FITS Tube System

Already during the early 70’s, while I was fishing along the shores of Älvkarleby, I for the first time came in contact with tubes that wouldn’t crack when in cold water and that was stiff enough for tying both big and small flies. The conditions were tough, and most tubing just couldn’t handle the hard conditions with 20 below, ice and endless snags. I found how important tubing quality was already then and ever since a strong flexible tubing has been what the system has been built around.

The years passed and in the beginning of the 90’s, when visiting a Nordic fly fishing fair, there was a big tank where you could test your flies ability to swim. This was long before any fly testing tanks. That’s when I first fully understood the importance of balancing your tube flies. We already knew that the hook, placed in the back of the tube, would make it heavy in the rear end but I didn’t know that it was as bad as this. The fly was hanging down a lot more than I had imagined. All the work with designs and soft materials and all different kinds of tapering, just seemed meaningless all of a sudden. Balancing the fly suddenly became a key to creating the perfect tube fly.

I went back home and shared my experience with my fishing buddy Håkan Norling. For you to understand, Håkan and myself both worked professionally with tying flies and experimenting. We tied thousands and thousands and spoke daily. This was great, all ideas were critically tested, and it was a very creative environment with the salmon fly in centre. We had already started experimenting with different ways of balancing. All from metal pieces to lead tape, beads eyes and uniting of metal tubes and plastic. The central issue was to make the fly as light and mobile as possible and at the same time balanced. The importance of balancing the design was taking up more and more of our time. The intention was to make the fly swim in a certain way but also to maximize the fly’s hooking abilities. The salmon takes the fly from the side and therefore the hook needed to be in the centre to get the best hold.

The first cones that were made were pretty clumsy creations in brass. They were a further development of different forms of metal beads, that were made to be thread on to hooks and not really for tube flies. Håkan’s and mine experiments lead to the wished for result; to make a tube hold both a hook and a cone in place at the same time. The tubing system with two different sizes of diameter that would fit together was born this way. Soon we found tungsten and from there the balancing was solved.

An older Vaehaeniva

The first turbo

“The central issue was to make the fly as light and mobile as possible and at the same time balanced.

Nanook, the beautiful sunshine fly

Ever since all my flies except dries and skaters have been tied with cones. Different cones to give different profile. The cone proved to be great for both finishing off as balancing different fly creations. It didn’t take long before you could find all different kinds of cones on the market. The cones didn’t really meet my standard, so I needed to make my own design. Enough weight, the right diameter and easy to tie with. It all became the start of the FITS system – the modern tube fly was born.

The Original Tubing
As an eager teenager all the tubing I used were clear or semi clear plastic. Already during the early years of my work as a guide at the mighty Gaulfossen on the Norwegian Gaula, I was experimenting with fluorescent tubes. Although a couple of my fly creations took lots of big salmon, it didn’t occur to me to continue experimenting and developing my tubes in various colours for the fly fishing market. The flies tied on these bright tubing were only to be found in my own fly boxes.

When the idea of letting the different colours of the SALAR hooks become a part of the fly pattern, it became natural to proceed with developing tubes in different colours also to be sold out to the public. I presented the ideas on how to use fluorescent tubing into tube flies with an article in “Fiske För Alla” 2004. Nowadays this is a general standard used by tiers worldwide. Although there have been attempts to surpass FITS, they still are the most flexible, durable and functional tubes on the market. The system builds upon two combinations: x-small that fits into the medium and small that fits into the large. The XS holds the cone and the medium holds the hook. If you prefer the thicker body or to hold a bigger hook the combination of Small and Large is to be used. The small tubing stretches beautifully to take the cone and the large tubing will hold any hook on the market. It’s simple and creates the most durable and varied tubing system there is. Today FITS comes in twelve different colours that you can combine in any way you like.

“TTT” – Tungsten Turbo Tubes
I was a bit slow to start using flies with free hanging hooks. I first only used it on my small micro tubes tied directly on to the XS tubing. On these tiny flies the tube to hold the hook just made them look to clumsy. I think it was Roger Ahlfors that first started to tie in the wing in front of a cone, a regular cone that added a bit of weight. Roger is a superb fisher and a very innovated fly tier.

When I looked into adding some kind of weight to the FITS system I experimented with different tubing on this concept. It all ended up with the TTT that today is not only simple to tie on and give fantastic fishing flies, but it also very fast become popular among many of Scandinavia’s most experienced salmon anglers. TTT can be used in several different ways. Central is the high specific weight and a design that opens up soft materials without collapsing – all to create that perfect swimming fly. On the Tungsten Turbo Tube you tie on the neck in front of the cone, lean the material against the back of the tube to create the perfect drop formed fly. As simple as genius!

For those of you who prefer a lacquered tying thread head – there is enough room for that. If you prefer to finish your fly with a cone, just let it slide down tight in front of the tube. Personally, I prefer to use them this way. I let the last turn of hackle go down on the XS plastic FITS that lines the metal and then put a micro turbo to end, it’s a both easy and very durable way of doing it.

Fluor Orange Tubing

Tungsten Turbo Tubes in 3 sizes

A good one...

FITS TTT are made to fish with a loose hanging hook, as a “Pluppis” lined with XS Tubing. But is just as good to integrate with XS and M or stretched S and L FITS Tubing. You simply connect the two as usual and let the TTT slide down in front of the connection. If you prefer to fish them loose hanging, M or S FITS Tubing is perfect to use as a short body and hook holder. Choose colour to fit the pattern. I actually also use dressed tubes to hold the hook. A bit of brushed SSS Glitz dubbing gives a fly with a bit more volume to it. If you prefer that very translucent fly, just use a bare tube.

