I don’t use the 7” tube a lot, however, it has its place for me when bed fishing. During the spawn, this is a bait that can totally change a bass’s aggressiveness.
Several years ago I was paired with a Californian for a tournament on the Columbia. This was his first time fishing the Columbia River and he quizzes me what baits I’d be using. After showing him some 3 ½” tube baits, he pulls out a box of 7” tubes and tells me stories of catching giant largemouth in the California Delta. At the time, I thought they were ridiculous and I convinced myself not to bother fishing them. He never rigged one up, but with his success on the Delta, he had me interested. I eventually stumbled across some of these big tubes in a tackle shop and purchased a few.
Big Tube Lesson
While fishing a club tournament on Potholes in late April 2005, I stumbled on a pocket in Crab Creek with several 3+lb smallmouth on beds. A few of these smallmouth just wouldn’t cooperate. They were locked onto the bed, but regardless what I threw to them, they just wouldn’t bite. When the carp were nearby, the bass became quite aggressive towards the carp. When a carp would swim near the bed, the bass would repeatedly chase it off. If the carp swam too close to the bed, the bass would run nose first into the side of the carp, and even bite the carp’s fins. The smallmouth would nose down on the selection of tubes, worms and lizards I would toss on the bed, but just wouldn’t bite. Looking for a bait to mimic a carp, I pull out the biggest bait I had, which was a 7” tube. I initially rigged it with a lead head. Dropping this tube on the bed was as if I was fishing a totally different fish. Its attitude changed to aggressive and protective. The bass would repeatedly strike the giant tube but wouldn’t bite the hook. After rigging a stinger treble hook, and a couple of more casts, I hook and land this smallmouth. I repeated this routine on few more smallmouth to catch a winning bag for the tournament.
I have a routine set of baits I’ll use for the difficult bed protectors. If all else fails, it’s time to tie on a 7” Tube. This technique is saved as a last resort, since the hook up ratio is poor. Fortunately, the bass strike this bait several times once they get in the protection mode, and eventually get hooked up. Often, the large tube will get the bass aggressive, and you can follow up with your go-to bed bait.
Again, not a bait I routinely use, but it’s been very effective on the fatties that won’t bite your typical bed baits.