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So you love to fish but you want an easier way of getting out on the water?
Maybe you want to know what exactly a float tube is? What would you use one for?
Well, that is why we have put together some helpful information, to give you a better idea of why you might want to use a float tube for your next fishing trip.
Top Choices: Fishing Float Tubes At A Glance
- Cumberland Inflatable Fishing Float Tube
- Outcast Fishcat 4-LCS
- Bighorn Inflatable Fishing Float Tube
- Marshland Duck Hunting/Fishing Float Tube
- Caddis Sports Premier Plus Float Tube
- Togiak Inflatable Fishing Float Tube With Backpack Straps
- Outcast Fish Cat 5 Max
- Teton Inflatable Fishing Float Tube
- Caddis Sports Pro 2000 Float Tube
Types Of Float Tubes
Before you get started, you will probably need to know the differences between the different types of float tubes. There are 4 main types: the round style, the U or V-shaped style, the teardrop style and the pontoon style.
- Round Style – The round style is the most traditional of the float tubes, with this type being the style that propelled new, more maneuverable designs. The round tube is designed like an inner tube but with additional extras, such as arm rests and a back rest. However, round ones are not really used anymore.
- Teardrop Style – The teardrop style tube is a newer design of float tube, combining the benefits of both the U-shaped tube and the pontoon, with two tubes at either side and the seat in between, with an inflated teardrop section behind the seat, connected to both tubes.
- U / V-Shaped – The U or V-shaped tube is similar to the round one but with an open area where your legs and feet can go. This makes it easier to maneuver than the round one but with many of the same features, such as the back and arm rests.
- Pontoon Style – The pontoon style float tube can look like more of a boat, with the two tubes at either side and the seat in between. The seat is often a little higher than the other float tubes, which means you have better visibility. They have a catamaran style look, with less of a rounded shape and are often made from more durable materials.
Advantages Of Using A Float Tube For Fishing
Compared to other vessels, a float tube is relatively inexpensive. This means it can be a good option if you’re new to fishing or boating, and are just looking for a cheap vessel that will get you out on the water and closer to the fish.
The round styles tend to be the least expensive, with the cost rising with the pontoon styles.
With a float tube you are able to access areas of water that you might not otherwise be able to get to. Because you’re floating, and usually paddling with your feet, you can easily navigate over shallower bodies of water.
Video: Float Tubing
As well as shallower waters, you can also fish in smaller areas, where you wouldn’t be able to take a boat, such as a pond. This means you may have access to more fish if the area is less crowded with other people fishing.
You also have more freedom of launch locations than you would have with a boat. You simply wade out with your float tube, hop in and put on your fins.
Because a float tube requires you to paddle along with fins on your feet, your vessel is less likely to make a noise. This means you are less likely to spook the fish compared to if you were in a boat.
The only part that is under the water is you, specifically your legs, as the tube floats on the top, which creates very little disturbance in the water, meaning there are no splashes from oars or movement from a hull.
The best thing about a float tube is that it’s super portable. Because a lot of them are inflatable, they can be easily transported in your car and some can also be worn like a backpack. You can even take them with you on other boats so you have the convenience of the float tube whenever the conditions call for it.
Another thing that makes them more portable is that they don’t require a lot of extra gear, such as oars. As long as you have your PFD and your fins, you can pack up your fishing gear and your float tube and fish anywhere; as long as it’s not in rough water or strong currents.
With a float tube you paddle with your feet, usually with fins or paddle pushers. This means your hands are free to catch fish. Because you also steer using your feet, it completely frees up your hands so you can use your fish finder, have a drink, eat a snack or reel in your catch.
Video: Float Tube Fishing Bass
And with many of them having handy storage compartments, you can pack your fishing gear and snacks and be able to access them easily while you’re on the water.
Can I Use A Float Tube Anywhere?
The best place to use a float tube is in calm waters. Lakes or inland waterways can be ideal. However, if there are currents, you may want to steer clear of them.
Because you’re paddling with your feet in a lightweight, floating vessel, heading out to the ocean is perhaps not the best idea. The waves and currents could drag you further out to sea and could topple you over.
As well as strong currents and rough waters, hunting large fish in the sea could potentially also drag you away from the shore. Some rivers can also be dangerous, due to their currents and potential debris, so always make sure it’s safe to use your tube.
Importantly, you should make sure that wherever you’re fishing, you’re not getting in the way of any other fishermen. You should also keep in mind that other vessels may be using the water with you, particularly motor vessels, as they’ll be able to travel much faster than your feet can paddle to get out of the way.
Best Fishing Float Tubes
1: Cumberland Inflatable Fishing Float Tube
This one can be a good choice if you’re looking for one that is easy to transport to the water, as it has adjustable shoulder straps for you to wear it on your back. There is also a cargo pocket and cup holder on each armrest, as well as 2 rod holders.
Behind the seat is a handy mesh storage area and there is even a seat back pocket for extra storage, as well as two interior zip pockets, which can come in handy when you’re on the water for a while.
The padded seat is slightly elevated, allowing for better visibility, and the backrest can be adjusted. This also has a mesh stripping apron with measuring ruler, so you can easily assess the fish you catch.