Some think the weighted fly is to be used to fish deep. For me it’s quite the opposite. Deep down there is no current to move the weighted fly. But to use the TTT on a slow tip or floater in heavy water creates a deadly combination of a fly that straighten the leader and go through the waves starting to fish immediately. And a bit of bragging – the two first salmon on the large TTT come from the mighty Alta and both weighted over 35 lbs.

The Tubing Needles
To tie a good fly the tubing needs to sit tight on the needle. If or when it starts to spin the tying turns a nightmare. Of course, it also needs to be possible to easy take the fly off the needle once it’s ready. We solved it with making our own needle. The FITS original needle is especially developed for the flexible FITS tubing system. With the four different diameters you will tie on all FITS tubing sizes on one needle. The tubes will be held firmly without problems to take out the ready fly. This needle opens for all possible tube combinations. It is made of hardened steel with a foot that fits all kinds of tying vises. A little simple tool made for thousands of flies.

If you want to tie on aluminium or brass, yes some actually still do. We made a little genius tool consists of an original FITS tubing needle that take all four diameters of flexible FITS tubing. You can also take away the needle and fasten all kinds of metal tubes, simple and effective! This is the complete tubing device that let you tie everything. And yes... it simply FITS.

The Tungsten Cones
The natural extension of our work on the tubing system was to make cones that would fit the system. The ones that existed were either too clumsy with too big or too small holes. They weren’t enough scooped out on the back. They were hard to tie with and not really suitable for larger wings or hackles.
The answer was tungsten. The material has high density which gives the possibility of making thinner cones without losing their ability to balance. Three sizes S, XS and micro weighing 0,2-0,3-0,45 g balance all from the smallest tube with a micro hook to the biggest fly with a hook strong enough to stop a train. The regular tungsten cones give a quite slim profile to the fly. The profile of the fly is important, and the system here gives you all the options you can possibly need. The 17 colours give you the possibility to adjust all your favourite patterns to the system.

Some think the weighted fly is to be used to fish deep. For me it’s quite the opposite.

Original Tubing Needle

Tungsten Cones in 3 sizes

The Turbo Revolution
One day by the Scottish Dee more than 25 years ago I was totally flabbergasted over the difference in movement in two of my flies. I was holding them next to each other in the current and one of them flipped lazily back and forth, hardly noticeable while the other one was swimming energetically. The short wing looked so alive. But how could this be? They were both tied with the same material in the same size. The only difference was that one of them had a small 3,5 mm cone and the other one a very small head tied with only a couple of layers of very thin thread.

The obvious explanation was so apparent, but yet so far away. As a professional fly tier I was completely absorbed with the obvious truth that a good fly should have the tiniest head possible. A few turns as possible with an as thin tying thread would give a graceful impression, but it couldn’t be more wrong. The small head only shows the fly tiers skilfulness in handling the thin thread, nothing else. The best fly is still the one that gives the most fish and not the fly that is the most difficult to tie. The most beautiful fly is the one you loosen from the corner of the mouth of a silvery shining big salmon. This is fly design at its best – to change to something that undoubtedly gives you a more effective fly.

Turbulence created behind the cone with the tiny wing’s soft fibers dancing ahead in a very alluring fashion, that’s the key. I have ever since the 70’s first fumbling attempts with fox hair, been totally engaged with the fly’s movement. The more it swims and the more alive impression it makes the better it fishes. This is a truth that has followed me through all my fly designs and patterns over the years. It came to me as a revolution; the bigger head the more turbulent water for the fly to swim in. The more turbulence the bigger possibility to use super soft materials even in fast waters without the risk of a collapse of the material’s movement and volume. The more alive the fly will look the more takes it will produce.

My experimenting was picking up and with the help of some physical truths I eventually created the turbo cones: 4, 6 and 8 mm. This is the cone that give the fattest profile of all our cones. Flies with these cones give me most of my fish today. The first ones were a bit bigger: 8, 10 and 12 mm and a bit tricky to cast. I first thought that the hole fly needed to be inside the stream to give maximum movement. Now I know, after years of testing that the tip of the wing doesn’t need to be inside, it will swim like a dream even outside the turbulence. The cones diameter plus 20% give the maximum width of the turbulent stream. Multiply the diameter with 10 and you have the length of the turbulent stream. Just imagine how obvious this is today, a few years later. The cone makes it possible to use extra soft materials even in the fastest stream. Soft material that create a translucent fly with maximum swimming. The cone creates the perfect drop form – in all circumstances. The fly creates its own turbulent stream that will set the material in motion and never makes it collapse. So incredibly obvious but still so revolutionary simple! There is another important truth here – the fly is all the fish will see and the fly is what produce the take. I have said many times – “A great fly should look like it will bite the leader and swim off by itself”.

The 1/2 Turbo
To tie the perfect fly the profile is very important. The half turbo comes from the turbo and the prototypes were developed together with Håkan Norling. The idea was to get a fly that would surf a bit on the cone and be a bit unstable in the water creating nice movements. Again, the way the fly moves, and swims is everything. The cone creates a medium fat profile right between the regular tungsten cone and the turbo. Same sizes as turbo 4, 6 and 8 mm give good options. It has been on the market in our tungsten version some years now and these are the cones we use on our “Classic Series” of flies. When using them I prefer to tie in all wings first followed by front hackles. When almost all is ready, I set a last turn of front hackle and divide it with few strands of over wing. This way even the fattest fly can have a 1/2 turbo cone where you at a first glimpse think it is impossible to hide all behind the delicate cone. A good trick to tie durable 1/2 turbo flies.

