November 22nd, 2012
It’s that time of year again when the big heavy rods, the huge tungsten weights and the flipping’ baits get put away; as the fall light tackle, light line combos come out. That’s right it’s smallie hunting time up here in Ontario. As the last weekend of summer has officially come and gone and the weather starts to change from shorts to sweaters, the big smallmouth come out to play. The number one bait for these big smallies, you guessed it, are tubes. Now there are many ways to catch these awesome fish; drop-shotting, spinner baits, jerk baits and the list goes on and on. But tubes mimic the smallmouth’s favorite bait the crayfish; what better way to catch these massive fish then to drag a tube that match the hatch?
Two examples of Imperium Baits tubes:
The first is the “Prodigy”; a slender standard style tube that is double dipped for extra strength that can stand up to abuse of dragging and zebra mussels. The profile and color selection of this bait makes it irresistible to smallmouth.
The second tube option from Imperium baits is the “Phenom”; it has a bulkier body and a larger profile, for the fish with a bigger appetite. This tube is triple dipped for the extra heavy cover and will last through multiple smallies. Again, with multiple color options, you will be able to match the hatch and mimic the color of crayfish in your lake.
Different ways to fish a tube:
This is a great way of covering a lot of water; but it can make for a long day if the bit is off. Cast it out behind the boat and let the current help drag the tube on bottom; the key word being on the bottom. Bottom contact is very important with this technique of fishing. Having a good amount of line out so the bass are not spooked by the boat is key; it’s pretty much a do nothing approach. I like to use a medium heavy 7′ rod and my line of choice here is 12-lb fluorocarbon; it’s very abrasion resistant and its sinking properties makes it ideal for this application.
Cast and retrieve
Cast out to structure or on a flat, and pop it back to the boat mimicking a crayfish fleeing. Cadence is important here; fast or slow, little twitches or big pops. Experiment with each and try to key in to the pattern that the fish are on. I like a 6’6” rod with 20-lb braid and a fluorocarbon 12-lb leader.
This is more of a summer pattern. Rigging the tube Texas-style with a flipping weight, pegged and pitching it into heavy cover, can produce some big fish. Typically, I like to use heavy braid when flipping tubes in heavy cover with a stout heavy 7’ rod.
Make a long cast and swim the bait back with subtle twitches to mimic a goby or bait fish.
Having the right color, speed of retrieve and confidence to fish the tube, will result in a fish of a lifetime if you give it the opportunity. Try these techniques next time you are out on your favorite lake and you will find that the tube will be, one of your favorite soft plastics in no time.
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Jeremy is a talented multi-species angler. Jeremy's favorite target species is bass, where he has been very active in regional bass tournaments. A member of Barrie Bassmasters, Jeremy has most recently been nominated as the Director of Conservation at his bass club. The bass fishing fanatic is also an Ambassador for Imperium Baits.More by Jeremy Baird