enough for the rivers i fish.

  3. #3

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    The smaller the fly the better for me. The largest tube I'll be using this spring will be 1 1/4" copper.

  4. #4
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    Nov 2007
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    Wiltshire
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    This is very interesting - I'm off to the Dee for my first go at spring fishing this Feb. I'd been tying up 2 inch and down to 1/2 inch black and yellows and Willie gunns - gold and regular. I was also wondering about the practicality of using big heavy doubles (Loop nickel) with a long tail - say 3 to 3.5 inches. So, looking forward to learning again, what a helpful site!

    Whilst on the subject can I throw into the pot a novice question? What size hook would you choose to use on a 2 inch tube? I prefer using doubles if possible.

  5. #5
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    Oct 2007
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    I have Grant's drowned Mouse on 3" copper tubes giving a fly length of about 5". Not a problem to cast with a shooting head - joyless on a full line. I still think there is a place for the big fly (which in reality is only the size of an 18 grm Toby) fished slowly in water temps of < 38f or 3c. Trouble is we so rarely see these temps during the season compared to even 15 years ago. The other thing to consider is actually trying the very big tubes moved fast in warmer water in the style of a collie or sunray. The big tube has a different profile so can make a good alternative play.

    CLaG

  6. #6
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    Oct 2007
    Location
    Norway
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    20 years ago all Rods was a lot heavier than modern Rods so the "feeling" of a 2,5'' brasstube was'nt so bad.
    But these days modern sinking line system (with polyleaders) is a lot better so I prefer a heavy line with a light conehead with fluffy wings(3'' -4'')

  7. #7
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    Oct 2007
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    Belfast/Derry
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    I never fish anything above a size 6 low water double.

    But then again im not out when its at its coldest or highest.

    All my fishing is done on a summer/autumn spate river and anything above 2ft on the gauge usually means its dirty and unfishable.

    But when it does start to clean i use big size 6's on a heavy sinking line so you could say i use light fly heavy lines

    Usually cascades at that as well. Havent found a better fly to fish all season long in good water.

  8. #8
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    Nov 2007
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    Agree that there is still a place for big heavy flies.

    Are we sure that the smaller tubes are always fishing as deep as we think they are?

    Putting the line used to one side for a moment. Sink rate of a fly is determined not just by the weight of the tube but the quantity of dressing and the surface area. I'm not convinced that bottle tubes with loads of stuff on them sink remotely as quickly as a long brass tube relatively sparsely dressed.

    My suspicion is that people are actually using a mid water - sub surface presentation with tubes that create a fly image about the same size as a 2 or 4 dressed fly. Rather than what we think we're doing which is a more subtle version of the deeply sunk big spring tube.

    The fact is that it has always been possible to catch early springers on the subsurface to mid water fly. For instance, the first fish off the Wye last year came to a #4 silver gary fished on a sink tip.

    What might be happening is that by following fashion people are actually missing out on the tactical option provided by the really big heavy sunk
    fly that gets down really deep.

    The best catch of springers I'm aware of on the fly last year in England (and I would hazard a guess in Scotland, Ireland and Wales too) was by Peter Dibden on the Somerley Estate waters of the Hants Avon. He caught a twenty pound plus and an twenty five pound plus fish on consecutive days. The fly he was using was described as a 'three inch black and yellow brass tube'

    see here: http://www.avondiary.net/?m=200703

    Entry for 23rd March.

    The water temp must have been 48f/9c at the very least, probably a good deal higher. According to the various recipe books the 'ideal' tube fly body length for those conditions should be 1 .25 inch maximum. Even assuming that his three inch fly only had a body of say 2.25 inches (which I'm not sure we should) it is still twice as big as the 'recipes' suggest and positively gargantuan if you follow fashion. .

    Tom
    Last edited by severnfisher; 04-01-2008 at 01:16 PM.

  9. #9

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    One great difference between 20-25 years ago and now is the ready availability of fast sinking lines. Remember that back then a Wetcel 11 was considered a fast sinker.

    In those days, we tended to look to the fly to provide depth, in a way that is no longer so necessary. Anyone who was fishing the lower Tweed 25 years ago will probably have seen a early prototype of the conehead - a big tube fly with a drilled .22 bullet attached to the front. Anyone who thinks a 2" copper or brass tube is difficult to cast should try one of these babies! Modern fast sinking lines have, thankfully, rendered them more or less obsolete.

    Additionally, 20-25 years ago the long winged/tailed fly wasn't universally popular in the way it is now. People tended to tie both conventional hooks and tubes with the dressing extending only a short distance behind the rear of the hook. I think there was still a feeling that long trailing dressings encouraged fish to take short. Since the near-universal embracing of the Allys Shrimp-type profile of fly, and more recently the Templedog, that belief now looks old-fashioned. Even with what might be termed conventional tube tyings, the dressings are much longer than would formerly have been the case - I still have many tubes, both of my own tying and a few commercial ones, from 20-25 years ago that attest to this.

    I suspect the overall size of the flies, and the depth at which we fish them, hasn't changed all that much. However, where we would once have used a fly with overall length of 3.5"-4", tied on a 3" brass tube and fished on a Wetcel 11 line, we can now achieve a similar (and arguably better) result with a 3.5-4" templedog tied on a 1" tube, fished on a fast sinking line.

  10. #10
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    I agree with Charlie that the availability of much better and consistent fast sinking lines has made the real difference in our general approach.

    I heard its snowing hard on Deeside just now so lets cross our fingers that rivers such as the Dee and Spey will benefit from a snow melt fuelled spring with water levels more consistent than in 2007
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