Tossing Tubes for Bass

When it comes to imitating a variety of bass forage, it’s hard to beat the versatile tube lure, no matter what the season. By Matthew Razey, Freak Finder Fishing

The soft-plastic tube bait is one of the most effective and versatile bass lures ever invented. Made by various companies and available in a wide range of colors and sizes, tubes will catch bass all year, and can be fished in a variety of different areas using different methods of presentation.

In this article we’ll discuss how to rig and fish tubes to target bass at different times of the year. All of the following applications are used with spinning gear, which increases casting distance and offers the maximum amount of “feel” for the angler.

Chill Out

Tubes mimic many different types of forage in a lake or pond, including crayfish, perch, bluegill and sunfish. They are very effective in the early season, when the bass are emerging from their winter holes and are not feeding aggressively all day. At this time of year, the key to success is presenting the bass with an easy meal, one they don’t have to exert a lot of energy chasing down.

At Freak Finder Fishing, we like throwing a relatively heavy, ½-ounce tube at this time of year. The heavier weight makes for longer casts and allows the tube sink quickly to the bass’ holding level. This is about the only time of year we throw an all-black or black-and-blue tube in clear water. That’s because crayfish are at their darkest in early spring.

Key areas to fish tubes at this time of year include secondary points, deep humps and main lake points. It’s all about finding the first stop that bass make during their migration from deep water.

Bed Time Bonus

The bedding period is a great time to use tubes. More often than not, rock bass, bluegill and other small fish will be lurking around the bass beds, waiting to feast on the eggs, larvae and fry. A tube will get a bass’ attention quickly, as it looks like an intruder approaching the nest.

We like to fancast tubes on the flats for both bedding largemouths and smallmouths in stained water, but the baits can really shine when targeting smallies in clear water. Accuracy is key, as being able to pull the tube through the heart of the bed will virtually ensure a smallmouth reaction.

Summer Tubin’

The summer months are a phenomenal time to throw tubes. We like to fish them around boat docks in shallow water, as well as through deep-water grass beds. When fishing around docks, snap the rod tip and work the line almost like you would when fishing a soft-plastic jerk bait. The erratic action and falling motion of the tube imitates young-of-the-year bluegill and fry that gather around docks and other structure.

We like a 1/16-ounce or 1/8-ounce internal tube jig with a 60-degree line tie for fishing docks and grass. The 60-degree tie gives the bait a more erratic action, as the line is positioned closer to the nose of the bait, which helps the tube dart from side to side.

Green pumpkin, watermelon and green with highlights of purple or chartreuse are excellent summer patterns. Remember, tubes are designed to mimic bluegill and small forage; no bluegill is created equal, so try different colors until you score.

Tubes also work well when fished over isolated grass beds in deeper water. Working the tube along the edges of the grass and snapping it out of thick, deep grass can yield great results. Much like the setup for dock fishing, a 60-degree line tie is beneficial, as it allows the bait to slide through the grass without snagging.

In terms of weight, go as light as you can. The trick is to use just enough weight to reach and maintain contact with the structure, but light enough to coax heavily pressured (i.e., cautious) bass into biting. Start with the lightest weight possible and work your way up as needed to maintain contact with the bottom. In windy conditions, don’t be afraid to go heavier.

Fall Brawl

Since tubes imitate many different types of forage, it’s no wonder they shine in the fall, when the presence of bait is key to finding fish. The bass could be feeding on crayfish, yellow perch, smelt or alewives, so pack tubes in a variety of sizes and colors to match the prevailing forage.

Further, the bass could be positioned anywhere from shallow to deep, over and around a variety of different structure. Humps, secondary breaks, off shore grass, isolated rocks on flats—all serve as potential bass magnets at this time of year if bait is present.

Bass are schooled up at this time of year, and many times a hooked fish will be followed by others as it’s brought to the boat. That’s why it pays to have a second tube ready to drop to these “followers.”

Lastly, always have a tube ready to cast to bass that are cruising in shallow water. If you see a bass swim by, cast the tube a little ahead of and beyond the direction it is heading. Often, the quick drop of the tube will trigger a reaction bite.


Freak Finder Fishing is the brainchild of avid anglers Matt Razey and Marc Shea. The pair first started filming videos to share their love of bass fishing and the outdoors with their families and friends, but soon realized that sharing this information through the web and on social media was a great way to disperse knowledge and make connections within the fishing industry. To learn more, visit the Freak Finder websiteor follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.