October tube tricks
October is prime time to open up your bag of tricks.
Smallmouth, largemouth, crappie, trout, salmon, steelhead and all of the esox family members are hungry and on the prowl. Many species congregate or school up at this time. Bass have moved into shallow cover again or moved tight to classic structure such as deep weed edges, inside turns on breaklines, creek channel turns, and to optimum positions on points and stump fields. Great Lakes trout and salmon have moved into harbors and rivers. Crappie gather on prime structure and cover.
Find one and you may find many more – and big ones, too! That’s the beauty of fall fishing!
October is time, too, to pull out one of the greatest shape-shifting baits of all, the tube jig!
The tube is one of the most versatile lures to hit the water, primarily because it can be used in so many ways and can resemble so many forage species, from crayfish to gobies to shad and emerald shiners!
Take a wide selection of colors and sizes (1.5-, 3- and 3.5-inch) Kalin’s Tubes to the water between now and ice up, and keep in mind these options:
Unweighted tubes – If you’re looking for a fresh look with an old reliable bait, get the lead out! An unweighted Kalin’s 3- or 3.5-inch Kalin’s Tube rigged weedless on an EWG hook becomes a great jerkbait alternative. The best part is, that you can work it on the edges of vegetation and between patches of grass and other cover on the flats with very few hang-ups. Start with a white tube. Twitch it, jerk it, and watch it work! Seeing a predator come out from hiding makes for an extraordinary sight fishing experience. But the mere sight of that white bait darting side to side will give you confidence in the unweighted tube no matter what colors you opt for later!
Brush pile crappie – “Specs” flip out over bite-size 1.5-inch Kalin’s Triple Threat Crappie Tubes worked around brush pile hangouts. On countless reservoirs, rivers and natural lakes across the country, the tiny tube becomes the bait of choice in fall. Have a bunch of match-the-hatch colors on hand to mimic preferred forage, but load up with “contrast” colors, too, to catch attention from a distance and to help fish find your tube in murky water. Pull out the light and ultralight tackle. Add the crappie tube to a light 1/32- to 1/8-ounce Kalin’s Triple Threat Wire Keeper Jig and count it down. Watch your line and be ready for the slightest tick or sign of resistance. Fish on!
Texas-rigged tube – A tube is a classic flipping and pitching bait, and its value holds – and often rises -- as water temperatures drop. Rig it Texas style with a bulletnose slip sinker. Be ready to employ a wide range of sinker weights to suit the conditions and the mood of the fish. Sometimes a fast-falling tube provokes a reaction strike. At other times, the tantalizing drop of a lightly weighted tube draws the subtle strike. Truly a rig and bait for all seasons!
Great Lakes smallmouth – Few serious smallmouth anglers head to North America’s big waters without a tube tied on at least one rod. A Kalin’s 3- or 3.5-inch tube on a 3/16- to 3/8-ounce tube jig is the bread-and-butter bait of Great Lakes bass fishing. For much of the season, it will out-produce every lure in your arsenal. But even when blade baits and dropshot rigs get hot in the fall, you will often get one or several more bass to bite on a tube when the action seems to have stalled.
Goby tube – One reason a tube produces so well with Great Lakes bronzebacks is that it often seems a dead ringer for their favorite menu item, the round goby. Try stuffing a football head jig in your tube. The bulging head will enhance the goby resemblance!
Tube ‘n float rig – Perhaps you have heard of the float ‘n fly, a rig featuring a hair jig beneath a finely tuned bobber. It’s a rig that excels in cold water for a wide range of species. But anglers who specialize in harbor fishing in Great Lakes ports substitute small tube jigs like the Kalin’s Triple Threat Crappie Tube for the hair jig when chasing big trout and salmon. Load up with light colors. Balance the jig size to the float. Add split shot if necessary to keep the float upright and sensitive to the most subtle of bites. It may be the best rig going for suspended harbor fish!