The advantage of a cone that also steers the fly and not only balance the hook is on some flies obvious. The new tungsten half turbo is neater, better looking and the tungsten density makes them steer and balance even better. The smallest ones are superb for our slim summer flies. Many of us think they look a bit odd but after fishing them seeing how they swim and behave most are hooked on them. It’s a great possibility to be able to choose what profile you prefer. I have in my boxes and wallets flies tied with all different kinds of cones. I like not only different size and patterns but also often want to change the profile of the fly.

How to Use the System
I use the FITS system in many different ways. It’s all I need to tie every possible pattern or design I will need for my fishing. Any fly with any profile from the fattest to the slimmest. For the biggest flies I combine small with large tubing and for the medium to small flies I use x-small and medium tubing. To connect the different tubing, I never use super-glue. Instead I cut the thicker tube to an angle on the end, tie a few turns of thread over the joint, the turns of the tying thread squeeze the tubing tightly and it will stay without glue. The construction will stay flexible and strong. I let the length of the thicker tube decide the size of the fly. Approximately half the tube length compared to the length of the wing makes nice proportions and flies with good hooking ability. The salmon takes the fly from the side therefore a fly with a hook inside of the construction gives a much better hooking rate. Sea trout tend to take the fly more from behind, therefore my sea trout flies have the hook further back.

When it comes to smaller flies, I mostly tie according to my “simple fly concept”. I only use a few millimetres of the x-small tube to tie the hackle, wing and cone on. I know that many people stretch the small tube to get the same result, which works fine as well. The tubes are so flexible that you can even put a cone on a medium tube. For me the concept, when it comes to bigger flies, using two tubes is the best alternative which makes the strongest construction. A good fly should hold for fish after fish and even be inherited from father to son.

I’m completely hooked on the tube concept. Today I almost fish exclusively with flies where the turbo cone, 1/2 turbo or TTT gives the fly a turbulent stream of its own to swim in. In the turbulence the fly will swim more and better. As the years have gone by and my testing of the flies by rivers, streams and also in my fly testing tank, I have progressively started to use smaller turbo cones. An 8 mm cone that I earlier on used on 8 cm flies is today used on a lot bigger flies as well. It’s no disadvantage for the point of the wing to be exactly behind the actual turbulence – quite the opposite. The point where the streams meet behind the turbulence is never constant which makes the point of the wing swim in a very irregular and attractive way.

For the last couple of years TTT flies have given me increasingly amount of fish. They produce a slightly weighted fly that on a straight cast starts to fish immediately. They are simple to tie and extremely effective on the river. I tie most of mine by starting with hackles, then the wing construction and finishing by coming down with the thread on the XS tubing that lines the tungsten tube. One or two turns of very soft hackle and a micro turbo gives a cool look and durable finish. The TTT gives as broad and translucent profile as the regular Turbo cone. The diameter is what sets the shape of the profile.

When it comes to colour I normally let the pattern decide the colour of the cone. I often use a combination tube-cone that gives a lot of contrast and a nice display of colours. The rubber turbo needs to be mentioned as well. These have the advantage of being light and at the same time never crack but the biggest advantage is when you use different types of wakers, skaters and dry flies. The possibility of changing the form by cutting it gives you exciting flies with unique qualities.

The regular tungsten cones I use mostly for my smallest flies, the ones that are smaller than 15 mm. I also use them when I need a fly with a slimmer profile. Check the FITS “How to Use” chart here and you see the difference in weight and fly profile.

The principle of fishing a light as possible fly and letting the line take it down to the fish, is I think the best way to go. The more the fly move the more takes it will produce. Make sure that the fly is balanced fishing straight in the water. The FITS tungsten cones are made for this. Although on occasions when I want to dip-fish a fly deeply on an extremely short line, this demands a fly with a bit more weight. Then the TTT is absolutely perfect.

Check out the latest version of the FITS Tube System with all the different styles, sizes and colours here in the shop.

Tungsten Turbo Cones in 3 sizes

The fly creates its own turbulent stream that will set the material in motion and never allow it collapse.

Tungsten 1/2 Turbo Cones 3 sizes

Micro Yellow White Wing

FITS Tube System

Already during the early 70’s, while I was fishing along the shores of Älvkarleby, I for the first time came in contact with tubes that wouldn’t crack when in cold water and that was stiff enough for tying both big and small flies. The conditions were tough, and most tubing just couldn’t handle the hard conditions with 20 below, ice and endless snags. I found how important tubing quality was already then and ever since a strong flexible tubing has been what the system has been built around.

The years passed and in the beginning of the 90’s, when visiting a Nordic fly fishing fair, there was a big tank where you could test your flies ability to swim. This was long before any fly testing tanks. That’s when I first fully understood the importance of balancing your tube flies. We already knew that the hook, placed in the back of the tube, would make it heavy in the rear end but I didn’t know that it was as bad as this. The fly was hanging down a lot more than I had imagined. All the work with designs and soft materials and all different kinds of tapering, just seemed meaningless all of a sudden. Balancing the fly suddenly became a key to creating the perfect tube fly.

An older Vaehaeniva

I went back home and shared my experience with my fishing buddy Håkan Norling. For you to understand, Håkan and myself both worked professionally with tying flies and experimenting. We tied thousands and thousands and spoke daily. This was great, all ideas were critically tested, and it was a very creative environment with the salmon fly in centre. We had already started experimenting with different ways of balancing. All from metal pieces to lead tape, beads eyes and uniting of metal tubes and plastic. The central issue was to make the fly as light and mobile as possible and at the same time balanced. The importance of balancing the design was taking up more and more of our time. The intention was to make the fly swim in a certain way but also to maximize the fly’s hooking abilities. The salmon takes the fly from the side and therefore the hook needed to be in the centre to get the best hold.

