The trailer fly is added to the end of your main tube fly. The trailer fly accomplishes several different things. First, the addition of the trailer fly to the back of your main fly gives incredible action to the fly. When using an intruder style fly tube at the front, and a smaller fly as a trailer it almost works like the tail on fish.
With the trailer tube you can choose whether or not it is a weighted, or unweighted tube. With this option, you are able to add weight to the main fly in the system. If the main tube fly is already getting down well enough, then just choose a trailer fly that is tied on a plastic tube that weighs very little. If the fly is not getting down as well as you want, or you are concerned that the trailer fly will slow the sink rate of your main tube, then add a trailer fly that is either weighted with a cone, or tied on a copper or brass tube. With the possible added weight and size of the trailer tube, this Modular Tube Fly is something that you will be throwing on a two handed rod.
I really like the contrasting colors that you can add to a dark or light colored intruder style tube fly with the addition of the trailer fly. We often see flies with green, red or different colored butts on a darker pattern. With the trailer fly we can accomplish this same feature, but with a little more flare, visibility, and action.
When you mix the different possibilities together you really increase your options and possible fishing situations for the flies that you already have. The “trailer” tubes can be fished by themselves, as I often do. Or you can put two trailer tube flies together, and create a Modular Tube Fly that is not quite as big as the intruder tube with a trailer, but still has incredible action, and has whatever options you want in regards to weight, and color.
There are some important rules that should be followed to help the Modular Tube Fly to swing properly across the run or pool. First if you are concerned with avoiding “hook hang-down” do not us trailer fly that is heavier then the main fly (or “runner”) in your Modular Tube Fly System. You should even avoid using a trailer fly that is the same weight as the main tube fly, because you will be adding a hook that will make the trailer heavier then the main tube fly. I like to use a trailer fly that is often unweighted, which removes the possibility of the trailer fly swimming at an angle, while your runner fly is fishing horizontally. This looks very awkward to me and is not the affect that we are going for.
The second rule would be to remove the junction tubing on the runner or main fly. If you don’t remove the junction tubing the separation between the runner and trailer fly will be so large that it will look like two separate tube flies instead of one large fly with lots of action.
The third rule would be to use a runner (main) tube fly that has a larger profile (intruders work great for this), or at least the same size of profile as the trailer tube. If the trailer tube has a larger profile than the lead runner tube fly it will cause your Modular Tube Fly to look awkward and dis-proportioned. Ideally you want the trailer tube to have a little bit smaller profile so that the Modular Tube Fly you are creating has a nice tapered look to the end of the fly.
With this Modular Tube Fly system it isn’t necessarily a rule, but I would suggest tying these style of flies in the round. With the trailer fly it is not as critical to tie it in the round because you will be able to position the fly the way you want based on how you align the hook. With the runner, or main fly you will not have control of it’s positioning, and it will rotate freely on the line. If you have tied the runner tube in the round this will not cause a problem, but if you use a traditional hair-wing tube or something similar that is not tied in the round the fly will rotate around and not fish properly. Having a lead runner hair-wing tube that is swimming upside down through the run would be rather frustrating to me, and probably ineffective in regards to catching fish.
This first video is an example of a correctly proportioned and weighted Modular Tube Fly. Notice that there are no visible gaps in the overall look of the fly, and that the profile of the trailer tube is no large then the main (runner) tube fly.
The second video (pictured below) shows examples of incorrectly put together Modular Tube Flies. The trailer flies profile is larger then the lead runner tube, giving it an awkward unnatural look. In this same video is an example of a trailer fly that is the same weight as the lead runner tube. With the added weight of the hook, the Modular Tube Fly now fishes in an incorrect position, with the rear of the fly hanging down. Whether hook hang down is a concern for you or not, I think in this scenario a trailer fly that is hanging at a severe angle looks out of place. We want to try our best to avoid both of these scenarios when fishing with the Modular Tube Fly System.
Well this concludes my three part series of The Modular Tube Fly system that I use. Granted there are other modular tube fly systems out there, and I am not claiming to have been the first to create a system like this. However this is the system that I prefer, and have learned to use through my own trials and errors. I hope that these three articles have helped to introduce you to a fantastic way of fishing tube flies, or possibly added some new ideas to the system you already use. With the Modular Tube Fly System, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination, creativity is the key to learning and developing new ideas and methods of fishing and tying tube flies.