Smallies on the Yough Guide Service LLC
Ron (Pete) Cartwright
Tubes are versatile enough to mimic different types of bait. This depends largely on how they're used. Bait imitated by tubes include:
2. Suckers or other bottom feeders
Weights, Rigs and Hooks
Weight is the main thing in determining how a bait looks. I use a weighted tube hook inserted in a hollow bait. Here are the hook weights I use and how baits on those hooks look to Smallmouth Bass:
1. Hook only - Insect
2. 1/16 oz. - Insect
3. 1/8 oz. - Crayfish or Minnow
4. 1/4 oz. - Crayfish or Sucker
5. 3/16 oz. - Crayfish or Sucker
Tubes can be used almost anywhere. They can be rigged weedless, but I do this only in extremely thick cover because this decreases your chance of hookups. A lot of times no weight is needed, especially if fish are surface feeding. I like hooks that bend easily. They save a lot of cash on snags.
Color and Tube Type
Color is also important when fishing rivers and streams. I stay with colors that match naturally occurring bait. Here are the colors that consistently catch fish:
1. SOTY Pumpkin
2. Green Pumpkin Black
3. Green Pumpkin Special
I use a 412ube from 412 Bait Co. This tube is good because the plastic is tougher than most tubes out there.
Fishing the Tube
Use a few different retrieves:
2. Jig up and down
3. Straight in
4. Stop and go
5. Slowest retrieve you can turn
6. Retrieve fast and slow. Mix up your speeds.
7. When you get out of snags, leave your bait sit a few seconds.
Fan cast an area until you can get some action using those different retrieves.
Rod control is important in working tubes. Most people that start using a tube will snag up a lot and this will even happen to experts. Patience is KEY. You must use baits repeatedly, until you can distinguish between rocks and bites. Rod sensitivity is also important. The better you can feel your bait, the better you can work it.
For tubes I use a G Loomis Bronzeback, 7 ft. 4 in., light power, fast action. When I'm retrieving, I keep my rod about 11 o'clock, moving it up and down whenever I bump the bottom. Stick with this technique and you'll get good at bumping your bait off things in the current.
Where to Cast
The places I like to hit look calm but they are just current breaks. You can pretty much cast a tube anywhere. There are a few places that they excel in moving water.
1. Standing above a long current break and casting down into it bringing it back slow bumping it off the bottom or swimming it in
2. Below a riffle with a lip (KEY SPOT)
3. In a deep pool - let it sit after it hits the bottom for a few before you move it
4. In calm water - jig it
5. Bridge pillars the bass can be in the front along the sides of the pillar or behind it but you can bet they're in there
6. Cast close to any major structure
7. Flats that have slow moving water - cast up river
8. "Body fish" it - use your body as structure an while facing downstream cast in front of yourself standing there for at least 20 minutes with not much movement.
9. Fast moving water - cast in there you can them
10. Pockets of deeper water on a flat deeper might only be 6 inches knee deep to waist deep
11. Any Eddy behind rocks are great
12. Any rock hump in the middle of the river (KEY SPOT)
These spots are hot spots for just about every lure, but with the tube you can use it as a minnow or a crayfish depending on your retrieve so you are not limited. You can also catch Walleye, Sauger, Trout and even a Pike when using the Tube.
1/16 oz, 1/8 oz to 1/4 oz.