The first cones that were made were pretty clumsy creations in brass. They were a further development of different forms of metal beads, that were made to be thread on to hooks and not really for tube flies. Håkan’s and mine experiments lead to the wished for result; to make a tube hold both a hook and a cone in place at the same time. The tubing system with two different sizes of diameter that would fit together was born this way. Soon we found tungsten and from there the balancing was solved.

“The central issue was to make the fly as light and mobile as possible and at the same time balanced.

Nanook, the beautiful sunshine fly

Ever since all my flies except dries and skaters have been tied with cones. Different cones to give different profile. The cone proved to be great for both finishing off as balancing different fly creations. It didn’t take long before you could find all different kinds of cones on the market. The cones didn’t really meet my standard, so I needed to make my own design. Enough weight, the right diameter and easy to tie with. It all became the start of the FITS system – the modern tube fly was born.

The Original Tubing
As an eager teenager all the tubing I used were clear or semi clear plastic. Already during the early years of my work as a guide at the mighty Gaulfossen on the Norwegian Gaula, I was experimenting with fluorescent tubes. Although a couple of my fly creations took lots of big salmon, it didn’t occur to me to continue experimenting and developing my tubes in various colours for the fly fishing market. The flies tied on these bright tubing were only to be found in my own fly boxes.

Fluor Orange Tubing

When the idea of letting the different colours of the SALAR hooks become a part of the fly pattern, it became natural to proceed with developing tubes in different colours also to be sold out to the public. I presented the ideas on how to use fluorescent tubing into tube flies with an article in “Fiske För Alla” 2004. Nowadays this is a general standard used by tiers worldwide. Although there have been attempts to surpass FITS, they still are the most flexible, durable and functional tubes on the market. The system builds upon two combinations: x-small that fits into the medium and small that fits into the large. The XS holds the cone and the medium holds the hook. If you prefer the thicker body or to hold a bigger hook the combination of Small and Large is to be used. The small tubing stretches beautifully to take the cone and the large tubing will hold any hook on the market. It’s simple and creates the most durable and varied tubing system there is. Today FITS comes in twelve different colours that you can combine in any way you like.

“TTT” – Tungsten Turbo Tubes
I was a bit slow to start using flies with free hanging hooks. I first only used it on my small micro tubes tied directly on to the XS tubing. On these tiny flies the tube to hold the hook just made them look to clumsy. I think it was Roger Ahlfors that first started to tie in the wing in front of a cone, a regular cone that added a bit of weight. Roger is a superb fisher and a very innovated fly tier.

When I looked into adding some kind of weight to the FITS system I experimented with different tubing on this concept. It all ended up with the TTT that today is not only simple to tie on and give fantastic fishing flies, but it also very fast become popular among many of Scandinavia’s most experienced salmon anglers. TTT can be used in several different ways. Central is the high specific weight and a design that opens up soft materials without collapsing – all to create that perfect swimming fly. On the Tungsten Turbo Tube you tie on the neck in front of the cone, lean the material against the back of the tube to create the perfect drop formed fly. As simple as genius!

For those of you who prefer a lacquered tying thread head – there is enough room for that. If you prefer to finish your fly with a cone, just let it slide down tight in front of the tube. Personally, I prefer to use them this way. I let the last turn of hackle go down on the XS plastic FITS that lines the metal and then put a micro turbo to end, it’s a both easy and very durable way of doing it.

Some think the weighted fly is to be used to fish deep. For me it’s quite the opposite.

FITS TTT are made to fish with a loose hanging hook, as a “Pluppis” lined with XS Tubing. But is just as good to integrate with XS and M or stretched S and L FITS Tubing. You simply connect the two as usual and let the TTT slide down in front of the connection. If you prefer to fish them loose hanging, M or S FITS Tubing is perfect to use as a short body and hook holder. Choose colour to fit the pattern. I actually also use dressed tubes to hold the hook. A bit of brushed SSS Glitz dubbing gives a fly with a bit more volume to it. If you prefer that very translucent fly, just use a bare tube.

Some think the weighted fly is to be used to fish deep. For me it’s quite the opposite. Deep down there is no current to move the weighted fly. But to use the TTT on a slow tip or floater in heavy water creates a deadly combination of a fly that straighten the leader and go through the waves starting to fish immediately. And a bit of bragging – the two first salmon on the large TTT come from the mighty Alta and both weighted over 35 lbs.

The Tubing Needles
To tie a good fly the tubing needs to sit tight on the needle. If or when it starts to spin the tying turns a nightmare. Of course, it also needs to be possible to easy take the fly off the needle once it’s ready. We solved it with making our own needle. The FITS original needle is especially developed for the flexible FITS tubing system. With the four different diameters you will tie on all FITS tubing sizes on one needle. The tubes will be held firmly without problems to take out the ready fly. This needle opens for all possible tube combinations. It is made of hardened steel with a foot that fits all kinds of tying vises. A little simple tool made for thousands of flies.

If you want to tie on aluminium or brass, yes some actually still do. We made a little genius tool consists of an original FITS tubing needle that take all four diameters of flexible FITS tubing. You can also take away the needle and fasten all kinds of metal tubes, simple and effective! This is the complete tubing device that let you tie everything. And yes... it simply FITS.

A good one...

The Tungsten Cones
The natural extension of our work on the tubing system was to make cones that would fit the system. The ones that existed were either too clumsy with too big or too small holes. They weren’t enough scooped out on the back. They were hard to tie with and not really suitable for larger wings or hackles.
The answer was tungsten. The material has high density which gives the possibility of making thinner cones without losing their ability to balance. Three sizes S, XS and micro weighing 0,2-0,3-0,45 g balance all from the smallest tube with a micro hook to the biggest fly with a hook strong enough to stop a train. The regular tungsten cones give a quite slim profile to the fly. The profile of the fly is important, and the system here gives you all the options you can possibly need. The 17 colours give you the possibility to adjust all your favourite patterns to the system.

