If there is a lure that produces fish and sometimes monster fish, we have to look at tubes. Tubes are simply surgical tubing cut to lengths from 8" to over 3 feet. A basic tube will have wire thru the body, a hook at the end, and a barrel swivel tied off on the end. There are many variations of tubes with spinning blades, beads, weights, and feathers. You can cut out a hole in the tube to leave a trail of bubbles on your troll. Some use a a cloth stuffed inside the end of the tube and fill the tube with fish oil or worm oil. All these methods are effective. If your not into making your own tube you can purchase one of the shelf. Santini Tubes, Als tube, T-mans tube are some of the most popular and ones we recommend.
Worms and Synthetics:
At the end of that hook you want to put on a sea worm. A lot of us here like "select worms." Tackle shops know this term and be prepared to shell out a couple of more bucks for these size worms. A dozen of selects will run around 6 dollars. Selects are not always available. Regular size worms work. If very small use two or more.
Insert the worm mouth into the hook point and slide the worm up as far as you can and pull hook out thru worm body. With practice you can get the worm on and cover most of the hook. Worms are strongest near the head so don't push it up too far.
Synthetics are an alternative if worms are not available. Plastic worms in the motor oil color is a great choice. Its always wise to have a package of synthetics and scent while you are on the water. You can run out of worms quick especially if smaller fish are stealing your worms.
Rods and reels in the medium heavy range, from 1/2 to 3oz is what we look for. Not to stiff of a rod and not to heavy. You want to make smaller fish fun as well and also have some back bone for when the cows are in. I have found 1/2 to 2 1/2 oz, medium heavy rod, moderate action. After all this is kayak fishing. And kayak fishing means light tackle. I have managed fish up to 41lbs in this class and still had room for something larger.
Most now use conventional reels. You can use spinning. We prefer conventional to let line out while trolling. Trolling with a forward mount rod holder will allow you easy access to the rod upon a strike and will also let you see if you have snags like seaweed or a fouled tube. Your rod length will be your preference. 6'6" to 8'. Experiment and see what you are comfortable with. I use 7' on a 15' kayak. That's what works for me.
For line you can use mono, braid, lead or wire. For beginners I would recommend starting out with mono or braid. For kayak fishermen, big fish can be found in shallow areas, shoals and boulders fields. Places that boats wont attempt to get into. These areas will be from 6-12 feet loaded with structure with little moving water. Braid or mono will get the job done in these areas with a tube in the 1/2 oz rating or even UN-weighted tubes.
I also use leadcore and it has its place. Usually in depths greater then 20 feet or when faster moving water is present. Some will stay with braid or mono and add a keel weight to get down deeper in the water column. I prefer leadcore to achieve this. I always carry a leadcore set up and use it when needed. 90% of the time I am using braid in the 30lb to 50lb range with 30lb to 50lb mono or flouro leader tied to the tube. We recommend no less then 17lb for trolling along with flouro leader of no less then 25lb.
Line twist is a factor. Ball bearing swivels can only help so much. A little seaweed in the ball bearing will stop the bearing from turning. Constant cleaning of this is recommend while adding worms. A rudder is a sure way of preventing line twist. Tubes twist and the rudder will stop the twist. Luhr Jensen makes a nice rudder in the 1/0 size.
Tube speed, structure, and Electronics:
The best way we can describe the speed for the tube is that of a "slow walk". Instead of trolling think strolling. A slow lazy walk puttering down the side. Slow strokes with the paddle. You can catch fish at a faster pace but if your targeting big fish we recommend the slower the better.
The tube will shine in structure. Lobster buoys are a dead give away for some structure below. Sometimes deep and sometimes shallow. Boulder fields, mussel beds, reefs, bars, and man made structure. Rips and nervous water will also be a key sign of change. Also open water and marsh areas will produce. We feel heavy structure will hold big fish.
Having a fish finder will allow you to see what is going on below and give you an idea of how much line to let out. The fish finder will help while trolling tubes. And if your lucky you will find big structure and big fish on the finder.
Happy hunting and we will see you on the water!