Bassmaster Elite Series pro Bob Downey offers up a few different ways to fish bass tubes for smallmouth bass.
How to Fish Bass Tubes
Tubes are one of the best presentations to use for smallmouth bass, because they do such a good job imitating some of their favorite forage; crawfish and gobies. They come in a wide variety of sizes and colors and are a must have if you plan on chasing smallmouth bass.
There are a three common ways to fish bass tubes.
1. Casting and Dragging a Tube
Casting a tube out and dragging it along the bottom as you retrieve it is one of the most effective ways to fish a tube. This presentation allows the angler to keep the boat in a fixed allowing them to really cover a certain piece of structure. This presentation is typically most effective when fish on smaller pieces of structure like rock reefs and points.
The weight of your tube should be dictated by the depth you are fishing. A good rule of thumb is the shallower you are fishing the lighter the tube should be and the deeper you are the heavier the tube should be. The goal is to maintain good bottom contact.
2. Drifting a Tube
This is another presentation in which the tube is fished along the bottom, however instead of your boat being in a fixed position the boat is moving with the wind, current, or from an electric trolling motor.
Drifting a tube is a common presentation on the Great Lakes and this presentation is best utilized on large pieces of structure like expansive flats or basins.
The same rule on jig weight applies for drifting a tube.
3. Cracking a Tube
Cracking a tube is a great presentation when targeting aggressive bass. It does a good job imitating a fleeing crawfish or baitfish. Simple cast out the tube, let it hit the bottom and then pop it off the bottom back to the boat.
When cracking a tube you want to go heavier somewhere in the range of 3/8-ounce to 3/4-ounce. This will allow the tube to produce a real darting action that will trigger reactionary strikes.
Fish Bass Tubes: Gear
When fishing tubes for smallmouth bass the St. Croix Legend Tournament Bass rod in a 7’1″ medium power, fast action is the perfect rod for a few reasons.
At 7-foot 1-inch long is it’s the perfect length for any presentation you use with the tube. Another reason is that smallmouth bass have a tendency to clamp onto a tube and the medium power rod allows you to drive the hook into the fish, but is still sensitive enough to detect light bites.