The Turbo Revolution
One day by the Scottish Dee more than 25 years ago I was totally flabbergasted over the difference in movement in two of my flies. I was holding them next to each other in the current and one of them flipped lazily back and forth, hardly noticeable while the other one was swimming energetically. The short wing looked so alive. But how could this be? They were both tied with the same material in the same size. The only difference was that one of them had a small 3,5 mm cone and the other one a very small head tied with only a couple of layers of very thin thread.

The obvious explanation was so apparent, but yet so far away. As a professional fly tier I was completely absorbed with the obvious truth that a good fly should have the tiniest head possible. A few turns as possible with an as thin tying thread would give a graceful impression, but it couldn’t be more wrong. The small head only shows the fly tiers skilfulness in handling the thin thread, nothing else. The best fly is still the one that gives the most fish and not the fly that is the most difficult to tie. The most beautiful fly is the one you loosen from the corner of the mouth of a silvery shining big salmon. This is fly design at its best – to change to something that undoubtedly gives you a more effective fly.

Turbulence created behind the cone with the tiny wing’s soft fibers dancing ahead in a very alluring fashion, that’s the key. I have ever since the 70’s first fumbling attempts with fox hair, been totally engaged with the fly’s movement. The more it swims and the more alive impression it makes the better it fishes. This is a truth that has followed me through all my fly designs and patterns over the years. It came to me as a revolution; the bigger head the more turbulent water for the fly to swim in. The more turbulence the bigger possibility to use super soft materials even in fast waters without the risk of a collapse of the material’s movement and volume. The more alive the fly will look the more takes it will produce.

The fly creates its’ own turbulent stream that will set the material in motion and never makes it collapse.

My experimenting was picking up and with the help of some physical truths I eventually created the turbo cones: 4, 6 and 8 mm. This is the cone that give the fattest profile of all our cones. Flies with these cones give me most of my fish today. The first ones were a bit bigger: 8, 10 and 12 mm and a bit tricky to cast. I first thought that the hole fly needed to be inside the stream to give maximum movement. Now I know, after years of testing that the tip of the wing doesn’t need to be inside, it will swim like a dream even outside the turbulence. The cones diameter plus 20% give the maximum width of the turbulent stream. Multiply the diameter with 10 and you have the length of the turbulent stream. Just imagine how obvious this is today, a few years later. The cone makes it possible to use extra soft materials even in the fastest stream. Soft material that create a translucent fly with maximum swimming. The cone creates the perfect drop form – in all circumstances. The fly creates its own turbulent stream that will set the material in motion and never makes it collapse. So incredibly obvious but still so revolutionary simple! There is another important truth here – the fly is all the fish will see and the fly is what produce the take. I have said many times – “A great fly should look like it will bite the leader and swim off by itself”.

The 1/2 Turbo
To tie the perfect fly the profile is very important. The half turbo comes from the turbo and the prototypes were developed together with Håkan Norling. The idea was to get a fly that would surf a bit on the cone and be a bit unstable in the water creating nice movements. Again, the way the fly moves, and swims is everything. The cone creates a medium fat profile right between the regular tungsten cone and the turbo. Same sizes as turbo 4, 6 and 8 mm give good options. It has been on the market in our tungsten version some years now and these are the cones we use on our “Classic Series” of flies. When using them I prefer to tie in all wings first followed by front hackles. When almost all is ready, I set a last turn of front hackle and divide it with few strands of over wing. This way even the fattest fly can have a 1/2 turbo cone where you at a first glimpse think it is impossible to hide all behind the delicate cone. A good trick to tie durable 1/2 turbo flies.

The advantage of a cone that also steers the fly and not only balance the hook is on some flies obvious. The new tungsten half turbo is neater, better looking and the tungsten density makes them steer and balance even better. The smallest ones are superb for our slim summer flies. Many of us think they look a bit odd but after fishing them seeing how they swim and behave most are hooked on them. It’s a great possibility to be able to choose what profile you prefer. I have in my boxes and wallets flies tied with all different kinds of cones. I like not only different size and patterns but also often want to change the profile of the fly.

How to Use the System
I use the FITS system in many different ways. It’s all I need to tie every possible pattern or design I will need for my fishing. Any fly with any profile from the fattest to the slimmest. For the biggest flies I combine small with large tubing and for the medium to small flies I use x-small and medium tubing. To connect the different tubing, I never use super-glue. Instead I cut the thicker tube to an angle on the end, tie a few turns of thread over the joint, the turns of the tying thread squeeze the tubing tightly and it will stay without glue. The construction will stay flexible and strong. I let the length of the thicker tube decide the size of the fly. Approximately half the tube length compared to the length of the wing makes nice proportions and flies with good hooking ability. The salmon takes the fly from the side therefore a fly with a hook inside of the construction gives a much better hooking rate. Sea trout tend to take the fly more from behind, therefore my sea trout flies have the hook further back.

When it comes to smaller flies, I mostly tie according to my “simple fly concept”. I only use a few millimetres of the x-small tube to tie the hackle, wing and cone on. I know that many people stretch the small tube to get the same result, which works fine as well. The tubes are so flexible that you can even put a cone on a medium tube. For me the concept, when it comes to bigger flies, using two tubes is the best alternative which makes the strongest construction. A good fly should hold for fish after fish and even be inherited from father to son.

