Using a float tube is a fun and inexpensive way for anglers to explore more of a lake or still river without having to spend a lot of cash on an actual boat. It won’t allow you to move from one fishing spot to another quickly, but it will allow you to sneak up on fish quietly so that they don’t get scared and swim away. Like many other types of fishing vessels, float tubes have their own set of pros and cons. Here, we’ll give you some float tube fishing tips to help you deal with the disadvantages of using a float tube for fishing so that you can focus on the most important agenda of your day: catching a fish.
#1 Make Sure You Have Everything You Need
The first thing you need to do before heading out into the water is to make sure that you have everything you’ll need for the trip. Considering how challenging it can be to maneuver a float tube, you wouldn’t want to be wading back to shore just because you forgot something like your water bottle or sun hat.
Aside from your fishing gear and equipment, there are several other things that you’ll want to bring with you in the water. These include sufficient amounts of food and water to keep your strength up and stay hydrated. You may also want to bring a pair of ping pong paddles. These can work wonders in instances where you need some extra power to move your float tube.
#2 Wear Sunscreen and Insect Repellant
When you go float tube fishing, expect that you’ll be exposed to the sun for quite a while (even in an overcast day). Thus, be sure to put on some waterproof sunscreen to keep you from getting a sunburn and ward off other negative effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
You should also consider using some insect repellant to keep mosquitoes at bay. This is especially true if you’re fishing in still rivers and backwaters which are home to a variety of disease carrying mosquitoes and insects.
#3 Dress Appropriately
Although there is no strict dress code when it comes to float tube fishing, you’ll still want to dress properly for the occasion. You’ll need a hat to provide you additional protection from the sun and the elements. You should also consider wearing a good pair of sunglasses (polarized if you happen to have some) to cut off the sun’s glare and make it easier to spot fish swimming near the water’s surface.
#4 Wear Waders when Possible
Waders are worn by float tube fishermen to keep them dry and comfortable. Although not really necessary, you should still consider getting yourself a good pair of waders. There are neoprene-style waders which come in different thicknesses and are very durable. There are also waders that are insulated with other materials to enhance its insulation properties and thus keep you warmer for longer. Aside from keeping you from getting hypothermia, waders also serve as your protection against insects, leeches and other creatures that may have plans of making lunch out of your legs.
When it comes to buying waders, choose the size and material carefully so that it suits your preferred fishing destination and season. You should head out to your local sporting or fishing goods store and try on a pair so that you can be sure that it fits you perfectly.
#5 Stay Visible
You’ll want to make sure that you are clearly visible while out in the water. Although you don’t usually have to worry about motorboats running over you in small lakes and still rivers, you should still make sure that you can be easily spotted by other fishermen while fishing. In most instances, using a colorful float tube or raising a brightly colored flag behind you should be enough.
If you prefer using a dark colored or brown float tube (or any color that blends well with the water and its surroundings), then you should consider wearing brightly colored clothing or a brightly colored hat instead.
#6 Bring the Right Fishing Tackle
Fishing from a float tube has different requirements than when you’re fishing with a kayak or other boats. With float tube fishing, you won’t generally have enough room and you won’t be able to bring a lot of fishing gear and equipment with you. Float tubes simply don’t have ample room or storage capacity that a larger fishing boat provides. Thus, be sure that you organize your fishing tackle beforehand and leave any other non-essential gears and equipment behind.
#7 Bring the Right Fly and Lures
If your float tube is large enough, you should be able to easily fit in at least two fly boxes with you on the tube. Just keep in mind to load them with flies and lures that are matched to the fish species that you are targeting. There are a wide variety of baits and lures for float tube fishermen like worms, shrimp, krill and others. The debate as to which type of bait and lure is best for float tube fishing remains unanswered given that every fisherman will have his or her own favorite. Still, try experimenting in order to find the best one for your situation. You should also consider consulting experts and veterans of the sport.
#8 Bring the Right Fishing Rod
Fishing rods come in a variety of lengths and sizes, and some float tube fishermen will tell you that one particular length is better than the other for this sport. To help reduce the confusion, there are certain guidelines which you can follow in order to find the right fishing rod to use. For instance, if you are fishing in waters with bigger fish, consider getting a rod between nine and twelve feet.
You should also try to match your fishing rod with the species of fish you are after. For spring salmon for example, a nine or ten feet fishing rod with light action should suffice. On the other hand, if you’re targeting big river steelhead you should consider a longer fishing rod (twelve feet at most) with a medium to heavy action.
# 9 Choose Your Reels
Amongst the different varieties of reels available for fishing, most float tube fishermen usually go for a level wind reel or a single action reel. Accordingly, a level wind reel is versatile and can be used for casting lures even without a float, whereas a single action reel is considered to be the best reel for float tube fishing. Some fishermen say that single action reels have excellent line capacity and feed out the line smoothly as well.
Level wind reels and single action reels come in a wide a variety as you’ll see in the market. Choosing a reel shouldn’t be too difficult. For one, choose a reel that feels right for the rod you are using. Also, try to match the reel to the type of fish you are aiming to catch. Lastly, try to buy the best reel you can afford since, as with all things, you get what you pay for.
#10 Get Razor-sharp Hooks
It is also important that you get high quality and reliable razor-sharp hooks, otherwise you may see many of your catch swim away. Aside from the quality, there are several other things that you need to consider when buying fishing hooks. For instance, if you are fishing in clear water and targeting small fish, then smaller hooks are fine. If you are after larger fish, then larger hooks are a necessity.
#11 Don’t Go too Far Out
A float tube won’t allow you to cover a lot of water unlike fishing kayaks or other types of fishing vessels. That said, you’ll want to stay as close to shore as possible. There may be fewer fish near the shore, but there should be more than enough to make for an exciting and rewarding fishing trip. In addition, going too far out in such a small vessel puts you at the mercy of the elements (i.e. wind, current, etc.) Also, if you go too far out, you’ll have a harder time returning to shore in case of emergencies.
#12 Keep an Eye on the Clock
Lastly, always keep an eye on the clock. This is especially true if you are fishing late in the afternoon. Remember, it can be a challenge to maneuver a float tube and it will take you a significantly longer time to get a float tube moving towards the direction you want to go. So give yourself an hour or two for your return trip and never underestimate the conditions that can make it difficult for you to get back to shore.
Globo Surf Overview
In general, float tubes give you an advantage of stealth when fishing in lakes, ponds and sedate rivers. The absence of motor vibration or clunking sounds (and large boat shadows) will allow you to sneak in and bag those pikes, bass, trout, or whatever fish species you’re after. Still, fishing from a float tube is very different from fishing from an actual boat, which is why we’ve outlined some float tube fishing tips to help make this adventure safer and more successful for you. Keep them in mind while you’re planning your fishing trip and don’t forget to have fun.