When bass suspend under deep docks in early spring or late fall, making the right presentation can be tough.
Heavy baits tend to fall past the fish. Crankbaits, jerkbaits and topwater plugs are difficult to get where the fish are holding and even more difficult to keep in the strike zone.
Edwin Evers has a solution. The seven-time Bassmaster Classic contender turns to a Gitzit-type tube, and he fishes it like a jerkbait whenever he finds bass beneath docks in more than 8 feet of water.
"My first option is to use a spinnerbait or swim a jig, but a lot of times the fish will follow that bait out or maybe nip at it without taking the bait," he explained.
"I've found that a tube bait is a better solution and often triggers more strikes."
For this application, Evers rigs the tube with a small jighead stuffed into the hollow body with the hook exposed. He prefers 3/16-ounce jigs. But if the docks are built over extremely deep water and the fish are suspended farther down, he'll go heavier.
"It's important not to Texas rig the bait because the jighead provides a more erratic action when the bait falls. That's the key to this technique."
He skips or flips the bait under the dock then raises the tip high to keep the bait from falling too fast. He winds a couple of turns and jerks the bait from side to side, which gives the appearance of baitfish trying to flee.
You may have to experiment with how deep you allow the bait to fall to reach the optimum strike zone, explained the Oklahoma pro.
"The bait scoots along then dives and flutters down. I try to jerk it to near the top where I can see it, let it flutter out of sight momentarily, then repeat the action."
Some anglers use a similar technique with soft jerkbaits or stick- worms, but Evers says the tube can be worked faster. The tube looks more like a small baitfish and an easier meal.
"I don't have the patience to fish Flukes or Slug-Go-type baits, so I use tubes instead. And because of the way the bait is weighted and falls, it gives a little more erratic action and can trigger more impulsive strikes."
Tube jigs fashioned with light wire hooks can be a better choice because some of the strikes occur when the rod is held high and there's less leverage on the hook set. The light wire hook, he explained, penetrates easier and faster.
Choose tube colors to match the water clarity and the local forage.
As for tackle selection with this presentation, Evers recommends 14-pound-test fluorocarbon, a 7-foot rod (medium-heavy) and a high-speed baitcasting reel.
"You need the faster gear ratio to move the bait and catch up with the line when the fish run the bait toward you," Evers offered.