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Swimming Tubes
By:  Glenn Walker


Swimming in the lake or river with an inflatable tube probably came to mind when you read the title of this article.  Instead I am going to cover a tactic that you can add to your arsenal of tactics to coax finicky bass into biting.  By using the versatile soft plastic tube and changing up your retrieve and using that in new areas you will be able to put more bass in your boat!

Of the four areas I like to use this technique two are subject to rivers, while the other two can be used on a lake as well. 

Sand bars line many of the nationís small and large riversís and are a great place to chase both large and smallmouth bass through the summer and fall.  What I like to do is cast my tube up on top of the shallowest part of the sand and just retrieve it back to the boat at a steady pace.  Sometimes when I get my tube to the actually drop of the sand, I stop my retrieve and let it flutter down into the deeper water where the bass will be sitting waiting for an easy meal.

Using a very similar retrieve on wingdams works very well to.  Letting your tube fall down the face of the wingdam will put it directly in front of a hungry bass.  The other area on a wingdam where swimming a tube is productive is, swimming it through the eddyís that are located on sections of it.  Bass will hold in these eddyís waiting for baitfish to get blown into them.  Again you are putting your bait in a prime area where a bass is waiting for an easy meal.

In the spring and fall the vegetation may become sparse and swimming a tube through the sparse vegetation is a great way to present a new lure to these bass.  Bass in these areas see, swim jigs, spinnerbaits and crankbaits on a regular basis.  But by retrieving your tube through the weeds and popping it off as it snags up is a great way to trigger a bass into striking.  By being able to cover water quickly in this situation you are increasing the chances of putting your lure in front of bass that are scattered throughout the vegetation.

During the hot summer months slop fishing is very popular on many lakes and rivers, doing something different when slop fishing is key.  By dragging a tube across these mats, you will increase your hooking percentage once you have mastered this technique.  Another benefit to swimming a tube on top of the slop is once you bring it to the edge you can let it fall of the edge and bring it back to the boat.

No rope or air compressors are needed for these tubes, but having the right gear will help you make your fishing trip a successful one.  Using a line that is very abrasion resistant has low stretch, but still sensitive is key.  I like to use 15 lb. Seaguar Inviz X fluorocarbon spooled on a high speed reel, like the new Quantum Tour Edition burner reel.  The Seaguar line can be casted a good distance and with the high speed reel, you can quickly pick up the slack when a bass hits your tube and quickly runs with it.

I rely on three RC Tackle tube colors for this technique, white, green pumpkin and watermelon red flake.  I use the white when the bass are relating to feeding on baitfish, the green pumpkin when Iím fishing near the bottom and trying to mimic a craw and lastly the watermelon red flake when Iím fishing clear water and need a natural approach.

The two ways you can rig a tube for this technique is on a Texas-rig or on a jighead.   When I Texas-rig a tube, I use an Eagle Claw HP Tube hook, because when Iím making cast after cast and bring my bait through cover, I want to make sure my tube stays secure on my hook.  This is what the HP hook does, it has a metal clip, that keeps your tube in the right place.

Depending on the amount of current or how deep you are fishing you can use a jighead that is shoved up inside the hollow tube cavity.  The RC Tackle tube jig has the perfect bend in the hook eye for swimming a tube and the weed guard can be easily removed if you are fishing an area that has very little cover.

With several good months of bass fishing left here in the Midwest, you can now grab some tubes and take em for a swim!