I’m completely hooked on the tube concept. Today I almost fish exclusively with flies where the turbo cone, 1/2 turbo or TTT gives the fly a turbulent stream of its own to swim in. In the turbulence the fly will swim more and better. As the years have gone by and my testing of the flies by rivers, streams and also in my fly testing tank, I have progressively started to use smaller turbo cones. An 8 mm cone that I earlier on used on 8 cm flies is today used on a lot bigger flies as well. It’s no disadvantage for the point of the wing to be exactly behind the actual turbulence – quite the opposite. The point where the streams meet behind the turbulence is never constant which makes the point of the wing swim in a very irregular and attractive way.

For the last couple of years TTT flies have given me increasingly amount of fish. They produce a slightly weighted fly that on a straight cast starts to fish immediately. They are simple to tie and extremely effective on the river. I tie most of mine by starting with hackles, then the wing construction and finishing by coming down with the thread on the XS tubing that lines the tungsten tube. One or two turns of very soft hackle and a micro turbo gives a cool look and durable finish. The TTT gives as broad and translucent profile as the regular Turbo cone. The diameter is what sets the shape of the profile.

When it comes to colour I normally let the pattern decide the colour of the cone. I often use a combination tube-cone that gives a lot of contrast and a nice display of colours. The rubber turbo needs to be mentioned as well. These have the advantage of being light and at the same time never crack but the biggest advantage is when you use different types of wakers, skaters and dry flies. The possibility of changing the form by cutting it gives you exciting flies with unique qualities.

The regular tungsten cones I use mostly for my smallest flies, the ones that are smaller than 15 mm. I also use them when I need a fly with a slimmer profile. Check the FITS “How to Use” chart here and you see the difference in weight and fly profile.

Micro Yellow White Wing

The principle of fishing a light as possible fly and letting the line take it down to the fish, is I think the best way to go. The more the fly move the more takes it will produce. Make sure that the fly is balanced fishing straight in the water. The FITS tungsten cones are made for this. Although on occasions when I want to dip-fish a fly deeply on an extremely short line, this demands a fly with a bit more weight. Then the TTT is absolutely perfect.

Check out the latest version of the FITS Tube System with all the different styles, sizes and colours here in the shop.

FITS Tube System

Already during the early 70’s, while I was fishing along the shores of Älvkarleby, I for the first time came in contact with tubes that wouldn’t crack when in cold water and that was stiff enough for tying both big and small flies. The conditions were tough, and most tubing just couldn’t handle the hard conditions with 20 below, ice and endless snags. I found how important tubing quality was already then and ever since a strong flexible tubing has been what the system has been built around.

The years passed and in the beginning of the 90’s, when visiting a Nordic fly fishing fair, there was a big tank where you could test your flies ability to swim. This was long before any fly testing tanks. That’s when I first fully understood the importance of balancing your tube flies. We already knew that the hook, placed in the back of the tube, would make it heavy in the rear end but I didn’t know that it was as bad as this. The fly was hanging down a lot more than I had imagined. All the work with designs and soft materials and all different kinds of tapering, just seemed meaningless all of a sudden. Balancing the fly suddenly became a key to creating the perfect tube fly.

An older Vaehaeniva

I went back home and shared my experience with my fishing buddy Håkan Norling. For you to understand, Håkan and myself both worked professionally with tying flies and experimenting. We tied thousands and thousands and spoke daily. This was great, all ideas were critically tested, and it was a very creative environment with the salmon fly in centre. We had already started experimenting with different ways of balancing. All from metal pieces to lead tape, beads eyes and uniting of metal tubes and plastic. The central issue was to make the fly as light and mobile as possible and at the same time balanced. The importance of balancing the design was taking up more and more of our time. The intention was to make the fly swim in a certain way but also to maximize the fly’s hooking abilities. The salmon takes the fly from the side and therefore the hook needed to be in the centre to get the best hold.

The first cones that were made were pretty clumsy creations in brass. They were a further development of different forms of metal beads, that were made to be thread on to hooks and not really for tube flies. Håkan’s and mine experiments lead to the wished for result; to make a tube hold both a hook and a cone in place at the same time. The tubing system with two different sizes of diameter that would fit together was born this way. Soon we found tungsten and from there the balancing was solved.

“The central issue was to make the fly as light and mobile as possible and at the same time balanced.

Nanook, the beautiful sunshine fly

Ever since all my flies except dries and skaters have been tied with cones. Different cones to give different profile. The cone proved to be great for both finishing off as balancing different fly creations. It didn’t take long before you could find all different kinds of cones on the market. The cones didn’t really meet my standard, so I needed to make my own design. Enough weight, the right diameter and easy to tie with. It all became the start of the FITS system – the modern tube fly was born.

The Original Tubing
As an eager teenager all the tubing I used were clear or semi clear plastic. Already during the early years of my work as a guide at the mighty Gaulfossen on the Norwegian Gaula, I was experimenting with fluorescent tubes. Although a couple of my fly creations took lots of big salmon, it didn’t occur to me to continue experimenting and developing my tubes in various colours for the fly fishing market. The flies tied on these bright tubing were only to be found in my own fly boxes.

Fluor Orange Tubing

When the idea of letting the different colours of the SALAR hooks become a part of the fly pattern, it became natural to proceed with developing tubes in different colours also to be sold out to the public. I presented the ideas on how to use fluorescent tubing into tube flies with an article in “Fiske För Alla” 2004. Nowadays this is a general standard used by tiers worldwide. Although there have been attempts to surpass FITS, they still are the most flexible, durable and functional tubes on the market. The system builds upon two combinations: x-small that fits into the medium and small that fits into the large. The XS holds the cone and the medium holds the hook. If you prefer the thicker body or to hold a bigger hook the combination of Small and Large is to be used. The small tubing stretches beautifully to take the cone and the large tubing will hold any hook on the market. It’s simple and creates the most durable and varied tubing system there is. Today FITS comes in twelve different colours that you can combine in any way you like.

