By Ed Norwalk

The tube-and-worm rig has used for years. The first time this Fishing' Pole fished with it was with my long-time friend and New Port, Rhode Island top-notch fisherman, Miles Standish. He had a bonanza hole around Fiske Rock off Prudence Island, as I remember, that was loaded with weakfish in the 12 pound size - shows how long ago this fish tale happened! Standish was driving fisherman in nearby boats bonkers because we boated a toothy one on every third or fourth drift; their sea worms did little. He fished his own custom rigged tubes and I have never equaled his proficiency with them.

"My Sunshine", featured on the cover of The Fisherman Magazine.

Fisherman magazine writer, field editor, Charley Soares, is without peers as a Northeast coast angler with an anglers talent to innovate, to adapt, to teach and to catch fish. Through his seminars, Soares has taught scores of anglers the merits of his deadly tube-and-worm rig. However, until a couple of weeks ago, this scribe had not fished with the rig.

The opportunity came when Peter Santini, who gave us a weekly fishing report for The Fisherman, and the inventor of the Santini-Tube 'N' Worm, invited outdoor writer, Harry Kennerson and myself to see how his tube catches Striped Bass in Boston Harbor waters. We all met at the posh Constitution Marina in Charlestown, Ma., where we boarded Good Times Charter-craft, "My Sunshine", a clean, neat, comfortable, 2001 Down east style custom built 28 1/2 ' BHM Hull built by the Sea Worthy Co, in Maine, whose owner/skipper Captain Lou Abate, greeted us like kinfolk.

At The Flats. In spite of a cranky, confused, easterly breeze that huffed, puffed and sometimes burped whitecaps, we arrived on the Old Governors Island Flat dry and ready for action in about 20 minutes. Captain Abate's have been catching from a few dozen to four or five dozen bass here consistently. These fish are 20-inch schoolies to 40-inch-plus keepers. Only fish kept is an occasional legal fish for the grill; most patrons take photos and release their trophies. The fish we caught and released were from 28 inches to 33 inches and they were healthy, spunky, specimens.

The area to fish shows Governors Flats on Boston; Inner Harbor Chart. Once a clam diggers delight, and a place to catch flounder, they are all that remain of a once beautiful Governors Island that fortified Boston and later was a picnicking retreat for the people of Boston. when the fort and land was leveled for the Airport, more fill was needed; that's why you will notice those deep 20-foot-plus holes in the middle of the flats. The Approach Light Lane (ALL) pier bridges one huge hole and others are off its tip. Bass hold in these drop-offs on various stages on the tide.

Near The Pier. Captain Abate catches fish from the ALL pier tip, trolling up and down both sides as close as wind and tide will permit. He trolls the edges of the channel bordering the ship mooring area and the flats down to the pier tip. It's productive. On the top and the turn of the tide, terns and gulls will work the flats right up to the Airport marsh grass or rip rap, These flats are the nursery for tiny and a cafeteria for growing bass. They can provide a bonanza for flyrodders!

Care is need working the Lower Middle at low tides but it can hold large bass in its rocky kelp structure and should be fished. Some of the rock-breaking marks on Lower Middle were made by the "Fishin' Pole," my yellow Seacraft.

My caught six bluefish, all over 16 pounds, trolling a large Hopkins spoon down the edges of the channel between Lower Middle and Governors Flats some years ago when pogies flipped in the harbor. On an outgoing tide from dusk to dark, Lower Middle produces trophy sized fish.

Unique. Peter Santini's Tube 'N' Worm has a couple of unique features that could make it more deadly than others I've seen. Just below the connecting swivel, there is a nickel-sized Colorado spinner and an egg sinker behind it squeezes into the tube mouth. About eight inches from the single tail hook, Santini has cut a dime-sized hole on one side of the tube. It makes a trail of bubbles and must gurgle as it's draw a few inches above the bottom. The spinner and the hole are his creation.

Fishing a tube and worm without a good sized seaworm is as productive as a politician's promise! Santini owns Fishing FINatics in Everett, Massachusetts

He brought along a whole flat of sea worms and the way Kennerson and I fished, we needed them. Peter had a way to rig two worms to make a trail-like effect. Bass hit them so hard they hooked themselves. And that's something this old gaffer didn't know; it's a key to catching Stripers on a tube and worm rig.Don't yank back to set your hook, let the fish eat tube and worm. A tight line and the moving boat will hook a biting bass. It was surprising, but all our hook-ups were through the lips and easily released.

Lead Line. To work effectively, any tube and worm must get down to the fish. In shallow water with little current, sometimes monofilament with a trolling plane or lead will get down deep enough. However, unless you have a downrigger, wire line or lead line is the ticket to success. Lou Abate convinced me his method was the right stuff. He his Penn reels with Cortland dacron backing and 65-pound test lead line to troll Santini's Tube 'N' Worm. The 65-pound test lead-core line is sometimes harder to find than more common 45 and 30 pound, but it sinks faster and you don't have to out as much line to reach desired depths. Lead-core line is a lot easier for rookies, or even experienced anglers, to use than monel wire.

We trolled on about 30 feet of water most of the time, several hours before and after high tide. Tidal flow was noticeable but not great. Trolling speed varied, but a slow walk would best describe it. Nice thing about lead lines are the 10-yard color changes. You know how much line is out and troll that length when fish are caught. We fished from two colors to nearly three colors and we were into fish constantly.

Launch Ramp. This area of Boston Harbor around Logan Airport is within minutes of Winthrop's free launching facility at Point Shirley, next to the Winthrop Yacht Club. The action takes place on the more northern side, Orient Heights, East Boston side of Logan Airport.

South Shore anglers can launch their craft from Weymouth's Back River state-of-the-art facility that has plenty of supervised parking, convenient floats on both sides of the double ramp. The run to Boston Inner Harbor is less than 45 minutes. We used to launch my Seacraft at MDC Charles River, Brighton, double launch facility on Nonantum Road next to the Ice Skating rink. The trip downriver is slow but pretty and newcomers enjoy passing through the locks. Trips from Charles River Locks to Governors Flats is a matter of minutes. Bring your camera and photograph the "Constitution" at her dock and the Boston Skyline is impressive.

If you would like to fish a Santini Tube 'N' Worm, they are available at Fishing FINatics, 90 Main Street, Everett, Massachusetts, 02149, (617) 381-1997. Outdoor writer Harry Kennerson and this Fishin' Pole thank both Peter Santini and Captain Lou Abate.

Ed Norwalk, Field Editor, The Fisherman Magazine, New England Edition.

The excerpts above are from an article written in The Fisherman Magazine, August 8th, 1996, by permission.