Fly Fishing Float Tubes
As I have mentioned several places, float tubes were created and evolved largely with fly fishermen in mind. During more recent years pontoons have increasingly taken market share from float tubes, as the preferred craft for fly fishermen. Float tubes offer simpler more hands-free fishing. But, pontoons offer increased range on bigger lakes, greater safety on moving waters and they also offer a higher casting platform. Probably the biggest advantage offered by tubes or toons, for fly flingers, is that the quiet approach allows you to work yourself within easier casting range of the fish you want to reach. That means that even with a lower casting position than when standing you can still get all the distance you need to reach the active fish.
TubeDude afloat. On any given trip I may have a mix of spinning and baitcast rigs, with possibly a fly rod or two. You don’t need any special gear to fish from a tube or toon. Whatever you like to use while boating or banking will probably work just fine. The big difference is that you do not need tackle designed to make long casts since you can get “up close and personal” when you are in your pride and joy. Some pontoons have optional standing platforms and lean bars. These provide an even higher viewpoint and casting platform for anglers that are watching for subsurface fish or who want to make longer casts without toppling into the drink. But, the average flyrodder on typical waters can do quite well while comfortably seated and while using fin power to quietly keep the pontoon within easy casting range. Fishing flies from the lower seating of a float tube is really not much different than casting while wading chest deep in a river or lake. You sacrifice some height, which affects casting efficiency. That means that you can’t work with as much line. However, as I have already pointed out, you don’t need to cast as much line if you can position your tube closer to the fish. Some fly fishermen adapt to the lower casting angle by fishing with longer rods. Adding length to the rod improves both distance and line control. With today’s longer and lighter fly rods you can work a 10-footer all day as easily as you could with older model 8 footers. Of course you have to work on your timing and learn the difference in feel. A recent paradigm shift is that many floatation fishermen are incorporating shorter and/or lighter rods into their arsenals. They have found that being able to make shorter casts from their tubes or toons allows them to fish with much lighter rods and lines. This can greatly increase the enjoyment of fishing for smaller trout or sunfish.
One thing to look for when buying a tube or toon for fly-fishing is a “stripping apron”. You need someplace to pile your line either while stripping in a cast or while bringing in a fish that you do not have “on the reel”. If you don’t keep the loose coils of line neatly contained you can be in big trouble on your next cast…or if a fish suddenly takes off on a run and the line tangles. Most float tubes are sold with some type of apron. Some are better than others. You should look carefully at that feature of any new craft you are contemplating buying and decide if the design of the apron is suitable for your kind of fishing. Better yet, try before you buy…if it is possible to borrow one from a fishing buddy or from the place where you will be buying your craft. Pontoons are inherently designed differently than float tubes so the apron setup is bound to be different. Only a few pontoons provide over-the-lap aprons as a standard feature. Some toons do not come with aprons, but may have them available as an after-market purchase. Many toons have small mesh aprons down over the pontoons, on either or both sides of the
seat, to allow stripping line to either side. Those not conditioned to this concept are sometimes slow to accept the side apron. But many who use it come to prefer it. No matter how good your stripping apron you may still get in trouble with coils of line hanging up on your craft if you are not careful about “streamlining” the upper surfaces. Any small protuberance (like oars, sonar, rod holders, etc.) seems to reach out and grab your line while you
are shooting for distance or battling a big fish.
As long as you keep at least one side (the casting side) of your craft cleared of obstructions you should have fewer problems with line tangles. But, fishermen are doubly susceptible to Murphy’s Law. If there is anything anywhere on your craft that can tangle fly line your line will keep finding it. How about taking along more than one fly rod on your tube or toon? Many fly flingers do so without problems. The primary consideration is to keep them lashed down, horizontally (front to back), opposite from your casting side. Unless you are fishing in a cross breeze or throwing a lot of line you can actually store your extra fly rods in a vertical rod holder like spinning and baitcasting anglers use. But, you should use a more lateral casting motion to keep the line as far away from your craft (and other rods) as possible. How about lines for floatation fly-fishing? That is easy. There are no special requirements for lines. Use the same lines you would always use for the prevailing conditions, and according to how deep you want to fish. Hopefully you will know in advance of each trip what to expect and you can take whatever lines you are likely to need during the day’s fishing.
