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RyneB

Let's talk Tubes

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  Something happened 6 years ago that made me go from a person who hated tubes, to someone who had to try. For the last 6 years I have committed myself to tubes. Going so far as to buying a tube mold and customizing my own to my liking for the technique I would be using them for. Even won AOY in my club last year, and I'd say 90% of my fish came on a 3.5 inch tube. I used to think a jig was the most versatile bait in the bass fishing world, and I still love jig fishing. Now, i would say with great confidence it is a tube. Here are several ways I fish a tube.

 

Carolina Rig: My favorite way to Carolina rig a tube is with spinning tackle. First, I put on a bobber stop, then a 1/8 oz tungsten, and then another bobber stop. This allows me to change "leader" length on the fly, without retying. I dont inject my tubes with salt, so it helps them suspend. Or, take a piece of foam earplug, stuff inside the tube. This allows the tube to suspend above vegetation, or above rock or whatever structure you are fishing. 

 

Texas Rig: I believe there is no wrong way to fish a tube on a texas rig. I've caught fish punching a tube with a 1 ounce weight, to skipping docks with a texas rig tube on a 1/16 oz tungsten. 

 

Jig head: I prefer the jigs that insert into the tube. but a simple painted jig head from your local wal mart will get the job done if need be. This is a rig I like to use up north in michigan for smallies. It's not nearly as effective here in illinois because most of the cover I fish is vegetation, docks, and rip rap. Occasionally I will use this technique on deep points when they stop chomping on a Carolina rig or jig.

 

Hook:I strictly use a Trokar Tube hook. It's a beefier hook than most of the tube hooks out there, but I can negate that extra weight by inserting a ear plug in the tube to suspend it if that's goal. The keeper holds a tube on better than any other hook I have tried. Not pushing a product, it's just my favorite hook for tube fishing. 

 

Colors: I have tried hundreds of different colors, and own hundreds of colors. In the end, I only need two. Green pumpkin, and some short of shad color (most manufacturers make a Smoke color).I like a little orange glitter in my green pumpkin, but it's all personal preference. I have had some great days on a Junebug tube as well. Just like any bait, color is a confidence thing. But a shad or smoke colored tube on the Carolina rig I mentioned above can be deadly. Its tossed the skunk out of the boat countless times.

 

Size: I throw 3 sizes. 2.75 inch, 3.5 inch, and 4 inch. 3.5 inch is by far my best producer, but I also throw it the most. I use the small 2.75 for jig heads sometimes, and the 4 inch for flipping on a t rig. The 3.5 does everything for me though. If I am flipping wood. A lot of times I'll flip a jig and creature bait, but there is always a 3.5 or 4 inch tube on deck as well. 

 

Style: not all tubes are the same. Some are double dipped, some are loaded with salt, some are soft, some are hard. Some are dipped with one color, and then redipped for a two colored tail. for instance, a BPS 3.5 Tender Tube is very slim compared to a Strike King coffee tube. Which tubes you throw where is completely up to what you have confidence in. I prefer a slim tube compared to a double dip, but there are guys who swear by a double dip thick body tube. In my little experience, the slender profile gets more bites. I'm not saying it's better than double dip, it's just what I have confidence in.

 

I have yet to try the  "stupid" tube yet, but i already have that on my to do list. If anyone else would like to add to this, feel free. But if you are an angler who wants to try a versatile bait, the tube should be in your boat or tackle box. Thanks and tight lines.

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Nicely Done Ryan ~ 

I've been catching brown bass on tubes for a long time; some pretty decent ones too.

 Here's my version . . . 

 

Tubes ~   Such a simple & super versatile bait.  One that's been catching fat brown bass for a long time.  A bait that has perhaps fallen a little out of favor recently, something I've been guilty of the past two seasons myself.  Looking backing, that was probably a mistake.  A TUBE really is perhaps The One Brown Bass bait that I should almost always have tied on.  

