The Iowa Tube Rig
Introducing a new technique to use on a plastic bait that is in, or should be in, your tackle box right now. Tube rigs have been used for years very effectively with the subtle action of the skirt drawing in the bite of record bluegill. Whether mounted on a jig head or with a tube jig head inserted into it for a smaller profile, the tube has proven itself to work in many situations and conditions and with many different species of fish. The Iowa Tube Rig is standing the tube jig rig on its head, literally, to make this simple bait even more effective and versatile.
Rigged correctly the Iowa Tube Rig has the tube mounted in reverse on a ball head jig so that the skirt of the tube is pressed against the head making it flare out. The collar of the jig head is enough to fill the interior of the tube and hold it from slipping off of the hook. The empty area of the tube can be left or filled with prepared bait such as Berkley’s Crappie Nibblers. Depending on the length of the shank on the hook, it will either be run out of the end of the tube or the side so that the body is parallel to the shank when mounted. The bluegills do not seem to even notice the hook coming out of the tube. With the skirt whipping around, I think they believe that it is just another insect appendage. I will even sometimes tip the hook with a prepared bait like a Berkley Gulp Maggot that can stand up to repeated casting without constantly falling off.
As the Iowa Tube Rig is pulled in, the skirt jumps into action and wraps itself around the body of the tube as the water rushed past, then springs back around the head when paused. This gives the typically subtle tube new life and incredible action with little effort from the angler. It imitates the legs of an aquatic insect jetting through the water springing back and forth as it moves. The dynamics of the water passing over the reversed skirt give the Iowa Tube Rig a very erratic behavior making the tube dart back and forth while being retrieved. All of this adds to the action and appeal with very little required of the angler to induce this action.
The design of the Iowa Tube Rig is very similar to some bluegill flies that are deadly near the surface of the pond. But this rig has the advantage of being easier to rig in the field, not requiring special fly gear to use and can be fished at depth due to the weight of the jig head.
I have been using the Iowa Tube Rig for some time and have found it to be very effective and exciting to use. I haven’t ever heard of or seen any other angler using this set up, so in the tradition of the Texas and Carolina Rigs, I claim this rig for the state of Iowa. Please use the Iowa Tube Rig and best of luck to you.