We can say the same about leaders. If you will be fishing spooky fish in clear water tie on the leader you would normally use under those conditions. The only difference is that you probably won’t have to make long casts so you will be able to control long leaders better. That’s another big plus for the floatation fly-fishing fraternity. Now let’s talk about some of the things you can do with a tube or toon that are more difficult (if not impossible) while boating, banking or wading. First, you will find yourself having access to waters and honey holes that are much more user friendly to floatation fishermen than to anyone else. Obviously, whenever you can present your flies to fish that are not molested by other anglers you will usually have a better shot at hooking up. Next, when fishing small ponds and lakes you will be able to work along the shoreline, quietly presenting your flies to fish cruising in shallow inshore water without disturbing them. They can be spooky in “skinny” water and the most careful wading or the quietest boat will often send them shooting out of there. Skillful maneuvering with your tube or toon should allow you to work the fish efficiently and without noise or having to make long casts.
One application of this type of fly-fishing is throwing poppers or hair bugs to bass when they are in shoreline cover. When a huge largemouth bass explodes on your fly rod offerings it is beyond exciting. It is also a good way to work bluegills when they are “on the beds”. Still another time for casting into the shallows, while positioned away from shore in your tube or toon, is when you are fishing the salt-water marshes for redfish. Reds often feed in very thin water when high tides have flooded the marshes. They are searching for crabs, shrimp, minnows or anything else edible. When you drop a fly just ahead of them it is usually welcomed with a swirl, a surge and a solid take. Casting floaters for surface feeding fish is easy from a tube or toon. Finding them and getting down to the right depth when they are not on top is another matter. And, as the old saying goes, “You can’t catch ‘em where they ain’t.”
Installing sonar on your craft is a good step toward enjoying more consistent success on subsurface presentations. Sonar will let you know how deep the water is and at what depth the fish are holding. That could be from just under the surface to hugging the bottom. It will also tell you whether the bottom is rock, mud or covered with weed growth. Those can be important hints to what the fish are doing if they are relating closely to the bottom.
Trout, for example, will often feed on or near the surface early and late in the day during low light periods. Typically, they will go deeper in the water column during brighter hours. Sometimes it is to follow their food source (zooplankton, minnows, etc.). Other times it is merely to escape the light intensity. If they are orienting near the bottom, but moving around, they are probably foraging for bottom-dwelling invertebrates. These might include aquatic insects, crayfish, snails, leeches, etc.
Knowing where the fish are holding and having an educated guess about how they are feeding, if at all, helps you in your choice of lines, leaders and flies. If you put together the right combination and fish it at the right depth, with the right presentation, you have a better shot at catching fish and will not have to end your day just because there are no visible rises. Some fly flingers are “purists”. They prefer to cast and retrieve rather than dragging or
trolling flies behind them. That’s too bad. Float tubes and pontoons are ideal for covering a lot of water without having to make continuous casts. “Tube trolling” can be deadly. Slowly trolling flies behind your craft is not limited to sunken presentations. Sometimes the fish will rise to a surface or near surface fly. But the fish may be scattered and casting for them is a lot of work between fish. On such days you can rig up a single or tandem fly rig, lay out a long cast with a floating or sink tip line and then either let your craft drift in a light breeze or kick slowly to move yourself and your flies across the surface. It is slow and relaxing but sometimes produces fish
that you would never suspect were in the vicinity.
When the fish are holding or cruising more than a few feet deep, but up off the bottom, use a medium full sink line and try to drag your fly (or flies) either through or just above the zone. This usually requires some experimenting with length of line, speed of kicking, etc. to get the first hookup. Then, just keep doing whatever worked the first time. When your sonar says that the fish are all right on the bottom in deep water you need a
cannonball line and flies that are representative of bottom dwelling creatures in that area. Start with the “float tubers’ distance cast”. That is, first making a long cast, and then feeding more line
out as you kick backwards. As you let out line, try to keep track of how much line you are fishing. Once you feel your line and/or your fly ticking bottom, you will be deep enough. Bring in a few feet of line until you an
no longer feel any bottom contact. You need to be near bottom without snagging. Throwing flies from a tube or toon will not automatically make you either a better caster or a better fisherman. You still need to know and practice good techniques and continue to study both your quarry and their food sources. That will help you take better advantage of the positive aspects of floatation fishing.
