with bass pros and amateurs, the tube jig is a slow, subtle presentation that can
accurately imitate a darting minnow or a scurrying crayfish, depending on how its
Tube baits consist of a round-headed hollow plastic
tube ending in streamers. Its mounted on a type of lead head jig, with a large hook,
thats specially designed for holding tubes. The jig head is inserted in the tube
body with the hook protruding from the open end by the streamers. The hook eye, which is
located about half way along the jig head, can be easily pushed through the soft plastic
The lead jigs are usually available in one-eighth
and quarter ounce weights. When fishing in calm conditions, a light jig lets the lure
drift slowly to downward. When drift fishing in a light breeze, the heavier jig can drops
more quickly and can be jigged along the bottom where it does a credible imitation of a
Most often, youll want to use tube jigs on
those calm days when other presentations arent working. To do so, theres a
special casting technique that makes the most of the lures unique action. A spinning
reel, spooled with six or eight-pound test line, on a light to medium action rod, is the
best presentation rig.
Once youve located a structure or weedline
thats likely to hold bass, position your boat close to the targeted area. Simply
flip the lure about 10 to 15 feet from the boat so that it will fall at the edge of the
structure. Once the lure hits the water, close the bail and hold the rod tip up at a 45
degree angle. As the tube descents, it will swing in one direction until the slack is
taken up and then swing in the opposite direction. This vertical zigzagging action
continues until the lure hits the bottom.
Dont be in a hurry to yank the lure off the
bottom once its hits. Leave it there for a few moments in case a curious bass has followed
it down. If you dont detect a pickup, dont reel in yet. Simply raise your rod
tip as high as you can to lift the lure back towards the surface. Once its come up
as far as possible, reel in the slack and let it begin drifting back down.
Since bass will hit tubes from almost any angle, be
alert for a hit or pickup at any time the lure is in the water, even right when its
right beside the boat.
Tubes can also be jigged along the bottom in the
same way that you would use a jig and twister tail combination.
Some anglers prefer to use tubes as a "do
nothing" presentation and simply cast it out and let it drag along the bottom where
its likely to be mistaken for a tasty crayfish by an unsuspecting smallmouth.
A variation of this
presentation is a tube bait used with a Carolina rig. This rig consists of a sliding
sinker, a glass or plastic bead, a swivel, a monofilament leader 18 to 36 inches in
length, an offset worm hook and the plastic tube (no lead jig). Brass sinkers and glass
beads are best because they make a crayfish-imitating "clicking" sound when they
bump together. Choosing the length of the leader depends on whether the fish are hugging
the bottom (short leader) or cruising two to four feet above it. The tube can be rigged
Texas-style with the hook point buried in the tube body to make it less likely to pick up
Many pro bass anglers always have spinning rod
rigged with a tube bait ready as a follow-up presentation for bass that miss or back off a
faster-moving spinnerbait or crankbait. When they see a bass follow their spinnerbait but
not strike, theyll change rods and pitch a tube right back at the spot where they
saw the bass. The change to this slower, vertical presentation will often entice a strike.
The plastic tube bodies come in a bewildering array
of colours and colour combinations, may of them flecked with sparkles in accenting or
contrasting colours. Choosing which colour or combination to use depends on weather and
water clarity conditions. Generally speaking, the old rule of light colours on bright days
and dark ones of cloudy on overcast days also holds true for tube jigging.
When fishing the sand flats in clear water
conditions, light-coloured tubes in white, off-white, pale pink and salt and pepper work
well on clear or partly-cloudy days. On overcast or foggy days, dark colours such as
purple, dark green, pumpkinseed (brown) and blue can really produce in both clear or
stained water conditions. Two-colour tubes are particularly effective when the water is
murky because the contrasting colour seems to give the striking bass a target to zero in
When crayfish seem to be the prime bait, dark green
and pumpkinseed are the best colours to use for a dragging or Carolina-rig presentation.
Many tube baits are also impregnated with
fish-attracting scents or salt crystals that are intended to not only entice a strike, but
get the bass to hold on to the lure a bit longer. Both of these enhancements can make a
real difference when bass are being finicky about hitting a plastic imitation.
For Long Point Bay, a selection of tubes in white,
light pink, salt and pepper, dark green and pumpkinseed would be a good starting point for
experimenting with this versatile artificial bait.