Trolling Perfect Tubes Over Structure
Structure – Slow Speeds – Large Lure Offering
The Lure: My “go-to” in heavy structure is usually a Hogy Perfect Tube. I like tubes in general because they have a slow and seductive ‘wobble’ as they swim through the water, similar to that of an eel or a giant sea worm. Speaking of sea worms, tubes are most deadly when tipped with a sea worm or fish bite’s strip.
Ever notice that one tube in your collection fishes better than another even though they are the same make, model and color? It’s because there was something about the wobble that presented the lure in a way that the fish wanted to see it. Hogy actually took one of “those tubes” and pre-formed a stainless steel helix-shaped spring-steel frame that is guaranteed to give the tube a “perfect” wobble, hence the name.
The VMC Siwash is needle-sticky sharp and the hook up ratio is off the charted. The hook is connected with stainless steel window sash chin that won’t let you down after a number of bluefish. The most popular colors are wine and black, especially for low light conditions. Pink and orange are best trolled in bright, day time conditions. Regardless of the colors used, all tubes should be topped with a seaworm or a Fish Bite to help seal the deal. Think of the tube as a giant billboard – it’s the large size that draws the stripe in. But, keep in mind that a tube’s slow trolling speed gives a leery striper a good look. The extra teaser on the tail helps seal the deal, especially in day time conditions.
The Hogy Perfect Tube comes in a variety of sizes but I prefer the 24” model. My theory on the big size it is more visible from far away distance and also big end juicy enough where the “return on energy” is high enough where it is worth the extra energy to go and eat it. Many inexperienced striper anglers are intimidated by the tube’s large size but trust me, its not too big.
Structure: Striped bass are creatures of opportunity, particularly big ones and will tend to hang out in areas that will hold a food chain or create some sort of disturbance where bait is easily ambushed. This means rips, rocks, boulders, mussel beds, shorelines and drop offs; are all great places to target. The tube is always a safe bet trolled along the bottom, it’s rare that a striper will refuse a perfectly presented tube. Slow and low tipped with a juicy sea worm is the name of the game. The tube is fished so slowly, allowing it to wobble, seemingly in slow motion. I’d say around 2kts. The slow moving tube will look like a giant sea worm that has lost its way, a striper favorite.
The best part of fishing heavy structure because you always have some sort of anchor to hold fish in the area often a big loaner striped bass. When fishing heavy structure such as boulder fields, you need fewer signs to validate the spot as there is almost always a chance to find a scavenging striper in the area. (Often a BIG one.) The other thing I like about trolling in or around structure is that structure produces all season long; once you have discovered a piece of structure that “always” produces for you, you have a spot that you can head for without any reports.
Trolling Strategy: If the current is light, I troll the tube both up and down tide but if the current is heavy, I will always troll the tube with the tide. It will be difficult to get deep enough with the tube on lead core trolling against the tide in 2kts or more of current. I will take the boat in and out of gear to watch my speed and always drop to targets on the fish finder. Tubes emerging off the bottom when the boat is reengaged is often when the rod folds over. Bumping in and out of gear while trolling tube is standard operating procedure on my boat. This technique is known as troll scanning.
Do not set the hook; rather let the boat set the hook. Stripers will often grab the tube at the head and will slide their way down to the hook. A hook set motion during this process will pop the tube out of the stripers mouth.