Throwing a tube for Largemouth & Smallmouth Bass
Matthew Razey | Freak Finder Fishing
The soft plastic tube bait has been around the bass fishing community for years. The tube originally got
its glory back in the “Tender Tube” days and then with the rise in popularity of the “Gitzit” for
Smallmouth addicts. The tube is something that will catch bass in every season and can be fished in a
variety of different areas with different methods of presentation. We are going to discuss a few of our
favorite times of year to throw a tube and how we like to rig them up. All of these applications we are
going to discuss are used with spinning rods and reels. We feel like spinning rods are the best way to get
the most distance when casting a tube and to allow the maximum amount of feel for the angler.
Cold Water Applications
The tube can mimic many different types of forage in the lake; crayfish, perch, and sunfish just to name
a few. The tube is a great offering for some of the first bass of the season. Remember the bass are just
coming out of winter time holes and are not feeding aggressively all day long. This time of year it is all
about an easy meal that the bass does not have to exhort a lot of energy to go and get. We like throwing
a heavier tube this time of year; ½ oz. will do the trick. We like a 90 degree line tie on an internal tube
jig. The heavier weight will help you make a long cast and will help that tube get down quickly in deep
water. This is about the only time of year we will throw a black or black and blue tube in clear northern
waters as well. Crayfish are the darkest they will ever be in early spring so plan accordingly with your
tube selection. Key areas to look for this time of year are secondary points, deeper humps, and main
lake points. It is all about finding the first stop that bass use during their migration out of deep water
during ice in.
Summer Time and the Tubin’ is Easy
The summer months are a phenomenal time to throw a tube. They are great around boat docks up
shallow as well as being worked through deep water grass. When fishing around boat docks a tube can
be snapped with the rod tip and working the line almost like you would be fishing a soft plastic jerk bait.
The erratic action and fall of the tube is a great mimic to young of the year bluegill and fry that call boat
docks home at this time of the year. We like a 1/16 oz or 1/8 oz internal tube jig with a 60 degree line tie
for these applications. The 60 degree line tie helps the bait have a more erratic action as the line is
coming closer towards the nose of the bait which really helps the tube dart from side to side easy. Green
pumpkin, watermelons, and greens with hues of purple or chartreuse are excellent choices here.
Remember we are trying to mimic bluegill and small forage; no bluegill is created equally, don’t be afraid
to mix it up.
The other go to for summertime tube fishing is to get off shore and find some isolated grass. Grass will
hold crayfish and other microorganisms this time of year. Working a tube along the edges of the grass,
slowly working the tube through isolated grass, and snapping the tube out of thick deep grass will all
yield great results in the summer time. Much like the setup for dock fishing; a 60 degree line tie here is
crucial as that will allow the bait to come through the grass a lot cleaner and not get bogged down as
much as the tube would with a 90 degree line tie. Like any advice we give when it comes to using
weights for off shore bass fishing; the deal here is to use as light of a weight as you can get away with.
You want to make sure that you use something heavy enough so you can maintain the feel and contact
with the structure you are working but light enough to coax those heavily pressured bass into biting. The
best rule of thumb is to start with the lightest weight possible and work your way up as needed to
maintain contact with the bottom. Especially in windy scenarios; don’t be afraid to go heavier on your
We talked about the tube being a great mimic to many different types of forage that bass will feast on.
That is why the tube is so effective in the fall. We all know how important the bait is to fall bass fishing
success and with the bass having a lot of bait offered up to them, gorging themselves throughout the
day; mimicking the size of the bait this time of year is key. It could be crayfish, it could be schools of
yellow perch off shore, smelt, or alewives; a tube can replicate any of these. The bass could be
positioned anywhere from shallow to deep this time of year in a variety of different structure. Humps,
secondary breaks, off shore grass, isolated rocks on flats; all are potential bass magnets this time of year
if there is bait present. Bass will be schooled up this time of year and many times when fighting a bass
back to the boat other bass will be with it battling over the meal. If you are fishing with someone in the
boat having a secondary tube ready to drop down will help get those “followers” to bite; a great chance
to get doubles.
Match the tube color to the forage the bass are keying in on and also have one ready to go for any bass
that you may see cruising in shallow water. The tube is a great bait to “lead” a bass with. If you see a
bass swim by, cast the tube a little beyond where the fish was heading and often times that quick fall of
the tube in front of the bass will trigger a reaction bite.
Depending on what your thoughts are when it comes to fishing during the spawning period of the year,
a tube is a must. A great way to approach a bedding bass is with a tube. More often than not, Rock Bass,
Bluegill, and other small fish species will be lurking around bass beds this time of year waiting to feast on
eggs, larvae, and fry. A tube will get a bass’ attention quickly as it looks like an intruder coming into the
nest. It is great to fancast around flats for bedding largemouth and smallmouth bass in stained water but
can really shine in clear water when fishing for bedding smallmouth bass. It is a great presentation
because the small compact tube is very accurate when casting and will fall accurately too when the right
weight is added to it. Accuracy is key and being able to come right through the heart of the bed will
ensure that smallmouth will react accordingly.
If there is one bait that always finds its way onto a spinning rod in our rod lockers from April to
November it is a tube. The variety that the bait offers and the various amounts of forage it can mimic is
the reason why we always have one ready to go. A great way to catch both largemouth and smallmouth
bass for beginners and experts alike. Truly a fun way to catch them as well! Be sure to have one ready to
go for your next bass fishing trip. Tight lines…keep fishin