Tube Fishing for Fall Bass

Tube Fishing for Fall Bass | A Breakdown with Zach Soulliere

Zach Souilliere grew up around Port Huron where he went to Saginaw Valley College and played ice hockey. After college he started working for a healthcare company, recruiting nurses for in-home pediatric care. But since he no longer played hockey, Souilliere “didn’t really have a lot to do and found a lot of free time”.  

Zack is an angler who loves chasing smallmouth. He prefers to fish the smaller rivers near his home in Bay City, Michigan; but is no stranger to places like Grand Traverse Bay in Traverse City or Lake St. Clair outside of Detroit (arguably, the best smallmouth lake in the states).  His passion for fishing really came through as he explained how he uses a “tube” to catch smallmouth and big largemouth.

When I first started, I fished spinnerbaits, frogs, and senkos. After I got into it a little more, I wanted to try other baits and found that a tube could replace a lot of other baits. I catch fish on senkos, but I catch more fish with tubes; I think I get better reactions – at least up here in Michigan. I learn toward tubes because of the way they move through the water, the different ways you can fish them and there are a lot of color variations you can use.

Tube Fishing for Fall Bass(1)

Zach walked through some techniques he uses when fishing a tube.

Tube Fishing for Fall Bass | As a Pseudo Ned Rig

There are times of the year where they will eat anything… but early in the year, they will not.  That is the tough thing about St. Clair, I know a lot of guys don’t like ned rigs or finesse fishing, but Lake St. Clair is just one of those lakes. If the presentation isn’t exactly what they want, you are not going to catch fish.

Every year I have been there I have caught fish on tubes, running them different ways. I like to take a ned head and jam it up inside the tube to hide that hook then just bouncing it across the weed lines.  

Tube Fishing for Fall Bass(2)

If it is a rocky bottom, I am going to work it like a crawfish. Bumping it across the bottom, jumping it every so often.

This rig can be virtually weedless, allows you to keep a small profile, and can be used for bedding fish – or for fish that are feeding.  

Tube Fishing for Fall Bass | As a Swimbait

I fished the Border Classic a couple of years ago and on day one, threw a white tube with a red underskirt. I had rigged it with a weighted swimbait hook and bounced it over the weeds and put up 93-inches. Day two came and I couldn’t catch a single fish with that lure. Everyone around me was catching fish, but I couldn’t. I caught three largemouth.  I asked the guy fifty yards from me, who was catching fish all day what he was using.  He said “A tube, but it was sand-colored today.”  That’s how finicky those fish can be.

One of the things I have really worked on over the last couple of years is bait presentation and matching baitfish.

Tube Fishing for Fall Bass(3)

I’d recommended the Trokar Weighted Swimbait hooks for this type of fishing. You can throw them on a weighted hook and keep them right down on the bottom; since you can make them weedless.

Tube Fishing for Fall Bass | As a Weightless Rig

With tubes, I fish a lot of rivers. Up by me, there is Saginaw bay… the closest inland lake to me is about thirty-five minutes away from me. But there are about eight rivers that are within fifteen to twenty minutes. In July, I will go out on the Rifle River that dumps into Saginaw Bay and take a 3/0 hook with no weight on it at all and just throw it under trees and let it sink. 

Tube Fishing for Fall Bass(4)

The smallmouth just go crazy on the tubes up there. Especially on those rivers when you can find those deep drop areas with little current, they love ‘em. If there is a current, I will throw a weighted hook on, but if it is one of those pools where it is standing still, I will throw that tube under overhanging banks and trees and let it sink as slow as possible. I have watched fish come from five feet away and watch it falling for a minute, then take it. 

Last year my biggest river smallmouth came on the technique the first week of July; 21 and ¾ inches.

Tube Fishing for Fall Bass |As a Topwater Bait

 Frogs just don’t work for me, I struggle with frogs. With that in mind, I found a way to make a tube work for me in areas most anglers would normally throw a frog.

I throw it weightless into lily pads and can work it on top, or let it fall between the pads. I like the four-inch tubes with extra appendages; I take one of those appendages and use it to make the hook weedless. 

Tube Fishing for Fall Bass(5)

This allows you to let that tube drop just below the lily pad. These are heavier, and it will run just below those lily pads, so you don’t get hung up on top, but it causes enough commotion that you are going to pull fish from areas. 

It isn’t like a frog, so you get a better hook-up ratio… a lot of guys say “why not use a buzzbait or a frog” and I tell them I  can make that tube move very differently in the water. I can let it sink, then jerk it like a jerk bait for a second… once it gets to the top of the water… let it sink again… through the weeds and repeat all the way back to the kayak.

Tube Fishing for Fall Bass | Zach’s Expertise

This Michigan angler spent a lot of time learning and observing. Working on presentation. 

I’ve done well on everything from Yum Tubes to a guy doing custom colors and baits for me last year. It seems that presentation is really more critical. I like fishing them on rock pile areas or weed lines. As I said, I fish mostly rivers, but there are times during the year when they shut down the rivers for the walleye spawn to keep people from snagging them. During that time, and during the spawn, I fish lakes. Then I go back to rivers because the fish spawn later in the year.

So, if you have never fished with tubes or are just interested, give these techniques a try. I am not going to kid anyone, since the conversation, I have tried a couple of the techniques he told me about down here in Tennessee. My fishing buddies would look into my kayak; “is that a tube you have tied on!”…well, yes it was. And they work. Even here in the south too. I haven’t tried them on a drop shot rig (yet), but Zach tells me this can be productive also!

A Little More About Zach Soulliere 

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I had never fished growing up”, so he took some worms out to ponds and decided to teach himself. As he progressed, he could see fish jumping in the rivers, and soon found kayaking as a way to reach those fish. Then he got involved in tournaments. He and his wife Jenna, who works in Autism care, found that they enjoyed the sport as a couple.  

Zack is part of the team for Smisek’s Baits. He and his wife are both in Hobies; Zach also teaming up with Fireball Outdoor Products, Stretching Lines Apparel and Robohawk.

This article was contributed by an ANGLR Expert

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Mike Cheatham


May 2016, sat in my first kayak. October 2016, skunked in my first tournament. Spring of 2017, placed 11th in the KBF Open and have chased the addiction since. Fishing is the one place my mind gets quiet, the place I have always found peace. To do it competitively with a great bunch of folks is just a bonus. To have an opportunity to combine my love for fishing with writing...I feel like I have finally found a place in this world! I do have the support of a wonderful woman who understands my need to be on the water; she supports my dreams is truly good.

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