Review: The Tacky Tube

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The Tacky Tube Photo Louis Cahill

By Justin Pickett

Tacky Tube, what are you supposed to do with that?

I was recently perplexed when I saw Tacky Fly Fishing’s newest product, the Tacky Tube. My initial reaction to its appearance was, “what are you supposed to do with that?” Other than just being oddly shaped, what was it supposed to do that a regular old fly box can’t do?  Intrigued, I went to their website and watched the introduction video. After hearing the first few sentences out of Tim’s mouth about the Tacky Tube, it became more obvious that this will be more of an alternative to the traditional fly patch. I think it’s certainly a great idea. Great hook holding power. Small, light, and portable, as well as being completely enclosed so that flies don’t get brushed off, or snag branches and vines while you’re walking the banks and trails. Sounds awesome. Then I had my “Ah Ha” moment…

When I’m wading my local streams and rivers, I prefer to carry as many flies as I can, as well as several different types of flies. This means that I will just about always have streamers somewhere in my pack. The problem that I often run into is that I don’t really have a great place to carry my larger streamers. I’m not going to lug my MFC boxes around with me. That would just be ridiculous. I often end up hanging them somewhere inside my chest pack, leaving them free to puncture holes in my pack and my fingers, or get tossed out when I’m pulling fly boxes and other gear from my pack. Also, once I’ve finished fishing with a streamer, the chances of it making out of my pack in order for it to dry appropriately are slim. “I just love finding rusty hooks on a six dollar streamer stuck in the bottom of my pack,” said no fly fisherman ever.

Enter the TACKY FLY TUBE. Click. PURCHASE. Boom.

It turns out the Tacky Tube will definitely fit the bill as a great alternative to a fly patch. I’ve used it several times now with various flies and found that it held them all very well. It is very convenient and easily attaches to one of my retractors on my chest pack. The magnets inside the tube hold flies with a solid grip. You really can hold the Tube at a 45 angle and drop just about any dry or nymph inside and it will hold them firmly. I didn’t experience any flies being lost due to them shaking loose while out and about, but holding small nymphs and dries wasn’t why I bought it. For me, the deciding factor for buying the Tacky Tube was the hope that it would solve my problem when it came to toting my streamers around.

Once I had my hands on my new Tacky Tube I immediately put it to work. I opened it up, and stuffed four streamers inside of the tube – a #4 Sparkle Minnow, Galloup’s Boogie Man, Dave Hise’s Shiznit, and Pat Cohen’s Sulking Sculpin. All of these flies have different materials, bulk, articulations (or lack thereof), and hook sizes which made for a good test group of streamers. Not to mention the fact that they are four of my top producing patterns for trout in the Southeast.

I’ve been on the water with these very same patterns placed inside the Tacky Tube a half dozen times now, and I have to say that it has definitely solved two of my biggest issues when I’m carrying streamers amongst all of my other gear.

DSCF2360One, it has solved the problem of having to haphazardly toss them in my chest pack in hopes that they don’t rip and tear holes in it. And two, I don’t have to worry about flies getting lost in packs and having the hooks rust and fall apart. It’s ALMOST perfect. The reason why I say “almost” is because I had one occurrence when the Tacky Tube opened while I was walking through thick brush, causing two of my streamers to fall out somewhere along the trail. I was able to back-track and find my beloved Shiznit, however one of my rusty-brown Sulking Sculpins has been lost forever. ☹ I’m not sure exactly what was able to open the tube. Surely a more substantial limb of some sort. Upon initial inspection, I wasn’t very concerned about this happening because the magnet seemed stout enough to hold it together, but stuff happens and it hasn’t been a recurring problem, so no reason for me to jump ship by any means. I would suggest purchasing a stout zinger/retractor if you don’t already own one. I have Simms retractors on my chest pack and the weight of the Tacky Tube and my streamers was enough to cause the plastic cording to stretch. This may have played a part in why the Tacky Tube opened and spilled a couple of my streamers. I’ll never really know, but it’s something that may be avoided with a heavier zinger or retractor.

Overall, I really like the new Tacky Tube. I’ve become a big fan of their other Tacky boxes and I expect that I will get a ton of use out of the Tube just like the rest of the Tacky products that I own. For those of you looking for a better “fly patch” solution, or looking for a way to carry a handful of streamers, or other larger flies for that matter, then this is definitely a new gadget that you need to get your hands on at your local fly shop!

Get yours HERE!

Justin Pickett
Gink & Gasoline
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13 thoughts on “Review: The Tacky Tube

  1. I can honestly say I had the same first impression of the tacky tube as you.

    I saw the picture and said ‘why would I need that’?
    Watched the video and said ‘ok may be a good idea’
    And the proceeded to go out fishing and loose multiple flies off of my crappy fly patch. Tacky Tube, purchased.

    I love my Tacky Tube for the usual fare haven’t used it for streamers yet, but I think its a great idea.

  2. What about flies with weed guards? I still haven’t found a good solution that doesn’t deform assorted mono weed guards.

    • Same problem with mine, just not quite strong enough on the magnetic closure. I found the tube to be hanging open way too often.

    • Agreed and was my first impression. Was a little surprised as the inside magnets seemed great. Actually got one of these as a gift and wondered how others were using them and hanging them. Love the streamer idea.

  3. I purchased the tacky tube as soon as it hit the market and I love it! I too have the same problem with it opening, however, it doesn’t happen often. Great product.

  4. The Tacky Tube is legit. With my old fly patch, I would lose several flies a day even when I was 100% sure I properly secured them. Eventually I just stopped using fly patches. I bought the Tacky Tube about a month ago and have not lost a fly yet to my knowledge. I especially like it for midges and small beadheads. Thumbs up

  5. I had the same thought (‘What’s that for? ‘) when the Tacky Tube came out. I haven’t purchased one yet, but I do have three of the Tacky fly boxes – which have held up really well (although they’re a little on the heavy side for a comparable sized plastic fly box).

    I will likely purchase a Tacky Tube come summer, but I’d like to see Tacky offer stronger magnets to keep the tube secure and prevent accidental openings.

    It’d also be nice if the tube featured a built-in retractor ‘leash’, too.

  6. So I’ve got a hack for the tacky tubs so it stays closed AND open better. I took a 1 inch piece of elastic from an old tippet spool tied it from one attachment point to the attachment point on the other side, so the elastic is lightly stretched across the tube opening. The elastic keeps the tube closed and open.

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