By Cal Kellogg
I enjoy trolling for trout from my Hobie Pro Angler 14, but at times whether I find a concentration of fish or just want to take a break from peddling, I like to loiter around a relatively small area either fish vertically or making short casts. I’ve found that tube style crappie jigs are ideal for this work.
There are few things that excite trout as much as an injured minnow. Now I’ve never spoken with a trout, but I’m pretty sure that that and injured minnow is what trout mistake a tube jig to be with its seductive dipping and darting action. Yet, the action a tube jig displays is only part of its charm as far as the trout are concerned.
Beyond its action a tube jig has a soft lifelike feel and the hollow body lends itself perfectly to being filled with one of the various Pro-Cure Super Gels. All of these factors add up to a bait that trout hit and hang on to.
When using tube jigs from a kayak I employ two basic approaches, casting or vertical jigging with the tube jig suspended beneath a slip bobber.
When casting and retrieving tubes, I like to work around areas of shoreline structure such as rocky drop offs and fallen trees. Typically, I cast the lure out and count it down a few feet before I begin the retrieve.
One of the key things to remember when retrieving a jig is not to overpower the lure. Give the lure a couple of light twitches and then wait a few seconds and then twitch it a bit more. Most strikes occur as the jig sinks, so it pays to keep an eye on the line and set the hook if you see the line jump or move in any unnatural way.
When teaming tube jigs with a slip bobber you’ll want to adjust, your bobber stop such that the lure will come to a rest at the depth which you suspect the trout are cruising. This can vary from 5 to 30 or more feet deep depending on the time of the year and the water temperature.
When working at depths beyond about 15 feet you’ll need to add some extra weight to the rig in the form of slip shot from 16 to 24 inches above the jig to get the rig down.
Working a jig beneath a slip bobber is a pretty simple proposition. You should start out by dead sticking the bait, without adding any action.
If that approach fails to produce, start giving the jig some subtle movement by wiggling the tip of your rod on a semi tight line. If this doesn’t produce you can get more aggressive by slowly reeling the jig upward several feet before lowering it back down to its original depth on a semi tight line.
In terms of color selection, I like to go with natural minnow imitating colors like pearl and smoke/glitter hues first and if those fail to attract trout, I’ll deploy the bright colored pink, orange and chartreuse stuff.
Over the years, I’ve used tubes from a number of different manufacturers and they will all catch fish, just remember to use plenty of scent. Not only does scent help trigger strikes, it also encourages the trout to hold onto the tube giving you that extra second or two to set the hook.