“TTT” – Tungsten Turbo Tubes
I was a bit slow to start using flies with free hanging hooks. I first only used it on my small micro tubes tied directly on to the XS tubing. On these tiny flies the tube to hold the hook just made them look to clumsy. I think it was Roger Ahlfors that first started to tie in the wing in front of a cone, a regular cone that added a bit of weight. Roger is a superb fisher and a very innovated fly tier.

When I looked into adding some kind of weight to the FITS system I experimented with different tubing on this concept. It all ended up with the TTT that today is not only simple to tie on and give fantastic fishing flies, but it also very fast become popular among many of Scandinavia’s most experienced salmon anglers. TTT can be used in several different ways. Central is the high specific weight and a design that opens up soft materials without collapsing – all to create that perfect swimming fly. On the Tungsten Turbo Tube you tie on the neck in front of the cone, lean the material against the back of the tube to create the perfect drop formed fly. As simple as genius!

For those of you who prefer a lacquered tying thread head – there is enough room for that. If you prefer to finish your fly with a cone, just let it slide down tight in front of the tube. Personally, I prefer to use them this way. I let the last turn of hackle go down on the XS plastic FITS that lines the metal and then put a micro turbo to end, it’s a both easy and very durable way of doing it.

Some think the weighted fly is to be used to fish deep. For me it’s quite the opposite.

FITS TTT are made to fish with a loose hanging hook, as a “Pluppis” lined with XS Tubing. But is just as good to integrate with XS and M or stretched S and L FITS Tubing. You simply connect the two as usual and let the TTT slide down in front of the connection. If you prefer to fish them loose hanging, M or S FITS Tubing is perfect to use as a short body and hook holder. Choose colour to fit the pattern. I actually also use dressed tubes to hold the hook. A bit of brushed SSS Glitz dubbing gives a fly with a bit more volume to it. If you prefer that very translucent fly, just use a bare tube.

Some think the weighted fly is to be used to fish deep. For me it’s quite the opposite. Deep down there is no current to move the weighted fly. But to use the TTT on a slow tip or floater in heavy water creates a deadly combination of a fly that straighten the leader and go through the waves starting to fish immediately. And a bit of bragging – the two first salmon on the large TTT come from the mighty Alta and both weighted over 35 lbs.

The Tubing Needles
To tie a good fly the tubing needs to sit tight on the needle. If or when it starts to spin the tying turns a nightmare. Of course, it also needs to be possible to easy take the fly off the needle once it’s ready. We solved it with making our own needle. The FITS original needle is especially developed for the flexible FITS tubing system. With the four different diameters you will tie on all FITS tubing sizes on one needle. The tubes will be held firmly without problems to take out the ready fly. This needle opens for all possible tube combinations. It is made of hardened steel with a foot that fits all kinds of tying vises. A little simple tool made for thousands of flies.

If you want to tie on aluminium or brass, yes some actually still do. We made a little genius tool consists of an original FITS tubing needle that take all four diameters of flexible FITS tubing. You can also take away the needle and fasten all kinds of metal tubes, simple and effective! This is the complete tubing device that let you tie everything. And yes... it simply FITS.

A good one...

The Tungsten Cones
The natural extension of our work on the tubing system was to make cones that would fit the system. The ones that existed were either too clumsy with too big or too small holes. They weren’t enough scooped out on the back. They were hard to tie with and not really suitable for larger wings or hackles.
The answer was tungsten. The material has high density which gives the possibility of making thinner cones without losing their ability to balance. Three sizes S, XS and micro weighing 0,2-0,3-0,45 g balance all from the smallest tube with a micro hook to the biggest fly with a hook strong enough to stop a train. The regular tungsten cones give a quite slim profile to the fly. The profile of the fly is important, and the system here gives you all the options you can possibly need. The 17 colours give you the possibility to adjust all your favourite patterns to the system.

The Turbo Revolution
One day by the Scottish Dee more than 25 years ago I was totally flabbergasted over the difference in movement in two of my flies. I was holding them next to each other in the current and one of them flipped lazily back and forth, hardly noticeable while the other one was swimming energetically. The short wing looked so alive. But how could this be? They were both tied with the same material in the same size. The only difference was that one of them had a small 3,5 mm cone and the other one a very small head tied with only a couple of layers of very thin thread.

The obvious explanation was so apparent, but yet so far away. As a professional fly tier I was completely absorbed with the obvious truth that a good fly should have the tiniest head possible. A few turns as possible with an as thin tying thread would give a graceful impression, but it couldn’t be more wrong. The small head only shows the fly tiers skilfulness in handling the thin thread, nothing else. The best fly is still the one that gives the most fish and not the fly that is the most difficult to tie. The most beautiful fly is the one you loosen from the corner of the mouth of a silvery shining big salmon. This is fly design at its best – to change to something that undoubtedly gives you a more effective fly.

Turbulence created behind the cone with the tiny wing’s soft fibers dancing ahead in a very alluring fashion, that’s the key. I have ever since the 70’s first fumbling attempts with fox hair, been totally engaged with the fly’s movement. The more it swims and the more alive impression it makes the better it fishes. This is a truth that has followed me through all my fly designs and patterns over the years. It came to me as a revolution; the bigger head the more turbulent water for the fly to swim in. The more turbulence the bigger possibility to use super soft materials even in fast waters without the risk of a collapse of the material’s movement and volume. The more alive the fly will look the more takes it will produce.

The fly creates its’ own turbulent stream that will set the material in motion and never makes it collapse.