  There's been a lot written about it and with good reason frankly: there's a lot to say.  

 It's common knowledge in many brown bass angling circles, just how many different ways & places a tube can be presented effectively, and how easy it is to fish.  Some may say that there is no wrong way to fish it.  Long before the 'stick bait' came along, the tube way was same deal for me:  Just whacking'em !  

 Rather than attempting to name each & every tube deal, I'm going to cover a few of my favorite & most productive.   

  First - a tube for me is almost always a hard(er) or at least semi-clean(er) bottom deal.  

  While a couple of inches of eel grass is OK (and sometimes exactly what the doctor ordered) anything more than that, I'm usually presenting something else that will fish through (or over) any bottom cover a bit more effectively.

  And while Texas rigs are good & Tex-pose is popular - by & large, I prefer to fish tubes on the plain old tried & true, lead head, open jig.   I fish the standard 3.5 inch size the most but will do 4" and even 2.75 inch is some instances.  The SK Coffee tubes have been great.  And before that - and still quite a bit now - the Provider Tackle 3.5 inch "Performance Series" tubes are one of my all-time favorites.  Great colors for clear water and super durable.  As for jig head weights - 3/8's get most of my fish but lighter & heavier have their place when fishing shallow & deep.  

 What a tube 'imitates' is anybody's guess - crayfish, little bottom bait - now the goby.  May not matter.  Pick one and go with it.  This one's easy to have confidence in. 

   What may not be a surprise, I fishing tubes in places & at times when brown bass are relating to the bottom.  For me - the clearer the water (better vis) the better.  Tubes can & do work when fished with a variety of "retrieves" - hop it, drag it, pop-it; whatever.  When the brown bass are looking to eat, these will all get bit.  

  I usually fish 1/2 oz & less on Medium spinning gear - 10-15 lb braid mainline and a 8-10lb  Fluorocarbon leader (AbrazX). Heavier than 1/2 oz, I'll either pump up my spinning gear (rod & line) or go to casting gear that will present, hook & land a spirited Smallie.  3/4 oz heads are reserved for deep (more than 20-25 ft) and or big wind & waves.  This size can & does get "thrown" on the jump by bass more than the lighter heads - so that's something to be aware of. 

  My standard 'way' to fish tubes is the same regardless of depth - I fish them like a jerkbait.

Meaning there's a couple of twitches & a pause.  How many twitches & how long a pause can be dictated by the water temp, and the mood of the fish.  As mentioned previously, I believe smallies like to chase - so I like to offer them that opportunity - if they're willing.  I might keep a tube moving along with a series of twitches where the bait travels 2-3 inches, pauses for a split second and then moves another 2-3 inches - I may continue this for 4-5 feet and then pause . . . . . . for like 10 seconds . . . . . . and then do it again. One may need to 'practice' this in shallow water where you can watch your bait.  There's a tendency to 'move' it too far on each twitch, which seems to nullify its effectiveness.  So it's a good Idea to check first - it requires a small movement, especially with braid.  Using Fluorocarbon can make it a little easier to get the small movements, but I lose so much hook setting power on the long casts I like to make, that I don't use it; Zona swears by the Flouro for this - I can't do it.  So I stick mostly to the braid.

 So that's just an example of ONE way - there's no limit to the number of different ways to fish it - just like the jerkbait.  

  Of course the old stand-by of 'drag & stop' can be all one needs to do to get a savage take. 

There's also what's often referred to as "Snapping a Tube", where a heavier head is used and the bait is literally 'snapped' 3-5 feet off the bottom and then allowed to fall back on a slack line.  The tube will spiral back down to the bottom - which is where the vast majority of the strikes will come from.  Can be deadly but will also twist the heck out of your line - I'll often use a small swivel between my braid & leader to help with that when doing this.

