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Totally Tubeular

I don’t understand what makes a fish want to eat a tube.

Bass tube


Stickbaits I get. They look like a delicious fish. Jigs? An obvious attempt to portray a yummy crawdad. But tubes? They look like a miniature condom. With tentacles. There is nothing appetizing about that.

Xrap and Bass Tube

Beauty and a Beast

The paint jobs on some of these new lures are stunning. I swear I’m staring at an actual fish in a plastic box hanging on the shelves at Bass Pro Shops. But the price soars as the bait gets more realistic. I used to spend about $6 per lure. Now it’s more like $9-$12 and I could easily throw down $20. I pay extra every season because the natural look makes it easier to imagine that a fish would actually want to eat that bait.

Then there’s Tubes. The rebels against the realistic lure craze. They’re cheap. They’re ugly. They don’t wiggle. They’re not flashy. If a bass would see the realistic lure and think “food” he’d look at a tube and think “there’s a garbage bag with a rag stapled to one end”. Tubes are downright ugly.

But the results are beautiful.

Lake St Clair Smallmouth

John's Trophy of the Day

Tubes landed all our fish on my last trip to Lake St. Clair. I’m still new to bass fishing these waters but all the reports I saw made it sound like the fish were just jumping into the boat. Guys were reporting 30-40 fish in a matter of a few hours. Our expectations were high at the dock. But after 1.5 hours and only a few pics with rock bass on the camera we started getting discouraged.

We motored away from the crowds. Past the Beach Grill and past the Coast Guard station. About 1/2 mile away from the clumps of other boats is were we finally got into some fish.

Smallie caught on tubes

Another Fat Hawg

Starting about 3/4 of a mile from shore we used green tubes with a 1/8 oz weight stuffed inside. We’d cast the tube, let it sink to the bottom and simply drag it through the weeds as the wind pushed the boat along. The rod tips bowed down and snapped back like nervous actors at the end of bad performance. When it looked like the rod was about to jump in the lake we’d set the hook. And hold on.

Smallie caught off structure

Am I snarling?

Every fish we caught fought like they had something to prove. They put on a show thrashing and jumping away from the net. Most of our fish were pulled out of open water but we landed this smallie and a couple largemouths by fishing structure like the seawall in the background of this pic.

The last fish of the day was a bonus. This silvery sheepshead had me thinking for a second that I had a 7 lb smallie on the hook. I’ve only caught a few of these weird looking dudes so it’s still a trip for me to hold one up for a pic.

Sheephead caugt on a tube


Grab a bag of tubes, some tube weights and your rain gear. Then head out to Lake St. Clair this Memorial Day weekend for some awesome smallmouth bass action.

I posted some more pics on my FB page. Check ’em out if you’d like.


6 thoughts on “Totally Tubeular

  1. Totally tubular.

    Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

    Posted by Mandy | May 27, 2011, 4:50 pm
  2. Tubes are the nuts. They skip real well up under docks and downed trees too.
    Great looking fish boss.

    Posted by matt smythe | May 29, 2011, 4:06 pm
  3. great post- those smallmouth fight like crazy.

    Posted by metro pioneer | May 30, 2011, 11:26 pm

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