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  Sep 29, 2016

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Scott M. Petersen
Bass Tube Tactics by Scott Petersen

Bass Tube Tactics

By: Scott M. Petersen

Scott PetersenBack in the late 70’s there was a bait that came out of California that was billed as the ultimate bait to use when bass start to spawn and were sitting on their beds. Bobby Garlin was the inventor of the first tube bait that he used to market out of his home. When you bought one of the early tube kits you got 12 tubes and 3 jig heads that you could insert into the tubes.  The main drawback of this setup was that you had to fish the bait around sparse cover areas because you were fishing with an open jig hook, but when you got into the right fishing conditions the tube presentation was the best hands down at catching springtime and spawning bass. The key to early tube fishing was to fish the bait on a slack line. Start by making your cast and drop the rod tip, giving the bait slack line caused the tube to fall in a tight circle, so if you got the bait close to the bed as the bait was falling it would circle the bass driving them nuts generally triggering a bite. For many years tubes were only though of as baits to use when bass got on the beds and after that they were put away till next spring but that has all changed with today’s bass fishermen. Through the years bass fishermen have found better ways to rig and fish these key bass baits during the bass season making them one of the newest main stay bass baits for all season long catching bass in all types of different fishing conditions.

When it comes to tubes Outkast Tackles Pro Flippin’ Tube is my tube of choice the solid head construction makes this one of the most durable tubes on the market. As you will see by the following examples and riggings you have to have a tube that will be able to hold up to the conditions you are fishing in. I also like the Pro Flippin Tubes 4.5” size giving me a tube that is able to hold a 3/0 to 5/0 hook. If you are looking for a great all around tube that can do the job give Outkast Tackles Pro Flippin’ Tube a try.  

Texas Rig Tubes
Texas Rig TubesEverybody is familure with texas rigged worms but have you ever texas rigged a tube before? To be able to fish this bait in the heaviest cover you will have to rig the bait in a way to present the bait in the deepest of all cover to be successful. There are two primary ways to do this, one is with an external weight like a traditional worm weight and the other way is to use an internal tube weight. Is one rig better than the other; that will depend on the presentation that you want to fish? If you are trying to skip the tube up under a dock you will want to use an internal weighted bait, but if you are flipping heavy cover you are best to rig your weight outside of the tube and maybe peg the weight or use a Bullet Weight Screw Lock Weight to keep the weight in place.

Another application is to fish a texas rigged tube any where you would fish a jig-n-pig. A texas rigged tube gives the bass a new look as the bait falls different than a traditional jig-n-pig. Tubes are definitely a go to bait when you are faced with fishing in real bad cold front conditions. Bass have a tendency to hang onto a tube longer than they would a jig. When bass bite down on the jig they feel the tube collapse fooling them into holding onto the tube longer meaning more bass for you by the end of your fishing day.

To fish a texas rigged tube I will either fish the tube on a spinning setup or a baitcaster setup but this all depends on the conditions I am fishing in. If I am going to fish the tube around docks I will opt to use a spinning set up generally spooled with 8lb to 10lb mono line. This set up allows me to skip the tube under the docks which I will not be able to do that with a baitcaster setup. If I am fishing in heavy cover conditions I will opt to use a baitcaster setup spooled with either mono or a superbraided line.

Jig Rigged Tubes
Jig Rigged TubesFor rigging tubes on jigs I use pretty much stick with two jig options. One for fishing the tube on an open hook I use a TX tube jug head that I pour using a Do It Mold. I play with hook sizes when making jigs allot of times super sizing the hook more than what the mold calls for giving me a few different head options that I match to the Outkast tubes and conditions I am fishing.

If I am in need of a weedless jig I use Fintech’s Titleshot Jig. The head comes with a built in holder set around the Mustad Wide Gap Jig Hook. The wide gap hook allows you to rig the tube weedless. This option allows me to fish the tube in heavy cover and present the tube a few different ways.

When it comes to fishing the bait I once again will use either a spinning or baitcaster set up, I let lure size and fishing conditions dictate what I use.

Topwater Tubes
I started to play with this rigging option about a year ago and to my surprise topwater tubes are a great option to fish when bass are active. I think one of the reasons it works so well is the new lure factor, the bass have not scene it before and you get a different action out of the tube than what you do out of a regular topwater lure.

So I bet you are asking how do you keep the tube on the surface? You can use two different options, one; is to use a caulking rope or two; you can use foam ear plugs. My favorite is to use caulking rope. Caulking rope can be bought at many locations from department or home supply stores. If you want to use the ear plug option try home supply stores and sporting good shops for the ear plug option.

Once you have either ear plugs or caulking rope take a pencil and start to insert the foam into the tube. With the pencil push the foam into the tube until it stops. When you have the foam into the tube trim off the excess, take your worm hook and texas rig the hook into the tube like you normally would.  For this rig I prefer to fish the tube on a spinning setup for weight reasons. With the light weight of the tube picking a spinning set up is perfect for fishing this presentation.

Make your cast and work the bait like you would a topwater lure. Two of the best ways to work the bait is too use a slow swimming action or fish the bait with short pulls. First use a swimming retrieve, slowly wake the tube bait on the top of the water. Experiment with a steady retrieve and a stop and go pattern to see what works best. For the second method try a walk the dog retrieve. Use small jerks to get the bait to move and reel in the slack as you pull. In both cases let the bass tell you what action or retrieve they want.

I hope you see that tube baits are no longer thought of as a springtime bait or tactic anymore. If you have open water you have many options to fish a tube. Pick your favorite tube tactic or give them all a try. You will soon see Outkast Pro Flippin Tubes are for all seasons.

Make some memories please remember to practice CPR (Catch, Photo and Release). The future of fishing is in your hands. For more timely bass tips and tactics please log onto 

If you would like to read more from Scott Petersen, visit his web site Fishing Insider



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