  

 I'm throwing tubes up & down drops - all around and up on top of humps, off the tip and both sides of points, along the bottom of deep weedlines and across a promising deep water flat.  There's also a few times where I found some fat brown bass cruising up shallow and I'll use an 1/8 oz head and fish the tube like a stick bait (before I knew what a stick bait was).  So I'm dead sticking it more than I'm moving it.  This is in 2-5 feet of super clear water - fish can be very skittish and easily spooked.  So I'm well back from the fish, making as long a cast as I can and sort of letting the fish 'swim into the bait'.   I try to not to move the bait too far, too fast because the 'strike zone' is right there.   So the less I do with it- the longer it's there in their face.   Less is more in this instance.

 

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

:smiley:

A-Jay

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I like this thread already....

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Additional rigging option -- small wide-gap swim bait hook.

 

Additional thought (caution) -- every one of my tube jigheads has the barb filed off!  I gut hook more bass with a tube bait than all other baits I fish combined... by far!  Don't wait to set the hook!

 

oe

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Well written thread. I like tubes also, and rarely Texas rig them. I prefer a Jig head , usually 1/8 to 1/4 oz. Being from Missouri, I first became aware of tubes back in the 80s, from hearing and reading about Guido Hibdon, a great tube fisherman. 

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Several years ago a freind of mine wanted to learn how to use a drop shot rig so I took him out and showed how I rig and fish it. Gave the angler a bag of Roboworms to use and we went fishing. To my surprise my freind decided to nose hook a tube and he started catching bass on it. Don't over look drop shot rigged tubes!

Tom

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I stumbled across Stupid Tube rigging a couple of years ago and it's really the only way I fish them now, very weedless. I've had some pretty good success but like other great lures I use, it has slid back in the rotation. I had some good days back in the Fall with it, right before I started chasing papermouths over the winter.

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There’s always a tube rigged on at least one rod in my boat year round. I’ve caught almost every type of fish that swims around here on one, and there’s a lot of types of fish around here 😏

One place where a tube can really shine is around docks. When I used to fish tournaments in southern Ontario, there were a lot of good largemouth to be found around docks, and when everyone else was throwing a jig, worm, or stickbait around them, my partner and I would skip a tube on fairly heavy spinning gear way up under the docks and catch lots of fish that hadn’t seen a tube much before. We were never afraid to run a piece of shoreline that one or more boats had just fished, knowing that little bait would clean up for us. 

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Have fished the ol tube for many many years and my favorite is still an EWG hook threaded through a  gitzit glider style lead.  I like the compactness of the lead on the inside and it gives it a nice spin on the fall.  For deeper fish I like the drop shot.

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Excellent thread indeed! Tubes are great. I've also found that nose hooking one on a drop shot rig can be very productive! And I'm also a big fan of the snap-off-the-bottom retrieve.

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The tube is my go to bait.  I learned fishing Lake St. Clair as a kid.  My dad would find us a patch of grass off shore in 8 - 12 feet of water.  We cast to the grass and let it sit.  My dad would then smoke a cigarette and only after he'd finished, he tell us to drop and slowly lift our rod tip.  Those tubes would get slammed when they'd fall back down.  This technique is still responsible for my best day fishing.  He'd swear you'd have to let them soak before you even think of moving them.  

 

Since then, I've had a tube tied on at least one setup for the past 25 years.  I've learned many other ways to fish them over that time and everyone seems to get bit.  Smallmouth, largemouth, spots all seem to love them.  A great bait that I almost never see anyone use in my area. 

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One of my favorite baits.

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Great thread. Good articles, RyneB and A-Jay.

 

I'm a tuber too. I like the spiral fall of a stable (90deg) jighead. I also often need them weedless, so various Stoopid rigging works well. I try to get them to spiral on the fall too. The less stable the head, the more finagling I have to do.

 

A fat, double-dip, tube is my favorite skipping bait. It just makes it easy. And they can be rigged very snag resistant, as I tend to skip them under and into overhanging tress and brush.

