Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tubes, Tubes & Tubes

Jim Byler only fishes a tube the first 12 months of the year. In truth he throws a tube less during mid-summer, but that's because he gives bass fishing a bit of a break during that time, when most of the best action occurs at night in the Ozarks. If Byler is bass fishing, he probably has a tube tied on, and there's a very good chance it's the bait he is throwing.

Nathaniel and I spent this afternoon fishing Norfork Lake with Byler, who lives in Mountain Home and grew up in the Ozarks and spends a lot of time on Norfork and Bull Shoals with a fishing rod in his hand.  We mad a few casts with jerkbaits, but the 40 or so bass we caught all bit tubes, cast toward the bank and worked down rocky slopes with pulls or small hops.

Specifically, Byler likes a 4-inch green pumpkin/black fleck tube, and he rigs it with a 3/8-ounce jighead on the inside. He pours his own heads to get the specific 4/O hook, round head and weedguard he prefers. He spools spinning tackle with 20-pound braid and attaches 7 or 8 feet of 8-pound fluorocarbon leader to the end with a double uni knot. He typically works the bait with quick, slight hops that don't pull the bait more than a couple of inches off the bottom.

Byler doesn't stray from his tube plan or vary his presentations for clear or stained water, for different black bass species or based on weather conditions. He simply alters the kinds of banks he fishes. No matter where he starts a day, he always watches for common denominators in the places the fish are hitting and focuses his efforts accordingly. Today, main-lake points absolutely were the deal. We started the afternoon fishing many types of areas, but by day's end we were running from point to
point because that was where almost all our fish were coming from.

I learned a lot about tube fishing today, and had a big time catching a bunch of bass, including some nice smallmouths.

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