In bass fishing, things come and go. You may see a bait or a rigging that gets hot for a while, and that is all you hear about in bass circles as everyone flocks to it. But soon, this will lose traction when something new comes along and takes away all the hype and talk. Unfortunately, this phenomenon has happened in bass fishing so often that I can't add up the number of baits and tactics that have gone by the wayside.
One bait that seems to have stood the test of time, though, in this circle is the tube. Since day one, the tube has had a cult-like following in bass circles. I think this has a lot to do with many bass fishermen still thinking that a tube is a spawning bait only, to be used for a few weeks and then put away until the following years spawning season starts.
How many of you have heard of a Stupid Tube in this same circle? It's not a tube that is not smart enough to catch bass, thus the name "Stupid Tube." The stupid tube is a rigging technique for fishing a tube. The reason behind the name is it just flat-out works making it stupid how well it catches bass all season long. But, that is if you try it.
This article will discuss the stupid tube, what is needed, how to rig it, and how to fish it.
While looking for more background details about the stupid tube, one name kept coming up: Terry McWilliams. He was a fisherman that, through the years, has done very well fishing a stupid tube. He almost won a Bassmaster Classic as a federation angler using this bait.
I'm not sure if he was the one that came up with the stupid tube rigging or if he just learned it from another bass fisherman. But, unfortunately, in all my searching, I could not find the answer.
He has been instrumental in talking about and fishing the stupid tube through the years.
What is behind the stupid tube? Is it a unique tube that you'll have to get? The stupid tube uses a standard 3.5- to 4-inch tube. One critical point is that you'll need a tube that doesn't have a hard head. I'm pointing out that some manufacturers make tube baits with beefed-up heads to hold a jig head rigged from the outside. The head on these tubes is thicker to give the barbs something to grab ahold of. To make the Stupid tube rigging work, you'll need a single-layer tube.
The key to the stupid tube rigging is the jig head you use. You can try to use a standard tube head, but there is not enough of a hook gap in a regular round bend hook. Yes, it will work in a pinch, but you won't get good hooksets and will, most of the time, miss more bass than you'll hook. The key is that you must use a tube head that is made with an EWG hook. The wider hook gap is the most significant difference in hooking bass and getting them over the side of the boat.
These jig heads are readily available out on the market. Bass Pro, TackleWarehouse, and Omnia were just a few places that I looked. They all had tube heads equipped with a round bend hook and an EWG hook from a few manufacturers. These retailers were stocking and selling both.
For me, I make many of the jig heads for my bass fishing with a Do-It mold. I was able to order an EWG hook that fit into this mold so I could make both versions for my fishing. One of the main reasons I make my jig heads is that I can use a larger hook that I can’t get over-the-counter jig versions, but the biggest reason is cost. I save more money making my jigs than buying them off the store pegs.
How To Rig The Stupid Tube?
It's something you can find online if you Google "rigging a stupid tube," but I'll also explain it to you. You take your tube choice and the jig head you would like to use. Take the jig head in your hand and lay the jig head on the tube. Mark the bottom of the jig head. It's where you'll want your jig hook to exit out of the tube when rigging.
Now take your tube and turn it upside down. Move the tenacles of the tube out of the way so you can see the inside the tube. Take your jig hook and start to thread the hook into the tube, bringing the hook point out through the tube in the spot you marked at your hook exit point. Pull the hook out to get the head of the jig up into the head of the tube. Turn the head up to get the eye of the jighead to exit at the top of the tube. You should now have the head up to the top of the tube with the hook eye outside the tube, and you'll have a hook hanging out of the tube.
Next step, you need to do what few fishermen do. Many will bend the tube over and run the hook through both layers of the tube. Yes, you can do your rigging this way, but you'll have to move two layers of plastics out of the way to get a good solid hook set. I take scissors and cut the bottom layer of plastic up about 1 ½ inch towards the head. This allows the hook shaft to sit in this area, and you'll only have to penetrate one layer of plastic. It will result in a better hook-up ratio by getting the second layer of plastic out of the way. The last thing to do is skin hook the hook point into the plastic, and then you're ready to fish.
The stupid rigging will make your tube weedless, allowing you to fish in cover and open bottom conditions. In addition, as it falls on a slack line, the tube will have more of a gliding action, thus giving your tube more and better coverage.
Rod set up; I'll let you make that decision. I'm fishing my stupid tube on a 7-foot medium-action Denali Lithium Pro baitcaster rod, teamed with a baitcaster reel that is spooled with 16-pound Sunline Asegai braided line. I will team my braid with a Sunline Maboroshi fluorocarbon leader. I will adjust my leader strength to match my fishing cover conditions. If fishing in open water, I’ll use an 8- to 10-pound test leader. If I'm targeting cover, I will up my leader size and fish 10- to 12-pound.
Picking jig head size, I always try to undersize the jig to give my tube more gliding action instead of just a quick fall straight to the bottom. I get way more bites in my day of fishing when I let the tube's natural action come through. Also, with the braided line, I get enough feel to keep in contact with the tube even when fishing in tough conditions.
I hope I have given you a starting place and idea regarding stupid tube fishing. I honestly think the whole reason you don't see this tactic much is that the anglers who are successful with it don't let the secret out of just how well it works.
So, if you asked, they may say yes, I was fishing a tube today but not tell you the whole story. “Yes, I was fishing a tube, stupid.” If you hear a fisherman say that to you, I bet you will take offense and say, "who are you calling stupid?" I think the only stupid ones here are those that aren't fishing a Stupid tube. Have a Great Summer.
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