Tube Trailers – Advanced Bass Fishing Techniques

Modified Tubes – The Tube Trailer Effect

This subtle change to your tube can yield big results in your catch.  To date, field tests have shown the darker colors to be effective for largemouth and the lighter ones for smallies.  Nothing is written in stone here but one thing has been universal…once you get on a bite with tube trailers, take the trailer off and the bite stops.  Put the trailer on and you’re back on aggressive fish.  You will get a different bite by adding color and action to a tube.

The first tube trailer prototypes appeared in 2000 and you could find them in the Xtreme Bass Tackle catalog.  Since then more companies have jumped on board but most have been conservative in their color selection.  This is for a good reason: anglers have yet to discover what an effective tool this bait can be.

I’m drifting an 11 foot flat in Lake St. Clair (Michigan) and we are routinely hooking up with 2 lb. smallmouth which is fun, but it ain’t gonna cut it at tournament time.  My partner continues to do the “same old, same old” while I slip a white tube trailer onto my 4 inch Canadian Mist tube.  Now that is quite a contrast!  Immediately, I begin picking up the bigger fish in the school.  Coincidence?

On the next trip we found ourselves fishing Grassy Island just outside of the St. Clair River channels.  This island is composed of primarily sand and bulrushes with long shallow flats that give way to a 3 foot to 8 foot break with a weedline.  Anyone who has fished with me knows that I am a real fan of the inside (shallower) break for smallies, but nothings cookin’ here.  I insert a dark melon pepper tube trailer into the same 4 inch Canadian Mist tube and go three for three with smallies in the 2 to 3 lb. class; Made something out of nothing.

Have you ever been hot-to-go on a school of bass only to find the bite shut off like someone threw a switch?  It’s like the smallies said, “Play time is over!”  One of my top tricks is to switch to a different flake color in my plastic baits.  I did this one time over a two hour period; switched six times after the bite “shut off” and continued to catch fish.  My partner, who was throwing our “top” color couldn’t get bit again.  If you’re throwing red flake, switch to green flake, throwing green, switch to blue flake, throwing blue, switch to purple and so on.  Tube trailers accomplish the same effect by adding a trailer color to any color tube you’re using.

Customers have called over the years and confirmed my personal experiences.  It’s no magic bullet but once bass start eating a modified tube they dial in on it.  If you take the trailer off and the bite falls off too.  This has been true for both largemouth and smallmouth.  Once you see the two tendrils swinging off the back of your bait, you too will be convinced this bait can help to put better fish in the boat.

Rigging Your Tube Trailer

Tube Trailers can be easily inserted into any tube that you are already using.  Start with your tube rigged normally with a standard tube head.

Put the jig hook point through the center of the nub of the tube trailer.  Thread the nub of the tube trailer along the hook shank and into the tube.

Fully rigged tube with tube trailer.

When To Use Tube Trailers

I use tube trailers primarily as an upgrade bait.  Every season I test this.  When I’m catching average sized bass with a tube I’ll switch gears and attach a tube trailer to the tube and upgrade my catch.  Tube trailers haven’t let me down since 2000.  My staff and I use them under tournament conditions.

Early season bass respond well to tube baits that are two-tone in nature.  One effective method to use is dipping the tube tail in a dye.  Usually a red, orange or chartreuse color.  tube trailers accomplish the same thing and add action at the same time.

Post-spawn bass tend to school up and eventually go on a feeding binge.  There is a tendency for these aggressive fish to ignore natural tones and go after bright colors and baits with extra action.  Tube trailers allow both options and allow you to continue to use the same bait and presentation you are used to.

Summer bite bass become very color selective.  This is a time when a color trigger can make all the difference and keep you on a spot instead of “leaving fish to go find fish.”  Tube trailers come in a variety of colors and it won’t take long to find what works best on your body of water.

Fall pattern bass school up and tube trailers become a strong option once again.

How To Get Started

I don’t use tube trailers 100% of the time but I have customers who do.  Here is how I would recommend that someone get started using tube trailers and building confidence:  Work an area until you have caught all of the weight you believe is available.  It could be a 2 lb. average, it could be a 3 lb. average or more.  Before you leave the spot insert a tube trailer and make some casts.  If you upgrade your catch it will establish confidence in the bait and presentation.  You will be on your way to getting the most weight out of the area and the most out of a presentation you already use.

XBT on Ebay (click here)

(c) Wayne Carpenter

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