Tube in Worm Revistited E-mail
Wednesday, 07 July 2010 00:00

Several years back I was introduced to a deadly kayak fishing technique, the Tube in Worm (TnW). Over the past few years I’ve been fishing out of the area a lot and while in the area I’ve used other methods. The 6th Annual JBay Tournament reminded me just how effective a technique the TnW is. On Friday of the event I was chatting with a couple guys who caught 35 stripers between them on the rig while most people fishing that day only managed bluefish. When I was originally introduced to the TnW it was early August and my buddy JoeV caught over 30 bass that sultry morning.  Speaking with another friend he told me last summer he did very well in the western Sound using it, also in August. A few years back I spent a few days at Cuttyhunk with Mike Laptew. He’s an underwater videographer and photographer. He wanted to get some kayak fishing shots. Mike snorkels and acts as a bird dog in the water spotting fish. The problem was things were off and he didn’t spot any stripers. I followed him towing a TnW and managed two nice bass. Mike said I pulled those fish out of the ether. That’s the power of the rig. I attended the Striper Shootout, held in Salem, MA and things were a bit slow. Again it was the ticket to catching a lot of fish. Last this past November I joined the crew from the NY KFA on a trip to the Cement Ships at Kiptopeke. A few of the guys decided to try the Bay Bridge and wanted to use the TnW. At the local bait shop there weren’t any sandworms but and the folks there told the guys the TnW didn’t work in these parts saying those northern techniques don’t work here. So they substituted with a Gulp! Sandworm and John landed a 49” striper. Ironically the bait shop was having a striper tournament over the weekend and the biggest bcarl4x4 with a 2009  JBay weakass was 38 pounds. John’s fish would have easily won the contest, so much for a Yankee fishing methods on Dixie bass. The rig works.

To refresh your memory the TnW consists of a surgical tube that’s rigged to spin. On the end is a piece of bait, usually a sandworm. To prevent the spinning tube from twisting the line most fishermen use either some high quality swivels or a rudder. When using a rudder I like to have it two feet above the tube. Rudders come in a few forms. The most common being a simple plastic one. The first rigs we got from JoeV had a plastic rudder in the system.

The TnW is essentially and attractor lure to get the fishes attention. Then they smell the bait and that triggers the strike. Sandworms are the most common bait put on the hook but bloods can be used too. I often call the TnW a sandworm delivery system. Guys have been using Gulp with good success too and it has worked for me. Carl 4x4, a TnW maker, makes a TnW he calls the stinky. It has material at the end. You fill the tube with a fish oil (can be bunker, shrimp, crab, whatever you prefer) and it leaves a scent trail in the water. It’s very convenient as bait isn’t always available and can be a hassle. Besides it gets expensive. The spinning tube gets the fishes attention and then they smell the bait. It is very effective and unlike many forms of bait fishing i The bait shop said the stripers  wouldn't take a TnW, yeah right. t isn’t passive. Some people cast the rig off of jetties and structure but I don’t find it very practical from a kayak.  In a kayak the technique is to troll. It’s a terrific search presentation because it allows you to cover a lot of water.

As to tackle anything will do but I suggest leaning well to the heavy side. That first day with JoeV I watched him lose two very big bass because his gear couldn’t keep those bass out of the rocks. I learned this lesson the hard way a couple weeks later using the rig for the first time. Joey, Doug and I were fishing Montauk at night when I hooked a fish that I was helpless to control. The fish took a lot of line on the first run, stopped, probably laughed, and then went on a second run and broke me off in the rocks. Now I use heavy braid, preferring 65 pound or heavier. I like a rod with some muscle too - something that can control a big fish. I go back and forth between spin and conventional gear. It you’re fishing shallow water a spin outfit is preferable. That’s because you’re going to want to cast the TnW to get it away from the kayak. Conventions aren’t as easy to cast. In deeper water it doesn’t matter. When using spin gear I prefer a 4500 sized reel and it’s usually teamed up with an Ugly Stik BWS1100, which is 8 feet and rated 1-4 oz. When using a conventional I use an Avet SX and a Tsunami rod, also eight feet.

I make my own rigs and mine is a modular system. That way I can replace any of the components. There are a couple reasons I suggest doing this. Hooks can and will rust out so I can replace the hook without destroying the rig. While the tubing is tough, bluefish also love the rig and eventually they will destroy it so the ability to replace the tube is nice. When I want the rig to run shallow I use a plastic rudder but at times it’s necessary to get deep. A couple days after the 6th JBay tourney a few of us hit the bay targeting the big tide runner weakfish.  Unfortunately we didn’t find any and I think the bright sunshine was the reason. We marked plenty of fish in the channels but were only catching the occasional bluefish. George trolled two rigs and on one he replaced his rudder with a T-man rig, which is a wire rudder frame that allows barrel sinkers to be placed on it. This way you can control the depth. I had read online about the rigs and had made up a bunch of my own. As soon as George put one on he started banging bass. He got over a dozen to 33”. When George caught up to Eddie and me he told us of his success. I had several of my homemade T-Men in my TnW kit so I put one on and gave another to Eddie. We both started getting fish. Unfortunately the bluefish started getting thick but we did manage some nice bass and I even got a doormat fluke. Between the tube and the rudder there’s a leader of about two feet in length. I prefer heavy line and usually use 80 pound fluorocarbon or 100 pound mono. Why so heavy?  That’s because when there’s structure around bass are going to head for it and even the heavy tackle might not prevent them from doing so. On that Cuttyhunk trip with Mike I had a fish fray my 80 pound leader and curl off half of it. With it sliced in half I effectively had 40 pound which was enough line left to land the 18 pound bass. If I had started with 40 pound it would have resulted in a lost fish and tube.

I have tubes in a variety of colors but haven’t found it to make much of a difference. My first tubes were burgundy red and it is the most common color. I also carry chartreuse and bubblegum pink. When I first learned about the TnW it was said to work great for Tuna and all sorts of species. I think I’m going to have to do some more experimenting with it and see what else succumbs to this fish catcher.

 

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