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Tube Jigs - The catch-all lure for all seasons
By Marc Wisniewski

Thirty years ago, two brothers invented a soft plastic lure with a hollow body and a tail full of tentacles that looked like an over active squid.  Garry and Bobby Garland, no longer with us any more, tuned fishing upside down with this invention.  The plastic lure called the Gitzit didn’t look like anything that  swam in freshwater and not too much in salt water either.  Or did it?

I didn’t look like anything, or did it look like everything.  Everything a fish wanted to eat.  I still can’t say what fish think they are eating when they gobble up a tube, but they sure do.  It has become one of the hottest lures in history for so many game fish in both fresh and salt water.  

Hop it along the bottom and it could be a crawfish, a goby, a sculpin, or any other bottom dwelling creature.  Swim it at any depth from one to thirty feet and it can resemble nearly any baitfish that swims.  Does it resemble a baitfish, crawfish, or any other prey perfectly?  No.  Does it seem to matter?  No, it doesn’t seem to matter at all.  It’s one of those baits that has an action that makes fish strike and can be fished nearly everywhere.

The key to the desired action lies deep within the bait.  It’s about the guts.  The jig head inside will determine what brings this tube to life.  Do you want to swim it, dart it, snap jig it, flip it under a dock, or crawl it along the bottom, Do-it Molds will have a jig head that will help you catch fish with tube tails,  whether it’s crappies to Chinook salmon or anything in between you are after.

The basic principal of the tube jig is to insert it completely into the head of the tube tail and then pierce the body to allow the hook eye to expose itself from the inner cavity.  The bait has a very clean look with the lead head buried inside.  Tube bodies vary from one-inch to five inches long which cover most fish from panfish to Muskies.  Many much larger tubes are now available for Muskies but the heads we are discussing today were designed for the normal sized tubes.  

Let’s start with the little guys.  One-thirty second, and one-sixteenth are the workhorse for the panfish world.  One inch and one and a half inch tubes are available in so many colors that it is mind boggling.  But ask any crappie pro and they will tell you that they probably have most of those colors along to temp this finicky and fickle opponent.  Throughout the Midwest, the tiny tubes are number one for crappies and steady producers for perch and bluegills.  The Tube-S and Tube-TA molds are both multi-cavity tubes that will produce both weights that are used for panfish.  The Tube-S is the traditional straight body.  The Tube-TA has a tapered body that allows you to speed load the jig into the tail without retying the line.  Simply insert the hook where the eye will end up and slip the whole body through the hole.  In situations where changing colors is important, this may be the mold for you. 

These two molds take the basic Eagle Claw 570-575 which are great for most panfish applications.  But anyone who fishes Steelhead in the Great Lakes region will also want to take notice of this mold.  One and a half inch pearl tube bodies are absolutely deadly on Steelhead in the tributaries.  Plain, or tipped with a wax worm, this bait works excellent bounced through deep holes, or drifted below a float.  But the 575 won’t hold up to Steelhead.  But, a 635 or 630 in a size 6 fit into that mold make a little tube jig that will handle any rampaging Trout you will hook up.  These little tube molds have eight cavities so I modified one of each weight to fit the thicker hook.  

Let’s jump to the workhorse of the Tube Jig series, the one-eighth, one quarter, and three-eighths weights.  These are the sizes needed to fish the three to four inch tubes that will catch nearly any of the larger gamefish from Bass to Walleyes, to Pike to Great Lakes Trout and Salmon.  All of the weights are designed to accept hooks from 1/0 to 3/0.  The 1/0 should be used for two and one-half inch tubes.  The 2/0 and 3/0 hooks should be used for three inch tubes.  The four inch tubes need a 3/0 hook.  This flexibility allows you to cast a variety of weights and hook sizes to fit an array of tubes and fishing conditions.  Tube-M is the standard straight tube body in all three sizes.  Tube-TC makes five sizes within that range but features the tapered speed loading body.  These all take the standard 90 degree hook.

The Tube-TX is a twist on that.  It takes the 60 degree 410 or 413 hook.  This hook changes the action of the tube lure and makes it more weedless too.  I’d highly recommend this one for flipping under docks or dragging the bottom to simulate crawfish.  

Speaking of a twist, let’s talk about the Tube-G.  The Tube-G head also features a barbed collar to add a twister tail to the inside of the tube.  It’s the best of both worlds and a great bait to fish as a swim-bait.  Even if you don’t want to add a twister, the Tube-G mold also makes the two heaviest heads in the Do-It tube lure line up.  This one will make some one-half and three-quarter ounce heads for deep action or strong currents.  This head is very popular with fishermen seeking deep water Lake Trout whether its open water or through the ice.  Tubes can be fished vertically and have a great sweeping and searching action covering a six to eight foot radius.

Here again, these above-mentioned molds can be slightly modified to take a heaver hook like the 630 or 635.  This is required for use on bigger Pike, Muskies, and Great Lakes Trout and Salmon.  Those of you that fish the Great Lakes will want to discover the 3 to 4 inch pearl tube.  It is an awesome trout and salmon bait.

The one thing I would like to cover is scent.  The tube lure is the perfect vessel to add scent.  Thick scents like Pro-Cure Sticky Gel can be squirted into the cavity and last up to a half hour or more.  For thinner scents, add a little chenille or pipe cleaner to the shank to soak up the juices.  There are a lot of different scents available to match nearly any hatch.  Plain garlic or cod liver oil can be good for nearly anything.

Tubes have withstood the test of time.  After thirty years, this lure has caught nearly anything that swims.  With this great variety of Do-It Molds, you can produce nearly any head needed to fish this great lure most efficiently.  And as always, you can’t beat catching a fish on a lure that you made yourself.

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