 

I will T-Rig them for flipping, but don't like them to rotate or twist on the fall. Not sure how much the fish care, but after I've seen a tube spiral-glide down, I much prefer that.

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Good write ups here,Learned some things today.

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I havent used tubes a lot but when I have , they caught fish . I want to get in to the stupid rig this year for use  on baitcasting . I'm open for suggestions  on stupid heads and tubes .

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20 hours ago, WRB said:

Several years ago a freind of mine wanted to learn how to use a drop shot rig so I took him out and showed how I rig and fish it. Gave the angler a bag of Roboworms to use and we went fishing. To my surprise my freind decided to nose hook a tube and he started catching bass on it. Don't over look drop shot rigged tubes!

Tom

Watch someone who doesn't know what they're doing, and you can learn a lot.

 

 

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Several years ago, in an effort to learn to catch smallmouths better, my father in law and I went fishing with a guide who also was a tournament pro.  The first thing he taught us was using a tube.  His favorite was Old Ugly from Dry Creek.  We had a blast catching larger sb then ever before.  I've since been successful  with several different colors and sizes, also other lure types, but always keep a couple packs of Old Uglys on hand.  It's my go to, when nothing else is working.

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I've found over the years that it helps to downsize to a smaller tube when targeting smallmouth.  When I say small, I mean 2.5 or 2.75 inchers.  Not that a smallmouth won't take a 3.5 or 4 inch tube, but since their mouths are "smaller" I've found that they can gobble up the tube easier than a big one.

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26 minutes ago, gimruis said:

I've found over the years that it helps to downsize to a smaller tube when targeting smallmouth.  When I say small, I mean 2.5 or 2.75 inchers.  Not that a smallmouth won't take a 3.5 or 4 inch tube, but since their mouths are "smaller" I've found that they can gobble up the tube easier than a big one.

I agree. I use lots of smaller tubes for Smallmouth fishing. My favorite or late has been the Z-man TRD tubez. Dragged and hopped along the bottom has produced a lot of River Smallmouth. 

 

My other favorite tube is the Zoom super salty tube on an exposed hook jighead.

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10 hours ago, NYWayfarer said:

I use lots of smaller tubes for Smallmouth fishing. 

Try the BPS Tender Tube #71. It can be rigged weedless with an internal weight.

 

:fishing-026:

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18 hours ago, scaleface said:

I havent used tubes a lot but when I have , they caught fish . I want to get in to the stupid rig this year for use  on baitcasting . I'm open for suggestions  on stupid heads and tubes .

I think you can rig with just about any tube and tube jig. I bought a bulk of two toned laminate (green/white) tubes about 5 years ago and I'm still on that bag. I don't remember the name.

 

About the Stupid rigging, get a bowl of water and dip the tube (helps sliding the jig head up to the top) , there are videos out there that show how but it's much easier to make them up the night before going out because you have to have it rigged before you tie on. I usually make up only a couple of backups, because when your done fishing, the salt rusts out the tube jig if left in the box. Yes, I have done that, lol. So remember to take them off unless you are fishing a lot (which is never a bad thing). Great thread, Tubes are underrated and definitely not just the Smallie weapon that some believe. 

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I've been fishing tubes ever since they came out in the 80's. I've caught both largemouth and smallmouth on tubes all over the country, in just about every condition you could imagine.  I rig them in all the usual ways, and many unusual ways too. ;)    Don't forget they're good used as trailers too.

 

Here's just a couple of instructional videos I've made on them (I have several others as well. Just visit our YouTube channel for more):

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And there you have it!

 

:drinking-41:

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1 hour ago, Columbia Craw said:

Can you cay Flippin Tube ?   Gitzit. Thank you Mr Garland.

Gitzit, the original tube invented in Arkansas.  The "do nothing" lure. Cast it out, sit down,

pop a top and light up a smoke.

 

:fishing-026:

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