Summer Bass on the Tube

The dog days of summer have arrived and with the water temperatures quickly moving into the high seventy and eighty degree range the day time bite seems to be almost non-existent. The unseasonably cooler temperatures fluctuating this season have left some anglers scratching their heads wondering where the fish went. The early spawn in the mid-south did not coincide with the calendar and signs in nature that many had grown accustomed to. This season more than before the phrase, “fish the condition not the calendar” has been reiterated by successful anglers trying to help others catch fish. However there are those that are still attempting spring patterns even though the fish have been in summer mode for a few weeks now. This doesn’t mean that anglers should give up, lay on the sofa under the AC and watch WFN, that’s what DVR’s are for. Bass will be caught all summer long day and night and there is a secret weapon anglers have been using for some time: the tube bait.

Mike Iaconelli design, the Berkley Havoc Smash Tube
Mike Iaconelli design, the Berkley Havoc Smash Tube

In a typical summer pattern in most lakes, smallmouth bass can be found along remnant river channel ledges. The deep water smallmouth of summer will be likely to gather near rocks adjacent to deep water drop offs of the old river channels. These fish can be taken on jig n pig, drop shot, Carolina rigged soft plastics and tube baits, which are a very popular choice either on a lead head jig or rigged Texas style. Later in the summer, anglers know the most productive time to fish for summer smallmouth is on the night bite. At night the smallmouth will move shallow from the deep water to feed on rocky main lake points and secondary points in relation to the deeper coves. Anglers fish with slow rolled dark colored spinnerbaits, Jig and pigs, while others turn to tube baits for the excitement of the night smallmouth. Smallmouth bass will continue on this summer pattern until the falls transition and cooling water temperatures drop below back down below seventy degrees toward the end of October in the southeast.


Anglers that successfully use tube baits, swear by them, and with today’s tube baits being available in several sizes, colors scents and styles to meet the needs of many conditions. Companies such as Berkley and Strike King produce tube baits in what seems to be an endless selection. Tube baits and a jig head combination, or a drop shot rig, or Texas rigged with and without a weight. The tube bait can be fished as a baitfish or drug along or drifted as a crawfish imitation giving them versatility to be used almost 365 days a year.


Tubes can be customized with adding scent and rattles to enhance the attraction of their design. They mimic gobies, crawfish, minnows and a variety of other creatures that bass make their feast. Somehow anglers still tend to overlook tubes when the bite is slow. One technique that will catch bass in the heat of the summer is to simply drift the boat with the current or wind, while dragging a tube through the rocks in areas with drop offs to deeper water. In summer the smallmouth will remain deep, and close to structure. A or tube on a lead-head for summer smallies is hard to beat. Drift and drag is an effective river technique that is popular across the country.

Tube-X by Vertical Lures
Tube-X by Vertical Lures

Innovative soft plastic baits like the Tube-X by Vertical Lures have expanded the capability of the tubes that have been part of angler’s fishing tackle for a while now. This bait can be flipped, pitched with the solid head, hollow body and action of this hybrid tube make ideal for many techniques even shaky head and Carolina rigging. Slip a rattle into the hollow body for a ‘click clack’ sound fish can’t resist.

Tubes are not just for smallmouth, largemouth like them as well in the summer patterns. Anglers across the country been doing very well catching largemouth with tubes this summer. If you have never fished for bass with these versatile baits you could be missing out on what could be the best day of fishing for you and the “best thing on the tube all summer.”

Happy Fishing!

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