Hitching part 2: hitching with tubes


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Hitching with tubes.

Many of the same principles hold true for hitch tubes as when fishing with irons.
The main difference being that a hole is made in the side of the tube in order to cause the planner effect. The norm seems to be the flies are dressed above the hole, with wings extending to the end of the tube or a little longer.

I'm not going to get too sciency on the hitch tubes. But looking to science on the construction of kites can help us. Kite theory states that a kite will fly when the centre of pressure is at or above the centre of gravity.
Applying this to hitch tubes. The centre of pressure will typically be where the hole is and the centre of gravity will typically be on the tube close to the hook.

Putting the hole further back at perhaps the middle of the tube will expose more surface area to the current and will take much less current in order to bring it to the surface. Conversely a hole placed further up the tube will take much more current to bring it to the top. A hole further back is much more likely to create the undesirable frizz in strong water, but will make the anglers job easier in slower waters.

Angle of the hole: the angle of the hole will dictate how the fly will swim. A 90 degree hole will mean the hitch will swim at that angle ( or thereabouts) with the hook pointing to your side of the bank( when hitched on the side).
With tubes you can also fish on the side or the bottom of the tube. All advantages and disadvantages for irons apply to hitch tubes.

To make matters easier I hitch with a single hole and turn the tube around like a dial depending on which bank or water type I'm fishing. The tube may appear upside down to you, but when in the water the fish just sees a side profile of the fly. Experiment with the different effects you get when moving the tube hole around the clock face.
Pushing the hook further into the tube will move the centre of gravity further up the tube
Giving you the same affect as moving the hole further down the tube.
These methods will all give you different wakes. You are looking to get an even wake. Not too high in the water, not throwing frizz and a wake you can comfortably see in the fishing conditions.

Tube size:
Because the tube is swimming at an angle. A short tube will have better chances of a salmon hitting the hook. It should be noted that a tubes length really has very little to do with the size of the wake created. Diameter of the tube and how densely the fly is tied is a much better indicator on the wake size.

A wake that is too large for conditions will scare salmon. A wake that is too anaemic for conditions wont elicit any reactions at all.

I have witnessed salmon leave a pool with a large hitch, but then I've had them ignore all other tubes than a 3 inch 4mm willie Gunn tube. So experimentation is needed. Start small and work your way up.

I generally use tubes to match the size of fly I would normally fish that day. My local river rarely requires more than a size 6, with size 10 being a good all rounder. So I typically use a 3/4" 3mm tube. But in close to low water I have caught many using 1cm 1.8mm tubes.
When tubes get to that size a single hole is very important. Two holes will weaken and cause these thin tubes to buckle and mono is stiff when trying to get it in one hole and not out the other.

Blocked hole:
I like to block the hole at the top of the tube. In my experience it means the tube is fishing much earlier than tubes with open tops.

Use any lightweight hooks that snugly fit the tubes. Down eye and up eye hooks can affect the way a fly swims . Avoid double hooks as they are poor hookers. Salmon parr are crazy about the hitch, using a larger hook will prevent you from hooking up with these valuable fish.

Fly patterns:
Tube flies by their very nature offer more surface area to the current and therefore are much easier to keep on the surface. This opens up the type of material you can use in your flies. Avoid any materials that will block the hole or catch your line. This I believe is why throat hackles are used instead of wrapped hackles on tubes.

Thoughts on hitch tubes:
I have a number of questions with regards to hitch tubes:
1. If irons are hitched above the fly, why is the tube hitched below the main body of the fly?
2. Like a kite, would an absorbent hair at the bottom of the tube act like a kite tail? Keeping the centre of gravity below the centre of pressure and giving the fish more underwater clues that a fly is coming.

Advantages of hitch tubes:
Much easier to keep on the surface
More versatile in terms of fly patterns
Larger wakes than hooks.
Easily adjusted to give different wakes.

Disadvantages of hitch tubes:
Larger wakes
Have to retie in order to fish a conventional fly

Part 3 will be about fishing the hitch and when to fish the hitch.