Texas Tube Madness

Posted on October 2, 2000

Texas-rigging tubes with a twist

Equipment: 5-8 to 6-6 medium fast action spinning rod. The best rods for this method are high modulus models with a solid backbone. I prefer a longer rod, 6 to 6-6 for leverage on the hookset as well as quick line pick up. IM7 or IM8 graphite rods are my preference. They help me detect strikes easier and tend to have faster actions. I usually craft my own rods out of Cabela’s IM7 Series or Fish Eagle blanks. As far as store bought rods, I strongly recommend Bass Pro Shops Bionic Blade XPS IM8 rods in the following models: BN58MS(5-8Med), BN510MHS(5-10 MH Spin)BN66MLS(6-6 medium light). I like reels with Front drags, large wide arbor spools, anti-reverse, 6 to 8 bb’s and I prefer light reels that weigh 8 ounces or less. I am a huge Pinnacle fan and prefer the Deadbolt DN F25 or DLF25 series. These reels are flawless and are relatively inexpensive. For this technique I use 6 or 8lb Super Silver Thread. At times when I’m fishing heavy cover I will employ 10 or 12lb test. The Silver Thread is supple and has a small diameter. This technique is far better when used with spinning gear. It is not a flipping technique so bait casting gear is not necessary.

Terminal Tackle: My tube rig works best with brass Weenie Weights. I like 1/16 or 1/8 Top Brass Tackle Weenie Weights painted black. This is simply a shorter, wider sliding bullet weight that is made of brass. This produces much better sound amplification and is environmentally friendly. For hooks, I use either Sugoi 3/0, 3/0 Owner Rig n hook or a 3/0 Gamakatusu EWG. What sets this method apart from standard Texas rigs is that I use a fire polished faceted glass bead. This accomplishes two things, first the bead reflects light and flashes. I truly believe that this is one of the best attributes of the rig. Secondly, the bead and the weenie weight slap back and forth, thus sometimes attracting fish to its location.

The Tube: While I may take some heat from some guys about my tube choice, I must be honest. The ONLY tube I use is a Snoozer 3 1/2” tube. This bait is a thick walled tube that holds the hook nicely. It is the finest scented tube anywhere. Fish do not hold on to the bait, they eat it. This tube rigged on a Sugoi 3/0 hook has figured for me every tournament I’ve fished this year (Thanks Travis). I have finished first or second of 6 of the 7 tourneys I’ve fished this year, my other finish was a 4th. If you have been paying attention so far, you will notice that this rig employs sight, scent, taste, and sound to tantalize Mr. Bass. If you’ve ever fished with the Snoozer Tube you surely have noticed the slick oil slick the bait produces in the water. It’s odor will have every cat in the neighborhood clawing to get in your dry storage box to get at them.

Colors: I prefer the following colors; Green Pumpkin, Pumpkin Seed, Water Melon, June Bug, Smoke Purple Flake, Snoozer Camo, Road Kill Camo, and Black Red Flake. I match the glass bead to the bait. Black, Brown, Purple, or Green beads will match all the previously mentioned colors.

Rigging: This rig can be set up just like the traditional Texas rig. Slide the Weenie Weight up the line followed by the glass bead. It isn’t necessary to peg the weight or the bead. Next tie the hook on with the Palomar knot for strength. Bury the hook point about a 1/4 inch dead center in the head of the tube. Pull the hook through the side of the bait until the hook eye enters the tube head. Next pop the hook back into the side and pull the point through, penetrating through the opposite side of the tube(back out again). The tube should be straight. The point of the hook should be exposed and tight to the fleshy side of the tube. The exposed point allows for easier penetration on the hookset. The hook doesn’t have to penetrate the extra plastic in the tube, thus sticks into the fishes’ mouth with minimal effort.

“With this rig I usually feel one of two things: either I feel the bass chewing on the tube, similar to a plastic worm pick up, or I don’t feel the bait at all which means a bass has picked it up and is usually moving off with it.”

