A significant contingent of Midwest finesse anglers have been hoping that Z-Man's Fishing Products would manufacture a tube, and Z-Man responded to those hopes by manufacturing the EZ TubeZ.
It is said to be four inches long. But the one we measured is about 3 3/4 inches long. Its hollow torso is about 2 1/8 inches long. The tentacles are about 1 9/16 inches long.
It is endowed with a dozen round tentacles. The round shape of the tentacles prevents them from sticking together, and the roundness accentuates their ability to undulate and gyrate provocatively.
It is an ElaZtech creation. Even though it is impregnated with some salt, it is extremely buoyant, and its buoyant nature intensifies its alluring underwater gyrations.
What's more, it is an exceptionally durable tube, and because it is tear-resistant, anglers can insert a jig from the head of the torso rather from the rear. This facilitates the rigging and line-tying woes that countless anglers experience with plastisol tubes.
It is available in nine hues: Black/Blue Laminate, California Craw, Canada Craw, Green Pumpkin, Green-Pumpkin Goby, PB&J, Pumpkin, Smoke Purple, and The Deal.
A package of six sells for $4.49.
Notes about customization of the EZ TubeZ
Customization is one of the cornerstones of Midwest finesse fishing. And already some Midwest finesse anglers are cutting, gluing, and making minor and significant alterations to the EZ TubeZ.
Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, is an inveterate customizer. In late May when he got his hands on his first EZ TubeZ, he began customizing it, making it into what he calls a baby tube, which has a one-inch torso and one-inch tail of tentacles.
Before he commences his customization surgery, he submerges the EZ TubeZ in water for a spell, which dissipates the salt, and makes it easier to cut.
To cut it, he uses a five-inch Fiskars Blunt Tip Scissor.
He makes two incisions on the EZ TubeZ. But before he cuts it, he stretches it by interlacing it between his ring and middle finger and his thumb and index finger. The first incision is an inch from the tip of its head or nose, and he completely severs that top inch from the rest of the torso.
The second cut is on the portion of the torso that is slightly above the tentacles, and he completely removes a tiny portion of the torso and tentacles from the torso. Then he applies a coating of Loctite Super Glue Gel to the cut end of the head and the cut end of the tentacles. As soon as the glue covers those two ends, he affixes those two ends together to create a baby hollow-body EZ TubeZ. It takes 15 seconds for the Loctite Super Glue Gel to dry and lock the two sections together.
Once the tentacle section and the head are firmly glued together, he uses the Fiskars to shorten the tentacles so that they are an inch long. (He always keeps the remnants of his work to use in future customizing endeavors.)
At times, he creates unique color combinations by attaching a different colored head and different colored tentacles together, such as attaching some PB&J tentacles to a Smoke-Purple head.
He can create six baby tubes in less than 20 minutes. He says the body of the baby tube and the tentacle section are completely flush and seamless, and to the naked eye, it looks as if it was a manufactured tube rather than a customized two-inch tube.
He also makes a solid-body tube by inserting a piece of a well-worn ZinkerZ, Finesse WormZ, or Hula StickZ inside the hollow portion of the EZ TubeZ's head section. He applies some Loctite Super Glue Gel to the nose of the ZinkerZ, or Finesse WormZ, or Hula StickZ before he inserts it into the one-inch head section. When he inserts the ZinkerZ into the hollow potion of the head of the EZ TubeZ, he uses a pair of needle-nose pliers to expand the diameter of the tube, and this facilitates the sliding of the ZinkerZ into the head of the tube.
He says the Finesse WormZ is easier to insert because it is about the same diameter as the inner diameter of the EZ TubeZ and is easiest to insert.
Once the ZinkerZ, or Finesse WormZ, or Hula StickZ is firmly affixed to the head, he applies some Loctite Super Glue Gel to the cut end sections of the head and tentacles from the back end of the torso. Then he affixes them together. After the glue dries in about 15 seconds, and the tentacles are firmly attached to the torso, he uses the Fiskars to shorten the tentacles so that they are an inch long.
