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How to Fish the Z-Man TRD TubeZ for River Smallmouth Bass

How to Fish Z-Man TRD TubeZ for River Smallmouth Bass

Timothy Dixon is the owner of New River Outdoor Adventures. He is also an avid fisherman who knows how to catch big New River smallmouth bass. We talk to Timothy about how to fish the Z-Man TRD TubeZ for river smallmouth bass.

First of all, how was the 2017 at New River Outdoor Adventures?

2017 was a great year for New River Outdoor Adventures. We helped so many great people and saw a lot of smiling faces. I am super excited for the 2018 season to be in full swing and look forward to new connections.

2018 we offer some of the great experiences 2017 offered with a few added boats, bikes, and shuttle routes. I am a dealer for Feelfree kayaks this year and plan on outfitting lots of people with their fishing kayaks. I have welcomed the 3 Waters kayaks to my business floor this year and have already got a large calling for theit products. In addition to the kayaks I also became a dealer for Z-Man fishing products and YakAttack kayak accessories.

Z-Man TRD TubeZWhen did you start using the Z-Man T.R.D. Tubez for river smallmouth bass?

I started using the TRD TubeZ in late 2015 as I started focusing on bigger river smallmouth. The ElaZtech material Z-Man baits uses is totally awesome for working the river currents and pools. I have always been a tube fisherman, especially when targeting smallmouth bass so this smaller profile tube put big fish in my net.

Z-Man TRD TubeZ give you the opportunity to catch multiple fish on the same tube because of the ElaZtech material. This means you save money. These tubes are strong, durable, and also have a great standup action in the water that fish cannot refuse!

How are you rigging them?

The Z-Man ShroomZ heads are a must for the TRD fisherman. I am a huge fan of the weedless ShroomZ heads because the river bottom is chalked full of rocks and ledges. The ShroomZ design allows the TRD TubeZ bait to stand-up as bottom is contacted giving the tail a waving action enticing bites.

I always have a backup jig head option for different conditions the river offers me. The Owner finesse ball-head jig is always in my terminal tackle box. Weedless design with a wire-hook I can fully trust to hold my big fish all the way to the boat.

For rivers like the New River, what size jig heads are you using?

I always have different finesse sizes for different location, water levels, and seasons. The lighter jigheads always come into play in low water levels and gin clear waters. I rely on stealth and placement for 90% of my big fish bites in this condition. In my opinion this is the toughest condition the river has to offer me.

As the water levels rise and water temps turn colder I tend to upscale my weights on the jighead size. I don’t think they make a weight too heavy for me at times. The slower the presentation the better for some of the Grandpa smallies.

How do Z-Man TRD TubeZ from a technique standpoint compare to other tubes?

The action of the TRD TubeZ is like no other tube you’ve ever tossed. The material has a great buoyant, pulsating action the fish are accustomed to with real life forage. I typically bottom drag a lot of my tubes working them slower than most allowing the bait to provide a lot of the work.

What are your favorite colors of the TRD TubeZ?

Green Pumpkin is the most versatile color choice in my arsenal. I always carry a few other color for different situations such as: Drew’s Craw, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Canada Craw, New Money, and Molting Craw.

What rod, reel and line combination are you using for fishing Z-Man TRD TubeZ for river smallmouth bass?

Rod, reel and line choice are the backbone of a good finesse fisherman. When taking a good setup into consideration there are a few certain options you need to consider.

Rod: I always look for a good Medium/ Fast tip action rod for my finesse setup. I like a good lightweight rod flirting with the 7ft. length with either Fuji oven baked or micro eyes. Examples of a great rod are Lews, St. Croix, Falcon, or a great custom rod from a rod Lutheran.

Reel: I always choose a top of the line spinning reel to handle my tubes for me. 6:2:1 is a great speed with anti reverse. Also the number of bearings increase the amount of work your reel will handle and how well it will perform. Ideal bearing number is 8 or above. Aluminum spools add a much needed balance and give you that extra added edge.

I love my Lews SGH100 and Shimano Stradic Ci4.

Line: I have been a braided line man for the past 4 years, and I absolutely love it. In the braided line market Power Pro 20lb is my go to line for all my finesse setups.

I also exclusively tie a fluorocarbon leader to all my tube setups. Brands I trust are the Vicious and P-Line 100% fluoro in 12lb test. Leader length needs to be adjusted according to the clarity of the water you are fishing. A good standard length for me is 3 feet in almost all normal water conditions.

A good thing to remember when fishing fluorocarbon is to always check for nicks and abrasions in your leader. Though fluoro is super strong and invisible with minimal stretch, it has a low tolerance for any abrasion or corruption in the line and will become weak.

There are many different knots to tying braided line to fluorocarbon. I trust a knot called the Double-Uni Knot as it has always preformed for me and rarely ever fails if attached correctly. Be sure to wet the knot when cinching tight to protect it. Fluorocarbon will become very hot due to friction and burn/fail if not properly tied.

The more you can become the invisible fisherman, the more you will latch onto the older and wiser smallmouth.

Timothy Dixon with a New River Smallmouth BassOverall, what 5 pieces of advice do you have for anyone trying the T.R.D. Tubez for the first time on the New River?

1) Be confident in the T.R.D., trust it to be the best bait for the job! Confidence is key.

2) Be elusive, and follow all the tricks to keep your presence at bay.

3) Be wise to where fish have moved, look for patterns and signs to give you a better success rate.

4) Slowing down is a big part of finesse fishing. We are not power fishing here, the big fish will fall victim to this tactic.

5) The “Stupid Tube” has been around for ages, simple and weedless will produce in the river.

Extra Tip: I have come to find out from experience to always carry a hook honer with you and keep your jig hooks super sharp. Missed hook sets on rocks and wood will dull the point and bite you in the butt later down the road.

What other Z-Man products do you use for catching bass on the New River?

Other great products offered by Z-Man for these river smallmouth are the:

  • Finesse T.R.D. –  Simple, effective, and deadly…this plain shaft 3” bait will catch bass.
  • Chatter Bait – Never rule blades out for the brown fish. When the water is a little murky and high these baits will shine.
  • Jigs – The Z-Man jigs paired with one of their many trailers are big smallie killers. When the bite gets challenging just tie a jig on and drag.
  • Finesse worms – Paired with a shaky head this method will put fish in the boat. Smallies to Largies I think the shaky/finesse is a great combo

Who are your current sponsors? 

Feelfree Kayaks – The guys at Feelfree kayaks have been nothing but amazing on my fishing journey. A huge fishing platform, a very reasonable price, and the best customer service in the game. This boat has the stability I need to get the job done.

Z-Man – simply the best soft plastics in the game.

Line Cutterz – This tool allows me to cut braid and tag lines quickly and more efficient. Cuts braid like Butta!

Sunsect – Sun screen and insect repellent all in 1 with no bad smell. Always on the boat!

Patterson Custom Jigs – Local Virginia company that makes my jigs and spinner baits. Pride and great workmanship go a long ways with me.

Carolinia Paddle Sports Outfitters – A great company that offers some great deals in kayak products.

Thanks Timmy! Great information on fishing the Z-Man TRD TubeZ for river smallmouth bass.

Make sure to follow him on Instagram @newriveroutdooradventures and also check out  his New River Outdoor Adventures if you are planning a fishing or family trip to the New River.

Read More about Timmy Dixon: New River Fishing with Timmy Dixon of New River Outdoor Adventures