Tube the Tough Weeds
Editor's Note: Chad Brauer of Osage Beach, Missouri, son of famed fishing pro Denny Brauer, has grown up in a fishing family. Brauer can't remember a time when he hasn't fished for bass and hardly recalls a time when he hasn't fished competitively. Brauer, a Strike King pro for the past six years, has made a name for himself on the professional bass-fishing circuit.
Question: Tell me about a time that the flipping tube saved your day of fishing.
Answer: I was fishing a tournament in Florida on Lake Toho-Kissimmee in the grass, which is brown grass that sticks out of the water about a foot or so and looks like a hay field. I was fishing the edge of this grass, catching bass on a jerk bait and a small Strike King spinner bait. This tournament was in the early spring, and the bass hadn't moved up to the shallow water yet to spawn. I'd caught a few fish but not the kind and the size of bass I needed to do well in the tournament.
I decided the biggest bass had probably moved to the thickest part of the grass where very few anglers could reach them. I tried flipping worms and jigs, but I wasn't having very much luck. So, I decided to try Strike King's white Flip-N-Tube with a 1/8-ounce lead on the front. I was fishing with 20-pound-test line and casting the tube to the back of the weeds. I worked the tube back across the top of the grass, much like you would fish a Johnson spoon.
The reason I put the weight on the tube was to get the tube down in the grass just a little. I wanted the bait to be able to move along the surface, so that when I dropped my rod tip the tube would fall about 6 inches. Then when I popped it up, the tube would come back to the surface. By working the bait really erratically, I caught three or four keeper bass but didn't develop a real strong pattern using the tube in practice.
On the first day of the tournament, I went downriver and started flipping a jig but only caught one keeper bass. I thought about the tube pattern and remembered I'd caught several keeper bass using this technique on Lake Toho where the launch site was. I immediately went right back through the lock and back to the grassy area where I'd previously fished the tube. I only had 45 minutes left to fish on the first day of the tournament. Once again I started fishing the tube through grass and caught a limit of bass that weighed 13 pounds, putting me in the top 20 of the tournament.
The following day of the tournament I decided to stick with the swimming-tube tactic. I not only finished the previous day with a limit of bass but also caught the biggest bass of the day, which weighed 8 pounds. That fish along with the others I caught weighed a total of 20 pounds, and I moved up to second place in the tournament.
Two other tournament anglers were fishing the same stretch of grass, one flipping a jig and one fishing a spinner bait. However, neither one had caught many bass. I believe the bass in this area of the lake had never seen the swimming-tube tactic, which was why they were biting so aggressively.
Question: Tell me about the tube you were using.
Answer: I was fishing with a 4 1/2-inch-long Strike King Flip-N-Tube on a No. 4/0 Mustad Tube Hook with a 1/8-ounce screw-type bullet weight. When you fish dense grass where most anglers fish floating worms, flip a jig, or use a spinner bait, why don't you try swimming the Strike King Flipping Tube? You'll be giving the bass different-looking baits than they're accustomed to seeing and often catch the fish other anglers aren't catching. Also, in any areas where you can fish a spoon, try the Strike King Flipping Tube.