Fish Skull Chocklett’s Body Tubing
When I first saw this stuff a year or so ago on YouTube being used to tie Musky flies such as Blane Chocklett’s “T-Bone”, my first impression was that it’s just another type of Mylar tubing re-bagged and cleverly marketed as the next best thing, but little did I know Fish Skull Chocklett’s Body Tubing was something special…
I must admit to kind of ignoring it but it kept cropping up in social media from guys using it in the States with some success. I started seeing more and more patterns being developed using the Fish Skull Chocklett’s Body Tubing, particularly from a “Facebook friend”, Norbert Renaud. So I gave the guys at Fulling Mill a call to order some up to try.
First impressions were that it felt kinda stiff – way more than the mylar type material I was used to. As such, one big recommendation is to use a Gel Spun thread when tying, otherwise you’ll just suffer constant thread breakages as this stuff requires considerable pressure to bind down securely onto the hook shank. The other main tip is to have a lighter to hand to melt the cut ends of the tubing to stop the nylon weaves wanting to unravel during the tying process. There’s a few good videos on YouTube showing this process better than I can describe it!
So what’s the point I hear you ask? Well, to my knowledge Fish Skull Chocklett’s Body Tubing was originally used in the T-Bone fly to perform two main tasks; the first to provide a pronounced “bump” in front of which is tied a collar of material such as bucktail – thus maintaining a fly with a big profile, without the traditional method of reverse hollow tying. The second function it provides is a bulky surface which pushes water to really move the tail material giving a serious wiggle action and when tied in an articulated pattern, creates the side to side motion when strip-stop retrieved (hence the T-Bone name).
Fish Skull Chocklett’s Body Tubing available HERE from Fulling Mill.
Blane Chocklett is widely regarded as one of the best big game anglers, fly tiers, and guides in the world. Chocklett’s Body Tubing is the authentic “secret ingredient” used by Blane in everything from trout flies to musky flies for heads, to segment the bodies, and to keep the materials flared up, allowing them to push more water and have the illusion of bulk while being light and castable. Available in two sizes – 1/4″ and 1/2″, giving you the opportunity to use on both large and small predator flies.
Theory into practice…
I had a Pike trip planned last week so decided to tie up a couple of patterns using the Fish Skull Chocklett’s Body Tubing. The venue in question has a good head of Roach and at this time of year the fry are starting to gather up in big shoals – enough to tempt Pike back into the shallows to feed on them. With this in mind I tied up a couple of relatively small flies in the 4” – 5” range, small in terms of Pike flies standard albeit considerably bigger than the fry themselves. Usually at this time of year a scaled down Silver Sparkler works very well so I based my pattern around a body of silver Flashabou with a collar of bucktail and Flashabou supported by a clear Body tubing “cone” to keep the shoulders of the fly bulky when “Roly-Poly” retrieved at break neck speed! The head itself is again, clear body tubing to which I’ve stuck a couple of red/orange epoxy eyes. A touch of colour with permanent markers and its done. One thing I did do a little differently was to squeeze the body tubing head together with finger and thumb then used UV cure resin to hold it in this shape, giving a more flat-sided profile – helping the side to side motion somewhat.
The day in question was a little on the windy side so evidence of fry-feeding was hard to spot but fishing the shallows and around structure as well as a look around for feeding grebes gave away their presence. Action from the word go with the “Body Tubing Roach Sparkler” (doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue that one….) with lots of Pike hammering the fly including 5 double figure fish. Fantastic day fly fishing for pike and a new killer fly to fill a box with!