Serious fishermen understand the importance of mobility and being able to fish deeper waters, but many are not ready for the cost of a fishing boat. Inflatable fishing boats are the next best option and have become versatile and robust fishing crafts. You can mount swivel chairs, mount a trolling motor, and several other accessories to become the ultimate fishing machine. Most inflatable boats can fit easily into any car, truck, or SUV.
You can get a quality inflatable craft for $250 – $1000. The advantage these boats have is you can take a few buddies or take your family with you. Most boats will seat 2-4 people.
Because Utah Lake is so large, fishing from a boat greatly increases the number of places
you can soak bait for catfish. There are lots of spots that you can fish ONLY by boat. Some of the
better kitty venues can’t even be safely reached and fished by tube or toon. Bird Island is one good
example. Well, you might be able to get there but you may never return.
Utah Lake can be dangerous. It is shallow and when sudden fierce winds come up…as they
do on that lake…you can get into trouble quickly if you are in a boat too small for the conditions.
In fact, there is no boat too large when big flat-faced swells start marching across the lake. Each
year sees a few careless boaters getting into trouble…or worse…by not paying attention to the
weather and getting caught in a “zephyr” a long ways from the ramp.
That being said, a small boat is a great way to fish many areas of Utah Lake…especially if
you have a quiet trolling motor that allows you to sneak into the prime holding areas without
making too much noise. Just be sure you check the weather forecast and stay close to the harbor
from which you launched. If you want to fish another part of the lake further away you should
trailer your boat to a closer launch site.
Most boaters cruise to their selected location and then put out an anchor while they soak
bait and wait for the fish to find them. That works…a lot. But there are times you have to cover
more area to find the fish. Then you need to move more often or allow the boat to drift until you
start getting bites. That works okay on calm days but not if the wind comes up.
When the kitties are in the greenery…shoreline reeds…fishing from a boat allows you to
move along the edges…anchoring and casting bobbers or “free baits” right up against the reeds.
After you catch a few and it slows down you just move on down a few yards and resume casting.
There are long stretches of reed-choked shoreline in several areas of Utah Lake that lend
themselves well to this style of fishing.
I fish almost exclusively from a float tube. There are a bunch of spots around Utah Lake to
which I can drive right up to the water and be quickly launched and fishing. A few other spots
require only a short hike with my tube cart to get to a decent launch site. To me there is nothing
like hooking a big ol’ kitty from my tube and getting towed around a bit before it decides to crawl
into my net.
Tubers and tooners are more restricted in the areas they can fish than are boaters. But,
there are some advantages to fishing from a “floatation” craft…in stealth mode. The noiseless
nature of tubing and tooning allow you to drift or kick right over fish without spooking them. I
have caught some big fish directly under my tube in fairly shallow water.
Although the speed and range of a float tube is much less than even the smallest boat and
motor, the fishing opportunities more than compensate for the limitations. For example, my most
productive cattin’ technique is to drag an unweighted minnow or piece of fish flesh out behind my
tube as I kick slowly over a productive area. I fish with an open bail and with a loop of line tucked
under a clip on my rod holder. When a kitty makes an “inquiry” the line pops free of the clip and
streams out freely off the reel. Then, when I guess that the fish has the bait well inside its mouth I
point the rod at the fish, wait for the line to come tight and SET THE HOOK.
You can use that same technique from the bank or while fishing from a boat. But, when
casting from the bank you are limited to one small area. From a boat you may drift faster than you
want to if the breeze kicks up…or not at all if it is very calm. In my tube I have complete control of
direction, depth and speed. It definitely produces a lot of action for me and for a lot of other tubers
and tooners who use that system.