+1 for Outcast, have the Super Fat Cat, great capacity (small cooler in the bow, anchor, net, etc.), very comfy with good adjustment, nice hight seating position maintained by the inflating seat, great storage, wicked stable and reasonably light given the level of stability and rugged construction. You don't have to buy the super expensive funny shaped fins either, I recommend starting out with cheapo conventional fins to start.... but don't skimp on the pump unless you're up for one heck of a workout and lost time on the water!
Are you talking a "U" tube where you are sitting a lot lower in the water and there is more surface touching the water which to me is harder to more.
Or a "V" which is probably the most popular. You have room behind the seat plus bags on the side for gear. You sit out of the water more or even completely. Stryofoam seat or blow up. The one with the styro seat will fold down to the size of the foam, the ones with the air seats fold very small.
There is many to choose from, but I recommend a URETHANE bladder, strong outer cover and stitching and a good name like OUTCAST, NFO. I hear 50/50 on the ODC
If you have the money, to me the best there is is the Freestlye H3
6 feet long and VERY STABIL on choppy water. Cuts through with ease, fantastic warranty and tuff as nails cover, plus "D" rings in all the right places.
And the Side bags are insulated for ice and drinks.
Just my choice, cause when it comes to me and the water, I want to be sure I have the best I can.
Joni has pretty well covered the best options. If you are dead set on the "U" tube design then the Bucks Bags Bullet is probable the best with 5 year warranty. Joni shows the Buck's Bags Mustang which is cheaper than the bullet. If you buy some other "U" tube make sure it has some way to keep the ends of the "U" apart.
WOW! I didn't even look what brand I posted, just looked for one, but I agree with Frank on Bucks. Does anyone else find it funny that BUCKS doesn't make a "V" tube? They make a killer Pontoon with two bladders in one.
It is a Caddis model, not sure what the stabilizer bar does in a float tube?
Any help would be great!
If it is a Doughnut shaped tube, there won't be a stabilizer. The Stabilizer bar is on "U" shaped tubes and the Daytripper style to keep the tubes on the side from curling inward. When you sit down, your body weight will pull the tubes in ON YOU. The stabilizer keeps them out, plus makes it more STABILE.
i've got a U shaped float tube, a caddis nevada gold which i picked up new at half price a couple of years ago ($49?). they even threw in a rod holder and pump i think. i'm not familiar with stabilizer bar design on other brands but i think all caddis-branded U shaped tubes have the same style. it's basically a cordura cloth-like covered PVC tube. yes, it keeps the tips of the U at a given distance away so it doesn't "collapse" on you and also forms the forward section of the skirt BUT it's a pain to engage once you're sitting in it in the water. one end goes in a side pocket, you force the other end of the "bar" into the other. a buddy warned me about the design's irritation and it was fine the first season but then i started thinking there's got to be a better design out there. just a heads up. i think a U shaped tube is much better than a fully circular donut style, but the V shaped tubes are even better than the U shaped ones. by the way, my cheap little caddis has what i think are poly or vinyl bladders. i didn't know better back then but at the same time i've had no problems with it. one other detail you may want to consider are the valves (and there better be at least two different parts of the tube you need to inflate in case one punctures while you're out on the water, even if one is just the backrest). some tubes only come with the valve type you may be familiar with on standard pool type inflatable toys. other valve designs form a better more secure engagement system for pumps. seek out the better design.
and which ever brand and model you go with, if it comes in different color choices, go for the brighter one. i don't think the fish will mind at all and a bright color sure helps others see you if your water is shared by other, faster craft which could possibly be piloted by the inebriated or sight challenged.
bucks bags has been around a long time and though they don't appear to advertise as much as others, i've read many positive reviews about them.
if i was going to buy another, and i might someday, AND money was a factor, i'd seriously look into a fish cat 4.
now float tubes are generally designed for still water. the freestyle H3 joni mentioned is one of very few ok for moving water if i remember correctly from the free dvd scadden offers.
in the end, any type of floating vehicle is going to open up great avenues for you in fishing. i love fishing from what's basically an inflatable lounge chair :-)