June 6, 2014 Share

How to Unleash the Power of Tiny Tubes

Originally Published on May 5, 2012 “From the Dock” NBC Sports

Tiny tubes for panfish and trout are enormously popular these days. Do a quick search through online biggies Bass Pro and Cabela’s and you’ll find a several 1 to 2-inch models available from a variety of manufacturers like Southern Pro, Northland Tackle, Yum, Gary Yamamoto, Strike King, Lucky E Strike, Berkley and Bass Pro and more.

And these baits are pretty cheap, especially when bought in bulk. Bass Pro offers a 446-piece kit for $23, or about .19 apiece for the baits. Pre-rigged tubes are also available, and while they are more expensive, they still represent a great value.

Typically, small tubes are rigged with internal heads weighing 1/16 or 1/32 ounce heads, which brings me to the point of this blog. Casting such light baits is a challenge, especially with monofilament. To gain casting distance, I’d pin a bobber above the bait or rig the tubes on heavier jigheads. Maybe you’ve made the same mistakes.

Yes, I use the word “mistakes” intentionally. You’ll never truly appreciate the magic of small tubes until you fish them in ways that allow their natural darting, erratic actions to come fully into play.

1. Fish them on thin (2-6 pound), supple lines like Nanofil, FireLine or one of the other light superlines now available. Tie direct (no mono or fluoro leader), and don’t add anything additional (bobber, sinker, etc.) to your line.

2. Rig them with an internal tube jig head, and go as light as possible. A 1/16-ounce head is a good choice for most situations. A standard roundhead jig is okay, but tough to rig internally so most anglers just thread the tube on the back of jig like a grub. This is an option that works, but its not the best way to get them most out of these baits!

3. A long, (6.5 foot), light spinning rod will greatly improve casting distance; make sure your reel is fully loaded with line for the same reason.

Two approaches work well when fishing small tubes. Casting is the most fun, but slow trolling them is deadly as well. When casting, I keep any wind available at my back and use it to increase casting distance. When the tubes hits the water, I count it down a few seconds, before bringing it back with short, quick twitches of the rod tip followed by plenty of pauses.

When fished in this manner, the jig does an amazing job of mimicking both small baitfish and a variety of insect larvae, key forage for many species of fish.

When trolling, use you electric trolling motors to keep your speed as slow as possible, and twitch the bait as mentioned above. Let out line as needed to get needed separation from the boat.

Fish tubes over weedflats, around brush or anywhere you find crappies and other panfish shallow enough to reach. One of may favorite spots of late is a 12-foot channel with scattered weeds. Even though the tube stays within 3-feet of the surface, it pulls fish up with ease, and not just crappie. Its also deadly on bass, sunfish, trout and a bunch more.

My favorite tube is the PowerBait Atomic Teaser, It’s in 8 different color combinations and sold in packs of 3 pre-rigged baits for about $2.50 to $3.99 a pack. The easiest place to find them is Fisherman Factory Outlet (if not available at your local store). Here the link http://www.ffo-tackle.com/detail.cfm?PassProdId=4796.