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Tube Baits


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Don- I have yet to run into anyone that has had success with tubes on the K3.


Don't ask me why!

It is my go-to bait for the Calumet, the St. Joe and other rivers 'round here.

Never got anything worth mentioning with them on the K3.

Wrong place, wrong time? Never established confidence?

Hard to say.




There could be numberous reasons, for you not having success on the K3 with tubes.


Tubes are a great lure choice.


Properly rigged, and presented, they are very effective.

Many times, they'll outfish a worm.


I've fished tube baits a lot---

from the panfish size to the giant 6" size.


Most tubes are intended to imitate crawfish.

There are also some that are great baitfish imitators.


The long thin styles, nose hooked, are great for drop-shotting.


Nose hook a thin tube, using a "shiner" hook, with a bull-shot weight, 8-12" up the line.

Great for draging the bottom and for a swimming action.


There are a variety of tube baits on the market.

Some are more effective over others.

Some brands are better than others.

Those made of a softer material are more effective.


Appy a crawfish scent.


Rigging---bottom fishing:

The EWG G-Lock style hook is the best, and rigged with the "hook point skin hooked".

Insert style weights---the weight is inserted inside the tube, with the hook point exposed.

An "insert" weight, [Yamamoto Insert Weights are the best], they fit onto the hook shank, with the weight inside the tube.


Smaller size tubes, in the 2-2.5" size are best during the early season.

(My choice size for river smallies. Most crawfish are small in the rivers and streams.)

As the summer progresses, and post spawn, the 3-3.5" size are effective.


LMB---3-4" sizes are good choice.

When targeting BIG LMB in some waters, I prefer the 5-6" tubes.

I've caught some HUGE smallies and LMB on "Venoms FAT Tubes".


Rig a "white" 2.5" tube, nose hooked, on a BitsyBug jig, is a great shad or baitfish imitator.


Hope this helps.

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Tube jigs are a phenominal smallie bait, one every serious smallie angler should try. They are easy to catch fish with, but can take a lot of experimentation to grasp all the possibilities with this versatile lure. IMHO, smaller tubes catch smaller fish at a slightly better hookup rate. Bigger tubes 4", still catch plenty of smaller SMB, but catch more big SMB along the way. They also drop slower.


Texpose step by step:


















EWG Gammie tube jig 3/0 or 4/0 1/8 to 5/16 oz depending on current and depth.


Allow to tumble in current along current seems, drag off the tops of logs or riprap points and let it drop. In slower current, pop it and drop it. Drop and drag. Cast into eddie and pop it towards current only to kill it just short of being swept in. Swim and drop Swim and drop repeat(like a jerkbait stop is the drop). All work in different situations.


With this rig you can experiment with your bottom exit point to provide more or less weedlessness-



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I rig tubes more than any other bait over the course of a year.

More than likely I didn't get the results I expected on the Kankakee and thus loss confidence in them for that particular watershed.

Typically, I'm just Texas rigging a red Gamakatsu 2/0 EWG with a red bullet sinker.

Let me cast off on the Calumet River, lock through and fish all night (yes, night) into the wee hours of morning...with only a box of each of the aforementioned and various tubes (Chompers makes some good ones)....and I'm a happy smallie catchin' machine.



Remember too that Pure Fishing found in their research that bass in general will eat a tube, thinking it's a crawfish, before it eats a bait with pincers on it.

A ground-breaking study at the time.

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While tubes work on the Kankakee , I have other plastics that I have much more confidence in . I have been decreasing the amount of tackle I carry and the best way to do that is to only carry what you have the most confidence in . Tubes have been left behind , not because they don't work but my confidence level is much higher with a Power Pulse Worm .


Texposing a tube with a weighted keeper hook is extremely simple . Shove the barb in the nose and the hook thru both walls of the tube . Bing bang done . You can also skin hook either side of the tube if you like .


My favorite way to use a tube was a big heavy 5 incher unweigted on a 5/0 EWG Gammie . Definitely a big fish bait , especially in slackwater pockets in high cold muddy water .

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  • 3 months later...
Brenden, do you ever hook them in the bottom jaw with the gammies? I hook alot of them like that and not sure why. LOVE these hooks tho. although i do lose quite a few :(



I did last time out, Dana. Usually, I get corner of the mouth. This year for me in Indiana has been one of low water and lack of decent current. Smallies have related to shade, cover, depressions, more than current seems or eddies. The lack of current has made them less effective for me. Or rather topwaters have been insanely effective. Tube is still a critical bait I toss into rootwads and scour holes, but more and more I'll buzzbait or sammy past there first. I feel more comfortable when the current moves them along rather than by my own movement.

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