Angler Education

Pitching Tubes to Riprap Banks

Reservoir smallmouths often congregate close to shore along riprap and rocky breaks into deeper water during early spring. The rocky shallows warm early, drawing bait. Though this is typically considered to be a feeding movement not connected to the spawn, spawning habitat will be nearby and smallmouths might simply be enjoying the warmer water because they tend to be active, but they will not chase much until the water warms (at least) into the high-40oF range. A subtle 3- to 4-inch tube is often the best bait, with a wire-guard jig head inserted. With the plastic of the tube surrounding the lead of the jig head, it will work its way out of rocky crevices much more easily?and fall into such crevices less often. Lift slowly, then drop the rod tip and let the tube fall vertically from one rocky ledge to the next down to 15 feet or so in early spring.