I’m hanging out in Buffalo, New York, this week doing a little pre-spawn smallmouth fishing on Lake Erie. The bass below weighed just over 5 pounds, and it was one of many that sucked up a YUM F2 Tube yesterday. I was fishing this same bait around 3 o’clock when I set up on a fish that bent my rod like no smallie had bent it all day. That’s because what nailed the tube was actually a big steelhead, which went airborne 50 feet away and shook loose. Never before had I hooked a steelhead on a tube, but it is just one more nod to my theory that tubes are truly the bucktails of the next generation.


What makes the classic round-head bucktail jig so versatile is not just that it can be fished many different ways, but if you tweak the color, it can mimic almost any kind of forage in the world, from baitfish, to crabs, to shrimp, to crayfish, to leeches, and beyond. Tubes are another lure that can make that same claim.

These days, you can find tubes in any size and color you could possibly want. There are also tons of rigging methods that let you fish them anywhere in the water column. I’ve used tubes to mimic squid for weakfish and false albacore, hellgrammites for trout and bass, and chubs for big pike. I know guides that use giant tubes for tuna and tiny crappie tubes for bonefish. In fact, I can’t think of a gamefish species off the top of my head that I couldn’t catch on a tube.

Care to make a case for another lure being the modern equivalent of the bucktail jig?