For years tube baits were all the rage. Many tournament anglers swore by them.
When creature baits were introduced, the reign of freshwater tube baits saw its end.
However, that doesn’t mean tube baits no longer work.
In fact, they work exceptionally well because so few anglers use them anymore, but you need to know how to rig tube baits to understand how to fish tube baits correctly.
The good news is tube baits are simple yet versatile. Mastering just a couple of these fishing tips will mean you get more bites!
- How to Rig Tube Baits
- How to Fish a Tube Jig
- Where to Fish a Tube Bait
- When to Fish a Tube Bait
- Last Cast
Learn how to expertly rig a tube in this YouTube video by Anglers.com Community Coordinator, Wesley Littlefield.
How to Rig Tube Baits
There are many tube bait rigs for bass fishing. Certain rigs are more effective in specific situations, so you’re wise to learn several ways to rig them, no matter if you’re going for a big bite from a largemouth or a smallmouth bass.
How to Rig a Tube Bait on a Jig
The most common way to rig a tube bait is with a jig. You can use a couple of different styles of tube bait hooks: the traditional round jig head, weedless jig head, or a swing head jig.
For this section, we will use the round jig head since it’s the most common and discuss the swing head jig later.
BEFORE you tie the jig to the line, push the jig into the tube bait from the bottom hole and push the eye of the jig through the soft plastic once you’ve reached the top of the tube.
Tie the jig to the line using your favorite knot.
Catch some fish!
We will discuss how to fish tube baits below, but as a precaution, this rig has the hook exposed, so it’s more prone to snagging on grass, docks, and brush piles.
This rig works best around rocks and beds during the spawn.
How to Texas Rig a Tube Bait
Texas rigging is how to rig a tube bait weedless. It’s the same process as rigging a Senko or plastic worm Texas style.
Here’s how to Texas rig tube baits.
Slide your weight onto the line and tie on a 3 or 4 aught hook using your favorite knot, such as a Palomar knot.
Push the hook’s point through the center top portion of the tube until the hooks bend. Push the point through the side of the tube and slide the tube towards the eye of the hook.
Line the worm hook up to see where it needs to go through the tube bait, and then push it through both sides of the bait.
Ensure that the tube will rest squarely with the hook, and for extra comfort, you can pierce the side of the bait to hide the tip.
It’s critical that you rig the tube bait as straight as possible on the worm hook so that it has a natural action when you begin fishing it!
A Texas rigged tube works excellent in the grass, rocks, standing timber, and laydowns because the hook lays flat with the bait and doesn’t snag on vegetation as easily.
How to Hook a Tube Bait on a Drop Shot
Learning how to drop shot will help you catch more bass when the fish are reluctant to bite. It works especially well in the heat of the summer and when the water is cold in the winter.
Tie a drop shot set up. The quick way to do this is to tie on a drop shot hook and leave a long tag end, about 6-12”. Run the tag end back through the eye from the top (the point should be facing up).
Now put a drop shot weight on the tag near the end of the line.
There are a couple of different ways you can go about rigging a tube bait.
You can pierce the top center part of the tube until the bend and pierce the side, similar to a Texas rig, except instead of running it up the hook, you leave it dangling from the hook bend.
The other way to rig it is to push the point through the side portion of the top through to the other side. This is called “hooking it through the nose.”
Begin fishing with it!
This technique is meant to be fished slowly in deep water.
How to Rig a Tube Bait Weightless
When you rig any soft plastic weightless, it sinks slowly and looks like a dying baitfish or crawfish.
To rig a tube weightless, we’re going to Texas rig it without the weight.
Push the hook’s point through the top center portion of the tube to the bend, then push it through the side of the soft plastic tube.
Run the tube to the eye of the hook and line up where it needs to go through, then push the hook point through until it lays flat with the bait.
Get to fishing the weightless tube!
This technique is best in shallow water because it will slowly fall. Use a Carolina rig if you want to fish it in deep water, say more than eight feet.
How to Carolina Rig a Tube Bait
The Carolina rig is essentially a Texas rig on a long leader line. The weight stays at least a foot away from the bait, giving it a natural falling action near the bottom.