2: Outcast Fishcat 4-LCS
This U-shaped tube is similar in style to its deluxe version, but instead of an inflatable seat, this one benefits from having a sturdier foam seat and backrest. This means you sit slightly more elevated, allowing for easier casting and it may mean it’s more comfortable for long periods.
Featuring easily accessible zippered storage compartments on both armrests, there’s space for your fishing gear and snacks. There’s also a built-in stripping apron for sorting your fish and D-loops at the sides for attaching other smaller items.
While there is some light storage space behind the seat, its open design means your stuff might get wet while it’s back there.
3: Bighorn Inflatable Fishing Float Tube
There is plenty of storage on this one! Featuring zippered armrest compartments and a rear storage compartment, this tube has a horizontal rod holder as well as a safety flag pocket.
It also benefits from having D-loops for attaching extra gear and a convenient exterior mesh pocket. Another feature is the spacious inflatable seat area with large inflatable backrest, which makes for a comfortable fishing trip when you’re out there for a few hours.
Its hydrodynamic hull may also make it easier to maneuver, so you’re better able to track your fish.
4: Marshland Duck Hunting/Fishing Float Tube
With this float tube you’ll be able to blend in with your surroundings when you’re in amongst the reeds. It features an elevated seat and high backrest for improved visibility and a drier ride.
It also has plenty of storage options for your fishing or hunting gear. There’s even a holder for your shotgun if you fancy a spot of duck hunting. There are zippered storage compartments on each armrest as well as a cup holder in each.
This tube benefits from a hydrodynamic hull and it’s easy to transport with shoulder straps that can be removed.
5: Caddis Sports Premier Plus Float Tube
Being bright yellow, this one can be a good choice if you’re out on a busy waterway, as other vessels are more likely to see you. It features a comfortable 4 inch foam seat with an adjustable foam backrest, letting you sit higher out of the water for better visibility.
This durable float tube has a tarpaulin bottom, which boosts its hydrodynamics as well as protecting it from punctures. There are zippered storage pouches on both armrests as well as a mesh stripping apron with an integrated cup holder.
While it doesn’t have backpackable shoulder straps, it does have D-loops on either side where you could attach shoulder straps if necessary. Another handy feature is its velcro rod holder.
6: Togiak Inflatable Fishing Float Tube With Backpack Straps
This inflatable pontoon tube features a stadium style seat with a high back and adjustable backrest for extra comfort and benefits from a hydrodynamic hull for better maneuverability and improved stability.
There is lots of space for your gear on this one, with as many as 14 different pockets. The armrests offer zippered compartments as well as D-loops for attaching extra gear. There is a horizontal rod holder and even a storage platform behind the seat, not to mention a repair kit and safety flag pocket.
It is also easy to transport with the convenient backpacking shoulder straps.
7: Outcast Fish Cat 5 Max
If you’re big and tall, or just prefer a little more room when you’re out there on the water then this Fish Cat 5 Max could be a good choice for you. It is 20% larger than the Fish Cat 4, meaning you have an extra 2 inches of seat space.
It’s not only the seat area that’s larger, it’s also larger overall to allow for better buoyancy and stability. It features a foam seat and backrest to give you a little bit of elevation above the water for better visibility and more accurate casting.
It features zippered storage compartments on both armrests, to hold your fishing gear and it also has a conveniently located mesh stripping apron. There are D-loops on either side, which are ideal for attaching extra bags or gear.
8: Teton Inflatable Fishing Float Tube
This U-shaped float tube has a comfortable inflatable seat with integrated backrest. There are lots of storage compartments, with zippered armrest pouches and a back storage pocket.
It also benefits from having a horizontal rod holder, for convenience, as well as a mesh stripping apron with a fish ruler. The built-in D-loops are ideal for hooking on your extra gear or bags, or you could attach a strap to make the tube easier to transport, as it doesn’t have shoulder straps.
9: Caddis Sports Pro 2000 Float Tube
This teardrop shaped float has a low profile to make it more hydrodynamic and boosts its stability in the water. Featuring double zippered storage compartments on both armrests, there’s space for your fishing gear or snacks, and there’s even a storage area for larger items behind the seat.
The seat is made from a comfortable 2 inch foam material with an adjustable backrest for extra comfort, meaning you can sit a little higher and drier. Casting your line may also be easier.
Another handy feature is the stabilizing bar that has a stripping apron attached. It also has the benefit of removeable shoulder straps that you can attach to the D-loops to make it easier to carry.
After reading this article, you will hopefully know a little more about float tubes. They can be a great vessel for fishing and a cost efficient way of getting out there on the water.
A float tube is easier to transport than a boat, making it a good choice for anyone who has to travel a little distance to get to the water, but they’re also able to access areas of the water that other vessels might not be able to.
This means you can have access to better fishing areas, and the fact that you’re floating along, paddling with your feet means you’re less likely to disturb the fish you’re wanting to catch.
Just remember to choose a tube that’s practical and comfortable for you and when you’re out on the water, make sure safety is a priority. Watch out for other water traffic and keep out of the way of other fishing lines and you should have a fantastic time on the water.
Do you use a float tube? Think about getting one? Tell us about it below…