Are you ready to take your fishing game to a new level? Buying the right fly fishing tube is a great way to enjoy a fishing from a new view, and to gain access to fish in different areas of the rivers and lakes. Float tubes are a great option for anyone that wants to fish. The float tubes are lightweight and affordable, making them a great addition to your fishing game.
Renting a Float Tube
To determine which float tube will be able to meet your needs, try renting different styles. Float tubes are usually purchased by anglers, but they do not always provide the best option for people that want more mobility to go around when they are fishing.
What is a Float Tube?
A float tube allows you to insert your feet into two holes that give you extra buoyancy in a lake or stream. A float tube is not always the best option for a stream as a current can pick up quickly and move you downwater, which can be dangerous if you float too far out in the river and struggle to get out of the water. If you wear waders in the float tube, it can fill up quickly and push you downstream too quickly before you have a chance to get back to the shoreline. Some people prefer to use kayaks for river fishing as they are easy to maneuver if you do get swept into a current.
Is a float tube the best option? Some people like the float tube as it gives them extra buoyancy to get around in a stream. Other people prefer to use the kickboat or the pontoon boat instead of just a float tube. Float tubes were designed to be used for small ponds and isolated lakes. Float tubes are great for lake fishing, but they are not always the ideal choice for large lakes. High winds on a large lake in a float tube can be a danger if you do not have a paddle to help push yourself back to shore.
Fishing in the Backcountry
A float tube is a great choice if you want to fish in the backcountry. Float tubes are ideal as they are easy to inflate and they are easy to pack on your back and hike to remote lakes. Float tubes are helpful when you wear your waders to stay warm as they will help you enjoy fishing on the remote lakes without freezing your tail off!
What Float Tube Should I Get?
Do you know what style of float tube you need to get? If your fishing style is one that matches with a float tube, you want to look for a pontoon style float boat. Look at your local outdoor stores to find which places are offering the best deals on pontoon boats and other fly fishing equipment. The pontoon style is the best choice because it is easy to maneuver and it comes with a number of features compared to other boats. The pontoon style of boat has less drag from other boats, which make the pontoon boats easier to use compared to round style of boats.
Float Tube Fly Fishing
Fly fishing has been an attractive fishing form for over hundred years. The gracefulness of casting out a fly and excitement of seeing a fish breach the surface to bite your fly is an exciting ordeal. Trout and Salmon are the most targeted fishing species for fly-fishermen, but you can also catch Bass, Carp, Pike, and even Catfish on the fly. Fly fishing usually takes place in scenic countryside and in beautiful mountainous streams. Fly fishing is one of the most common fishing methods for many anglers. The method involved the use of artificial fly which is attached on a reel or fly rod with the aim of luring the fish. Tactic is necessary when using fly fishing method and you should learn all the necessary fly fishing tips especially when using ultralight lure or fly.
When choosing the flies, size and shape will be of great importance not to mention that the action and color also plays a major role especially when catching trout. Your fly of choice should be determined by the environment of fishing as well as the fist type as the construction of the fly will help determine whether it will submerge or float. It is good to know where your fish of target expects its food to be positioned and this means choosing between dry and wet flies. You should also choose the right fly color based on the fishing season. Season color patterns should feature in your fly color selection. Light colored flies are ideal for warmer weather conditions while darker colors will be suitable for winter, late fall and early spring environment. Fly fishing does not necessarily require a fishing boat and especially when fishing in ponds and lakes. One of the best fly fishing tips is to fish after sun set or go for shaded fishing spots as this gives you a great advantage. It will also be advisable to consider fishing spots near the rocks and where there is good vegetation. When using fly fishing technique, you will need to practice on how well to cast a line as this is a little bit tricky when compared to all other angling techniques. You can learn how to cast the fly line from qualified anglers or instructors. You’ll often see fly-fishermen on tubes for the mobility and stability that they offer. Float tubes and pontoons that allow you to site above the water are usually the craft of choice.