Why Float Tubes and Pontoons Are Better
A major hurdle for many floatation “wannabees” is that they are afraid of becoming objects of ridicule. There’s no denying that tubers and tooners look funny, especially during those first launching and beaching fiascoes. For some new recruits those frustrating initiations are enough to send them whimpering back to their vehicles never to try again.
As I will suggest in a later chapter you should be properly coached and try a couple of practice dunks before your first serious fishing launch. Otherwise, the ordeal of carrying all of
your gear to the water and getting it safely afloat can win a prize on a funniest videos show. Us floataholics often suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous derision while fishing. How
can anyone take you seriously when you’re paddling around like a duck stuck in reverse? You don’t exactly inspire “shock and awe” in your silly craft. Even worse is when “normal” people see you out there during the colder months with ice on the water and/or snow on the shoreline. They just shake their heads in disbelief. And, your family is likely to have you declared mentally incompetent if you launch your craft in waters inhabited by
snakes and gators or in “shark-filled” ocean venues.
The biggest “attitude adjustment” needs to be the realization that a good flotation system isnot a just a toy or novelty. Tubes or ‘toons are not merely “a poor man’s bass boat”…cheap substitutes for “real” boats. True, some modern floatation equipment is getting kind of “spendy” but you can still get completely geared up for less than a monthly payment on a new bass sled. It’s okay to save money. Just because you spend less doesn’t mean you won’t catch more fish. By choosing to fish from a tube or toon, rather than a boat, you do have to give up a few things…such as speed and range. That just means that you fish less water…but you fish it more
thoroughly. Of course, by giving up the boat you ALSO have to give up the big down payment, monthly payments, insurance, gas and oil, costly repairs, etc.
I’m here to tell ya that fishing from a tube or toon CAN be more effective than from a boat, and it is almost always better than bankin’. An angler with decent tackle and good fishing skills should generally be able to catch more fish from a tube or toon…on the same waters and under the same conditions. Obviously there will be exceptions but for the most part it is true. I have been a serious float tube fisherman most of my life…over 50 years. For the last 30 years my wife has been my tubing companion on waters all across the country. I can recall many trips in which we out-fished both boaters and “bank tanglers” by a wide margin. In fact, I can’t recall many (if any) times we did not catch more and bigger fish than virtually any and all other anglers on the same waters.
False modesty aside, we are pretty fair fisherfolk. When we elect to fish from shore we usually catch lots of fish too. We also catch plenty when we join friends in their boats. However, we have proven to ourselves that we do noticeably better from our tubes whenever we fish the same waters under similar conditions. And, we just plain enjoy it more.
Most of the credit for our floatation fishing success is attributable to the unique advantages afforded by this style of fishing. Tubes and toons enable you to find fish easily and to present the lures or bait differently than with most other fishing methods. Equally important is the stealth mode. While in a tube or toon you are generally less likely to spook the fish, even while positioned directly over them in shallow water, than you would be in the quietest of boats. Tubes and toons have been around for a long time now and the novelty has worn off somewhat. Still, it is not uncommon for us to draw a crowd as we return to our beaching site, especially if we have fish flopping in our baskets. Besides the typical throng of curious kids there are frequently other fisherfolk with interested questions about our gear and our techniques. We also find ourselves in floatation fishing conversations in many non-fishing situations.
Whenever I am “on the spot” and I’m being questioned by fellow anglers, I often hear some form of the question “Why do you think flotation fishing is better?” I generally answer in two parts. It’s kind of like the old “good news and bad news” jokes. The first response is that this kind of fishing isn’t always better. The other answer is it usually is better. “BETTER” depends upon the type of fishing to which flotation fishing is being compared.