The Presentation: This tube is very effective in 8ft of water or less. Its light weight won’t allow it to be fished effectively beyond that depth. Because it is weedless, it can be fished just about anywhere. I prefer docks, boathouses, any overhead cover, inlet points, and flats. Of course the rig will work anywhere provided shallow cover can be found. The rig works when skipped under or through cover. This is what sets the rig apart from conventional tube rigs. The tube itself is weightless. When cast the Weenie weight falls away from the bait and slowly drifts to the bottom. The tube flutters to the bottom even slower. Its slow fall is a crucial trait to its success. Standard tube rigs that are internally weighted spiral to the bottom. They are directly weighted and fall throughout the strike zone faster then the Texas rig. As the weight of the Texas tube rig slides forward, it slowly pulls the bait along. This is the reason I don’t use bait casting gear. Flipping and pitching are not accurate with this rig. I aim to skip my bait past the target so it slowly falls through cover. After I cast to a piece of cover, I try to maintain a taught line because very often the bait is struck just as it enters the water. If I don’t feel a strike, then I may jiggle the rod tip to get the bead and weight to make some noise. I then let the tube fall on controlled slack line and cover the lower column of the water I’m working. I don’t fish this bait in open water as I would prefer internally rigged tubes for that. I target specific visible cover and try to pick it apart as best as I can despite the “falling away from cover” action the bait has. Getting the bait to skip is the real art of an accurate presentation with this rig. Sometimes I will try to crash bait through cover so it actually passes by my target. This is because a forceful cast won’t allow the weight to create drag on the cast and keeps the bait on target. The bait will pass through the cover and remain in the strike zone longer. You might also be able to feather a skip cast to put the bait right on the target. The 1/16 oz weight won’t pull the bait as much as a heavier size.

The Bite: Many tube bites simply feel like a mushy wet rag on the end of the line sensation. With this rig I usually feel one of two things: either I feel the bass chewing on the tube, similar to a plastic worm pick up, or I don’t feel the bait at all which means a bass has picked it up and is usually moving off with it. This happens because the tube is weightless and the bass doesn’t feel resistance in the form of an unnatural internal weight. Normally the line will just start moving off. Polarized sunglasses are a must for this technique. It is important with this and most other jig techniques to “weigh the line”. What this means is to learn what the bait feels like in the water. Usually any lighter or heavier sensation is a strike. When I detect a strike I really like to crank the hook home. Even though I tend to use light line and set my drag tight, I rarely break off on a fish. Normally if I hang a monster, I will disengage the anti-reverse and back reel. I use a sweeping set as this allows me to move more line than the standard over the shoulder jig jerk.

The Texas rig tube excels during the early summer and through early fall. I simply prefer to fish other baits at different times of the year. It is an excellent big fish attractor because it has a thick profile and doesn’t give off many, if any, negative cues. Rigged with a glass bead, it appeals to all bass sense’s and like I stated earlier, “Snoozers tubes get eaten”. The rig has been very consistent for me as a late morning or evening method. Those of you were at the NYBASS boardfish at Mahopac saw how deadly it was as Munson and I culled several limits of 3-5lb largemouths on it along with a jig and pig and jersey rig.

Alternatives: The Texas rig tube is a very consistent producer. If by chance bass want a different look, there are several alternatives. I’m a big fan of finesse techniques from the West coast. Although I’m not going to take credit for any of these methods, I will say I’ve adapted them to suit my style of fishing here in NY and they have aided me in catch some pretty unbelievably large numbers of big bass over 5 lbs. I notice that most other fishermen tend to shy away from these “sissy” techniques. My sleeper tube rig is the same rig, but with the bead pegged 18 inches above the hook. The sinker is still free to slide and a striking fish won’t feel extra weight. This rig can be crept along the bottom similar to a Carolina rig. This is a noisier presentation as the bead and weight are always in contact. I sometimes use a Mojo weight, which is a cylindrical weight that has the diameter of an OTB pencil. This works better around rocks and pea gravel.

Conclusion: We all know that tubes are very versatile. They have recently been rediscovered by the pros. A magnum tube with a Florida rig helped Denny Brauer flip his way to the championship. If anyone has any questions feel free to ask them on the board. I hope this was informative as I typed my thoughts.

by Craig DeFronzo

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