Float tube fishing techniques

Mutiny

Member
I recently got a fishcat float tube, and have only had the chance to get it in the water once so far, mostly just to get a feel for it. I can't wait to take it out for a serious fishing trip!!
My question is what specialized techniques do you use when fishing out of a tube? In the past when fishing out of a canoe I have always trolled along drop offs or cast towards shore and retrieved back to me. I assume that most tube fishing is the same, but if anyone has more useful tips that would be great!! Also tips on navigating/anchoring/outfitting one of these things would be appreciated as well.
 

troutdude

Moderator
Same methods apply, for the most part. Also slow trolling Wooly Buggers and / or Teeny Nymphs is deadly.

WORD: ALWAYS walk into water backwards. If you begin to fall--just drop down in your tube; and you're fine.

I also highly recommend this book:

Float Tube Fly Fishing Large.jpg
 

GungasUncle

Well-known member
I recently got a fishcat float tube, and have only had the chance to get it in the water once so far, mostly just to get a feel for it. I can't wait to take it out for a serious fishing trip!!
My question is what specialized techniques do you use when fishing out of a tube? In the past when fishing out of a canoe I have always trolled along drop offs or cast towards shore and retrieved back to me. I assume that most tube fishing is the same, but if anyone has more useful tips that would be great!! Also tips on navigating/anchoring/outfitting one of these things would be appreciated as well.

Keep your gear pared down to a minimum. I'm a habitual over-do-er when taking gear, but I found that more than 2 rods (really, more than one rod) is a pain in a tube. My last float tube had 4 gear pockets and it was really tempting to fill them, but it's a bad idea, at least if you're filling them with fishing tackle.

First:

Get a patch kit, keep it handy. Should you puncture your tube, you can do a field repair and keep fishing. At the very least, keep a roll of good quality duct tape with you. Keep the tape from getting wet. And don't loose your oral inflation tube, if your tube has one. A manual pump is even nicer to have with you in case you need to repair and reinflate, or just add air pressure should you loose it during the day.

2nd: Wear a PFD. Be it inflatable, a fisherman's "shorty" vest, or a standard three buckle - wear a PFD.


Other tips:

A 5lb mushroom anchor served me very well - I used heavy duty clothes line as my anchor line. I kept 50' of it with my anchor.

A long handled net - like the telescoping handle variety Frabil makes that also has a folding basket - will make landing large or hot fighting fish easier. The net I've used for a few years now has a handle that telescopes out to 4', collapses to just over 2', and the basket folds down for storage and makes for a compact package when not deployed.

Longer rods offer more casting distance, but you can get close to fishing spots thus shorter rods will work just fine.

Careful casting is more important when your floating with your butt below the water line being a human buoy. I say this because a fly or lure can be moving at speeds approaching 100mph during a cast - this gives that hook point more than enough energy to puncture even the stoutest nylon tube covers and poke a hole in your tube. Be mindful of where your hooks are.

Also keep in mind - everywhere you go, you'll be going there in reverse in a tube. And since you're the motor - remember how far away you are from your put in spot. I've had a lot of days where I get into the fishing and keep pushing for more untouched or lightly touched waters - only to wind up a LOT further from my truck than I expected to be. It's a slow slog back to the rig carrying a tube & gear over the bank/trail - and can be even slower if you're kicking your way back.

You can use just about any technique you want - troll, cast, still fish - they all work pretty well from a tube, a few techniques require a tweak in presentation or gear selection, but you're pretty much able to use your favorite techniques - aside from downrigger fishing. Never seen a tube with downriggers.

Tubes are comfy to fish from. It's like fishing from an easy chair. You can lay your head back, kick your feet up in front of you and just let the wind/current/waves take you where they may and slow troll if you want. You *can* get so comfortable it's tempting to nap. I've never napped, in the water, in my tube but it's been tempting a time or too. Tubes do make for comfortable lounge chairs for an afternoon nap on dry land too.

I spoke earlier about your tube loosing pressure - the pressure in your tube will change with the temperature. Hot days and warm water will increase your tube's pressure and you may in fact have to let some pressure out. Cold water/air can lower air pressure and you might have to add pressure. This is normal. If you find yourself constantly having to add pressure - you've got a leak somewhere.

Float tubes are a great way to fish, especially if you understand *your* limits (physically) and want to get to places you can't wade, or fish properly from the bank. I wish I could find a float tube rated for my big butt that didn't cost $300 or more, because it sure was a lot quicker packing a tube to the lake than it is a boat. And some waters are better fished from a tube, they're too small for a large boat or even canoe, but perfect for a float tube.
 

troutdude

Moderator
GU's post reminds me of a time; when the fishing was very good. So, I wound up waiting FAR FAR FAR too long--to take out. It got dark'ish, and was hard to see my put in spot (nice gentle sloping back, with GRAVEL).

Instead...I tried to get out in a different spot. Said spot was MUDDY. Both of my flippers, sank into said mud. I nearly had to spend a night, in my tube. I would've survived it. But, it would have been a LONG and UNCOMFORTABLE night!

So, start for your take out spot; long before it gets dark. You'll be glad that you did! Especially when you are alone.
 

cpeaslee

Member
And, when its warm and peaceful on the water...don't fall asleep. This applies for a number of reasons.

Enjoy float tube fishing!! It is a blast.
 

Mutiny

Member
Thanks for the tips! That book looks like it might be interesting.
Whats the best way to avoid spooking fish when you are trolling? legs and flippers in the water seems a lot more threatening than canoe paddles, especially in small water where you can't let out to much line.
 

troutdude

Moderator
legs and flippers in the water seems a lot more threatening than canoe paddles, especially in small water where you can't let out to much line.

Only threatening to you, if there's a shark below--and it makes you look like a sea lion! LOL

Never had a problem with that.
 
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