If Myers wants to create a baby tube that will have a slower drop rate, the ZinkerZ, or Finesse WormZ, or Hula StickZ will not be flush to the head of the EZ TubeZ . If it is not flush, there will be a pocket of air that will cause the baby tube to have a slower drop rate.
What's more, a well-worn ZinkerZ floats like cork. The Finesse WormZ and Hula StickZ are heavier than a well-worn ZinkerZ; therefore, they will have a quicker drop speed. The Finesse WormZ has the least amount of salt of the three baits, and it lacks the pores of the ZinkerZ. He says customizers have to be cognizant of these differences when they are creating a solid-body or a partially solid-body EZ TubeZ.
Myers says that the inserted ZinkerZ, or Finesse WormZ, or Hula StickZ should not run the entire length of the hollow body of the tube. In essence, he is creating a partially hollow-body tube and a partially solid-body tube. This construction enables air to be trapped inside the hollow portion of the tube. This construction not only creates a slower drop speed, but it generates the traditional spiraling action of a hollow-body tube. Myers contends that none of the manufacturers of hard-bodied tubes have ever grasped the fact that (deleted "the") if a tube's solid body doesn't stop short of the tentacles, which creates an inner cylinder that is void of material and traps air, the tube will not spiral as it drops or falls, and if it doesn't have that air chamber, it is nothing more than a short worm with tentacles.
In regard to solid- 0r hard-body tubes, Myers is in the process of creating one by using one inch of the torso of a Z-Man's Finesse T.R.D. and one inch of the tentacles of the EZ TubeZ. He notes that it has a quicker drop rate than his baby EZ TubeZ, and there will be times when a fast drop is more effective than a slow one.
Nowadays Myers spends most of his piscatorial pursuits on the rivers of West Virginia in chase of smallmouth bass, but his Midwest finesse tactics allow him to tangle with an array of species that abide in these waterways.
When he is fishing one of these rivers, he prefers to affix his baby EZ TubeZ to a 1/32-ounce Gopher Tackle Mushroom Head Jig with a No. 6 Mustad hook. This hook sits perfectly within the middle of his baby EZ TubeZ, and every strike that he has garnered with this arrangement has resulted in a solid hook up.
If he is fishing a deep-section of water and desires a faster drop, the head of the Gopher jig is exposed. Then when he arrives at a shallower section of the river, where he will need to employ a slower drop speed, he will simply grasp the tube and push the Gopher jig inside the nose of the baby Ex TubeZ. And then around the next bend, he might need a faster drop, and he will merely pull the head of the jig out of the interior of the baby EZ TubeZ, and he will fish this section with an exposed head. He recently did this tactic continuously for three days in a row with no signs of wear to the baby EZ TubeZ's nose.
Myers has also used a hollow-body baby EZ TubeZ, and constantly employed the exposed and unexposed jig routine. When he did this, he simply moved the shank and point of the No. 6 hook a sixteenth of an inch from the previous hook hole.
Myers says that his baby tube replicates the crayfish that abound in the river systems that he plies. In the future, he might glue two small claws, legs, and perhaps a fan-style tail to his baby tubes.
Myers said: "It is not news that tubes are highly regarded in the smallmouth community —especially among anglers who fish rivers. Until the EZ TubeZ came to light, I had given up using them because of the hassle of re-rigging and lost time that goes with the re-rigging process.
"The rounded tentacles of the EZ TubeZ flare superbly even when it is presented to the smallmouth bass with a deadstick retrieve, and the tentacles do not get matted together. I always marinate the baby EZ TubeZ in Pro Cure, Inc.'s Garlic Crawfish Super Gel, and I reapply it often when I am on the water.
"In the coldest of months, when smallmouth consolidate and are only looking down, I have to retrieve a shortened Hula StickZ at a snail's pace and deadstick it a lot. The shortened Hula StickZ is pure magic then. It shares a lot of attributes with a tube. But its drop isn't as erratic, and it drops faster than a tube. And for about three months of the year, it is a major bait for me.
"Other than during our cold months, the diminutive EZ TubeZ will always be rigged on one of my spinning rods, as will be a 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ. They are fished much differently from a retrieve standpoint, but they offer the best one-two combos of anything I have come across in my years of fishing rivers. I wish I had both of them thirty years ago."