Take ‘Em On Tubes!

Tubes do a great job of imitating crayfish—an important smallmouth prey.

When it comes to imitating a variety of freshwater bass forage, it’s hard to beat the versatile tube lure. Here’s some expert advice on how to rig and fish them through the season. By Matt Razey and Marc Shea, 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 a few of our favorite times of year to fish tubes and how we like to rig them. By the way, all of the following techniques are used with spinning gear, which we feel increases casting distance and offers the maximum amount of “feel” when fishing tubes.


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 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.

We like throwing a relatively heavy, half-ounce tube at this time of year. The heavier weight makes for longer casts and lets the tube sink quickly to the fish’s 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 to shallow.


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 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 prefer 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, the tubes are designed to mimic bluegill and other small forage. No bluegill is created equal, so don’t be afraid to try different colors and patterns until you score.

Another go-to spot for summer tube fishing is isolated grass beds in deeper water. Work the tube along the edges of the grass or snap it out of thick, deep grass. Much like the setup for dock fishing, a 60-degree line tie is critical, 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 tap bottom. In windy conditions, don’t be afraid to go heavier.



Since tubes imitate many different types of forage, it’s no wonder they shine in the fall. The fish could be feeding on crayfish, yellow perch, smelt or alewives, so pack tubes in a variety of sizes and colors. Mimicking the size of the bait is key at this time.

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 school 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. If there is one bait that will always find its way onto our spinning rods from April to November, it’s a tube. The lure’s versatility is hard to beat, so be sure to have one ready to go for your next trip.



About Freak Finder Fishing

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 website, or follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.