Tie a Carolina rig.
Cut off 12-24” of leader. Place your weight on the line connected to your pole, followed by a bead that protects the knot.
Next, tie a swivel to the line and the leader to the swivel. Finally, connect your hook to the leader.
Rig the tube bait the same as you would on the Texas rig and weightless rig.
Start fishing deep waters with a “weightless” presentation.
Because the swivel keeps the weight from sliding down next to the bait, the tube remains weightless and will slowly sink to the bottom once the weight is on the bottom.
The weight helps get the tube deep quickly yet doesn’t inhibit the natural action of the bait once it’s near the bottom, where bass tend to spend most of their time.
How to Rig a Tube Bait on a Wobble Head Jig
A swing head jig is similar to the Texas style with a pinned weight; it keeps the weight close to the bait.
It’s also similar because you Texas rig the tube onto the hook.
How to Rig a Tube Bait on a Tokyo Rig
You’ll follow the same steps as a Texas rig to put a tube bait on a Tokyo rig EWG hook. The main difference will be that you don’t put the tungsten weight on the fishing line; the sinker will go onto the metal wire of the Tokyo rig.
How to Fish a Tube Jig
Because there are so many ways to rig a tube bait for bass, there are also many ways to use a tube jig.
You can use most rod and reel combos, but my favorite tube jig setup is a medium-heavy fast action rod with a 6:1 baitcaster.
In my opinion, straight fluorocarbon is the best when tube jig fishing and Jeff Kriet of Major League Fishing agrees.
When fishing with tubes, I have three speeds.
You can fish it relatively fast when using a Texas rig, Carolina rig, Tokyo rig, or a round jig or swing head jig.
This is because you have a weight that helps quickly get the bait to the bottom.
To fish it fast, you’ll cast out, let it sink to the bottom, and begin reeling at a speed that barely keeps it off the bottom; in fact, if your weight is hitting bottom, that’s okay.
Adding pauses and jerks will make the tube look injured or confused and cause the bass to bite it, thinking it’s an easy meal.
The same rigs can be used to fish it a little slower by adding longer pauses, reeling slower, and bouncing or popping it off of the bottom.
Cast it out, let it sink to the bottom, reel up the slack, twitch your rod to pop the tube off the bottom, and then let it drop again.
This looks like a craw trying to get away or a dying bluegill; either way, it seems like an easy meal to the bass.
Finesse fishing is one of my least favorite techniques, not because it doesn’t catch fish. If I’m honest, I would catch more bass if I slowed down more often.
I don’t like it because I’m not patient.
All the rigs mentioned above can be fished slowly, especially the drop shot.
To fish a tube bait slow, cast it out, let it sink to the bottom, and then drag it along the bottom by bringing your rod tip up.
Reel up the slack as you point your rod back at the water, and then pull it again using only your rod.
When using the drop shot rig, you can cast it out, let it sink, and shake your rod tip to make the tube bait dance, as you do with a shaky head.
Or you can cast it out, keep the line relatively tight and let it sit for a while.
If you have more patience than I, fishing slowly will yield excellent results. You cannot fish this technique too slowly when the water is extreme, hot or cold.
Where to Fish a Tube Bait
Another great thing about tube jigs is that they can be used to fish just about anywhere. In the grass, rocks, or heavy cover like brush piles.
They typically imitate a crawdad or sunfish so you can fish a soft plastic tube anywhere you see those animals.
Most anglers use them during the spawn in shallow water, around docks, and brush piles.
When to Fish a Tube Bait
There is no wrong time to fish a tube bait unless you’re not getting bites. Because it’s such a versatile bait, it can be used all year round to catch bass.
However, spring and fall are the two most popular times of the year for many anglers who fish a tube.
The bass fishing tube is a forgotten bait that deserves to be remembered. It’s one of the most versatile baits you can buy because you can rig it in so many different ways and fish it in several situations.
Knowing how to rig tube baits will help you catch more bass when others are struggling to bet a bite using creature baits.
What are other underrated fishing lures that need to be added to the tackle box, in your opinion?