Fishing tube baits is one of those techniques that just continues to get the job done. It’s caught fish for decades, and continues to pump out fish when other baits just won’t cut it. Unfortunately, the extent of most angler’s tube arsenals is an internal jig head. That’s a problem, because tubes are killer rigged with a variety of techniques. To help you catch a few more fish this season, we’ve put together our top 5 rigs for fishing tube baits.
1. Add Your Tube To A Jig
Arguably the most popular and effective way to rig a tube is with a internal tube jig. Tube jig heads typically have a bulbous weight at the top, sitting just below the hook eye. The weight provides a natural fall on descent, and realistic hopping action upon retrieval. Start by wetting your jig head and sliding it up your tube until the eyelet reaches the very top of the tube. Then, push the linetie through the plastic, exposing the eyelet. Next, find your hook point and push it through the bottom of the tube so it’s exposed. If rigged correctly, the tube will be completely straight. It will have a hook eye coming out of the top of the tube, followed by a hook point protruding from the bottom of the tube.
This rig works well fishing tube baits in open water, or when fished offshore. You can swim it, hop it, or drag it. Each technique has caught fish in the past and should work in the future. I like to use the lightest weight I can get away with, while still maintaining bottom contact. If you’re continually getting snagged up, try moving down a weight, or using a tube jig with a weed guard.
2. Fishing Tube Baits On A Wobble Head
Wobble heads have really made an impact the past few years, and for good reason. Designed with an articulating head, this setup provides both functionality and a unique action. The free swinging head has a wobbling movement that almost dances as it pops off rocks and structure. The swinging weight also increases landing percentage, and is less likely to get snagged than other bottom contact baits. The movement from the swing head will work against a fish when it shakes its head which decreases the fishes leverage and therefore increases your landing percentage.
To fish tube baits on a wobble head, make longs casts to rocks, humps, saddles, shell beds, or other structure and let your bait fall directly to bottom on a slack-line. Start slowly dragging it back to you while your bait deflects of cover and structure. Bottom contact is crucial so make sure you’re using the correct weight for the conditions. If you’re not feeling bottom, move up a weight and if you’re constantly getting snagged, move down. Bites may be light so play close attention. Grab a wobble head and pair it with your favorite tube and get to work, drag it, hop it or just give it a slow retrieve and you’re bound to get bit.
3. Texas Rigging a Tube
Texas rigging a tube is a technique that catches fish in natural lakes way up north to giant man made reservoirs down south. A tube resembles a variety of forage and when it’s rigged Texas style, it allows you to throw your tube just about anywhere without worrying about getting hung up.
To fish, grab a 3/0 or 4/0 aught wide gap hook, bullet weights and some bobber stops. Rig it up like your standard Texas Rig. I like to use ⅛-⅜ oz bullet weights, they will cover you in most situations but add or remove weight depending on conditions you’re facing. In the Spring of the year, I like to Texas rig a craw colored tube, as the season progresses I’ll switch up to colors more resembling bait fish. Figure out what the fish are feeding on in your area and find the color that closest resembles that forage type. Fish around flooded timber, laydowns brush piles, docks, points or transition areas.
4. Drop Shot Your Tube For Finesse
There aren’t many drop shot baits better at imitating a baitfish than a tube. Tubes have a fishy profile and that resemble anything from bluegills to goby. Throwing a tube on a drop shot will help keep your bait off bottom away from weeds or hang ups and it’ll present a very natural look. Drop shotting a tube can help you break down water efficiently.
I like to start off fishing tube baits with long leaders while securing my hook with a palomar knot and my weight with a standard overhand knot. This way if my weight gets snagged and I break off, I’ll keep my hook and my leader will be long enough to simply just retie the weight.
5. Fishing A Tube Bait Weightless
While it may sound unusual, a weightless tube is a great way to target fish, whether they’re pushed up shallow close to the bank or if they’re suspended over deeper water a weightless tube can trigger a bite. Similar to a fluke or senko style bait, a weightless tube has a unique shimmy falling action which looks delicious to a hungry bass. With quick twitches to your rod tip you can get your tube to have a underwater ‘walk the dog’ action. This technique will cover water and can call in fish, it’s also something different so if the fish have seen a ton of senkos or flukes, the tube should do the trick.