My experimenting was picking up and with the help of some physical truths I eventually created the turbo cones: 4, 6 and 8 mm. This is the cone that give the fattest profile of all our cones. Flies with these cones give me most of my fish today. The first ones were a bit bigger: 8, 10 and 12 mm and a bit tricky to cast. I first thought that the hole fly needed to be inside the stream to give maximum movement. Now I know, after years of testing that the tip of the wing doesn’t need to be inside, it will swim like a dream even outside the turbulence. The cones diameter plus 20% give the maximum width of the turbulent stream. Multiply the diameter with 10 and you have the length of the turbulent stream. Just imagine how obvious this is today, a few years later. The cone makes it possible to use extra soft materials even in the fastest stream. Soft material that create a translucent fly with maximum swimming. The cone creates the perfect drop form – in all circumstances. The fly creates its own turbulent stream that will set the material in motion and never makes it collapse. So incredibly obvious but still so revolutionary simple! There is another important truth here – the fly is all the fish will see and the fly is what produce the take. I have said many times – “A great fly should look like it will bite the leader and swim off by itself”.

The 1/2 Turbo
To tie the perfect fly the profile is very important. The half turbo comes from the turbo and the prototypes were developed together with Håkan Norling. The idea was to get a fly that would surf a bit on the cone and be a bit unstable in the water creating nice movements. Again, the way the fly moves, and swims is everything. The cone creates a medium fat profile right between the regular tungsten cone and the turbo. Same sizes as turbo 4, 6 and 8 mm give good options. It has been on the market in our tungsten version some years now and these are the cones we use on our “Classic Series” of flies. When using them I prefer to tie in all wings first followed by front hackles. When almost all is ready, I set a last turn of front hackle and divide it with few strands of over wing. This way even the fattest fly can have a 1/2 turbo cone where you at a first glimpse think it is impossible to hide all behind the delicate cone. A good trick to tie durable 1/2 turbo flies.

The advantage of a cone that also steers the fly and not only balance the hook is on some flies obvious. The new tungsten half turbo is neater, better looking and the tungsten density makes them steer and balance even better. The smallest ones are superb for our slim summer flies. Many of us think they look a bit odd but after fishing them seeing how they swim and behave most are hooked on them. It’s a great possibility to be able to choose what profile you prefer. I have in my boxes and wallets flies tied with all different kinds of cones. I like not only different size and patterns but also often want to change the profile of the fly.

How to Use the System
I use the FITS system in many different ways. It’s all I need to tie every possible pattern or design I will need for my fishing. Any fly with any profile from the fattest to the slimmest. For the biggest flies I combine small with large tubing and for the medium to small flies I use x-small and medium tubing. To connect the different tubing, I never use super-glue. Instead I cut the thicker tube to an angle on the end, tie a few turns of thread over the joint, the turns of the tying thread squeeze the tubing tightly and it will stay without glue. The construction will stay flexible and strong. I let the length of the thicker tube decide the size of the fly. Approximately half the tube length compared to the length of the wing makes nice proportions and flies with good hooking ability. The salmon takes the fly from the side therefore a fly with a hook inside of the construction gives a much better hooking rate. Sea trout tend to take the fly more from behind, therefore my sea trout flies have the hook further back.

When it comes to smaller flies, I mostly tie according to my “simple fly concept”. I only use a few millimetres of the x-small tube to tie the hackle, wing and cone on. I know that many people stretch the small tube to get the same result, which works fine as well. The tubes are so flexible that you can even put a cone on a medium tube. For me the concept, when it comes to bigger flies, using two tubes is the best alternative which makes the strongest construction. A good fly should hold for fish after fish and even be inherited from father to son.

I’m completely hooked on the tube concept. Today I almost fish exclusively with flies where the turbo cone, 1/2 turbo or TTT gives the fly a turbulent stream of its own to swim in. In the turbulence the fly will swim more and better. As the years have gone by and my testing of the flies by rivers, streams and also in my fly testing tank, I have progressively started to use smaller turbo cones. An 8 mm cone that I earlier on used on 8 cm flies is today used on a lot bigger flies as well. It’s no disadvantage for the point of the wing to be exactly behind the actual turbulence – quite the opposite. The point where the streams meet behind the turbulence is never constant which makes the point of the wing swim in a very irregular and attractive way.

For the last couple of years TTT flies have given me increasingly amount of fish. They produce a slightly weighted fly that on a straight cast starts to fish immediately. They are simple to tie and extremely effective on the river. I tie most of mine by starting with hackles, then the wing construction and finishing by coming down with the thread on the XS tubing that lines the tungsten tube. One or two turns of very soft hackle and a micro turbo gives a cool look and durable finish. The TTT gives as broad and translucent profile as the regular Turbo cone. The diameter is what sets the shape of the profile.

When it comes to colour I normally let the pattern decide the colour of the cone. I often use a combination tube-cone that gives a lot of contrast and a nice display of colours. The rubber turbo needs to be mentioned as well. These have the advantage of being light and at the same time never crack but the biggest advantage is when you use different types of wakers, skaters and dry flies. The possibility of changing the form by cutting it gives you exciting flies with unique qualities.

The regular tungsten cones I use mostly for my smallest flies, the ones that are smaller than 15 mm. I also use them when I need a fly with a slimmer profile. Check the FITS “How to Use” chart here and you see the difference in weight and fly profile.

Micro Yellow White Wing

The principle of fishing a light as possible fly and letting the line take it down to the fish, is I think the best way to go. The more the fly move the more takes it will produce. Make sure that the fly is balanced fishing straight in the water. The FITS tungsten cones are made for this. Although on occasions when I want to dip-fish a fly deeply on an extremely short line, this demands a fly with a bit more weight. Then the TTT is absolutely perfect.

Check out the latest version of the FITS Tube System with all the different styles, sizes and colours here in the shop.