I’m tying and using more tube flies for steelhead and Atlantic salmon fishing. One of the few downsides of tube flies has been finding a way to store them and their replaceable hooks, particularly while on the water. I’ve tried: simple plastic (Plano) boxes; straws to hold each tube; plastic and ziploc bags; and hooks inserted in each tube so they can be used in conventional fly boxes. Each has had its own problems, and I’m still looking for the best solution, so I was eager to try the Plan D tube fly box that Fish Tales has recently stocked. Keep reading to see why I concluded that the Plan D tube fly box is a great product.
Plan D is a small US firm that makes rugged, waterproof fly boxes for standard, articulated and tube flies. The articulated fly box is very popular for streamers and steelhead flies, and much of the tube fly box review is relevant.
Plan D tube fly models include:
- Pocket Tube Plus – 6.6” X 5.2” X 1.4” – 20 medium flies one side with clear plastic cover
- Pocket Tube Max - 6.6” X 5.2” X 1.6” – 40 medium flies two sides
- Pack Tube Plus – 9.5” X 5.2” X 1.4” – 20 large flies one side with clear plastic cover
- Pack Tube Max; - 9.5” X 5.2” X 1.6” – 40 large flies two sides.
The Pocket Tube Max fits into the pockets of my rain coat, waders, and fishing shirts, which means I can load and bring it, regardless of the weather. It’s rugged, with strong hinges and a gasket and closure that provides a tight, waterproof seal. It showed no signs of weakness or leakage during a month of continuous use.
Loading Tube Flies
The tube fly attachment system is ingenious. Each tube fly is held on an individual mandrel that passes through the tube from the back to the front (see photo). The hook on the back of the mandrel presses lightly against the back of the tube to hold it. The front of the metal mandrel is then cut to fit the tube length and inserted securely into a silicon sleeve on the edge of the Plan D box (see photo). Mandrels are available in 3 sizes to fit all tube diameters. I found that the Medium size worked for me.
It does take time to set the box up initially, but once loaded, removing or replacing flies is quick and easy. The Plan D box also includes slits to securely hold tube fly hooks (photo), so the only things you might need to carry separately are junction tubing or extra cones/discs. One option is to thread extra tubing and cones on a mandrel so that everything you need is at your fingertips in the Plan D box.
While the Plan D box is comparatively expensive, this is an example where you get what you pay for. It’s a great product - well designed and functional, and I’m going to enjoy using it for many years to come.