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With so many choices to cast from your kayak in search of fish it can get confusing as to what bait will work best. I have a short list of “go to” baits that include spinnerbaits, jigs, crankbaits and top water lures for bass. Years ago I discovered the best multispecies bait, a soft plastic tube lure.

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Tubes like their cousins the plastic worm come in dozens of colors and sizes. The soft plastic tubes also can be rigged in several ways. With the larger version made with hollow bodies you can insert a traditional lead head, set them up on a Carolina rig, or rig the bass sizes up Texas rigged.

For topwater fans there’s even a way to set them up for the surface bite. Try rigging them weightless and weedless and work them in and around shallow water cover.

Presentation of Tubes

The appeal of tubes is much like that of the traditional plastics, they are soft, shaped to be easily swallowed and most important have random action. But wait, the tube possesses a unique fall. Because of the shape the weighted forward rigging tubes descend slowly in a downward spiral that resembles an octagonal drift. This presentation is seldom seen by bass and therefore draws attention immediately. The slow erratic fall also keep the bait in the strike zone for an extended period of time as opposed to the straight drop. Another advantage is the use of the single hook which allows for a strong hook set. As if that’s not enough, smaller tubes provide non-stop action on other fish. Bluegill, walleye, catfish, trout and more have all been fooled by a tube at the end of my line. A sure sign of an effective lure is one that is capable of catching multiple species on the same bait.

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Rigging Tubes

But where the tube really shines in the pursuit of crappie. A small tube threaded on a leadhead and cast on light line (four to six pound test) is the deadly on all types of panfish and still takes it share of bass and other gamefish. A small selection of plastic and accessories is all it takes and you can dedicate a box solely to tubes and be assured of some action almost always. A few carefully chosen colors going from neutral, to mid-level and dark shades will be sufficient.

I carry leadhead ranging on weights from 1/16th ounce up to ¼ ounce. Clear water and no wind I go with the lightweight lead, next and normally is the 1/8 oz. model, if there’s gusty wind (not the friend of the kayaker) in desperation I might go to the ¼ ounce leadhead for casting and maintaining contact with the bait. All these offerings are presented with open face spinning tackle. When working the upsized version of tubes four, three and two inch baits I go back to baitcasting gear, braided line and most often 5/0 hooks. My bass tubes 4.5 flip-N-Tubes are Strike King www.strikeking.com some of the crappie tubes the fish favor are from www.midsouthtackle.com .

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Casting Advice

The bass tubes are cast to likely spots like boat docks, submerged wood, weed beds, drop offs, stumps and chunk rock. A seven and half foot graphite rod serves me well for casting, sensing strikes, sure hook sets and getting my fish to the side of the kayak. I prefer the Big Rig for stability and the option to stand and work all my jigs, worms, craws and of course the tubes. Strikes come most of the time on the slow fall with the unpredictable downward action. Cast the tube out regardless of target fish and swim the bait with an occasional twitch and be ready for the thump at the end of your line. A sharp hook set and you’re in business. The ideal surface water temperature for tubing is about 55 degrees in spring and works well into the sizzling months of summer.

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