Float tube first impressions

gpwhitejr

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I have recounted elsewhere how I acquired a brand new Caddis High Sierra float tube for free, and how it has been collecting dust in my basement for a few years. Well, yesterday I used it for the first time. My daughter and her husband (it was nice to have two Sherpas) and I hiked up to Sterling Pond, a short but relatively gnarly climb. After considering various different options, I decided to carry the thing inflated, and was able to connect it to my backpack with some reusable zip ties and carabiners (it was real conversation starter with other folks we met on the trail). The only fins I have are my old ScubaPro Jetfins, which are pretty heavy and won't fit over wading boots. I tried a variety of different types of footwear, but ultimately just had to put the fins on over the waders with no boots. Fortunately there is a little small sandy entry area to the pond, so I don't think I did any damage to the waders. It was pretty clumsy getting in and out of the tube, and putting on and taking off the fins, but I managed to do it without hurting or embarrassing myself. It was pretty windy, but I didn't have much trouble steering the thing where I wanted to go and staying there; in that respect, for short distances anyway it has something of an advantage over the kayak (at least over a paddle kayak; I don't have a pedal kayak). I brought a four-weight fly rod and reel as well as a tenkara rod up to the pond, but I only used the tenkara rod.

Overall, it was pretty fun. I don't know if I want to lug it up that mountain again (though the tube itself isn't that heavy, my fins are, and a bunch of other crap I brought along since I didn't know what I would need, food water, jacket, sweat pants, etc.), but I may take it over to the local pond on days that I don't feel like dealing with the kayak. I do need to get a little more facile at getting in and out of the thing.

Oh, I didn't catch any fish yesterday. But it was still a fun day, a nice hike, and a stop for lunch in Stowe afterwards.

 

JoJer

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The getting in and out aspect becomes more important as you get older and less agile. I don't know if I would have more trouble putting on fins in the the tube or putting them on and stepping into a round or U-tube. Thinking about it makes me lean toward the idea of a sit-on type rather than a sit-in. And maybe those fins that fold up so you can walk in with them.
 

stenacron

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The getting in and out aspect becomes more important as you get older and less agile. I don't know if I would have more trouble putting on fins in the the tube or putting them on and stepping into a round or U-tube. Thinking about it makes me lean toward the idea of a sit-on type rather than a sit-in. And maybe those fins that fold up so you can walk in with them.
Yes, my 2nd time out in my tube I stumbled when trying to get up and out and did a full swan dive/face plant into the water. That was a cold and "sloshy" walk back to the car. What I failed to realize early on is that when the water is really cold, things don't straighten out as quickly as getting off the sofa at home! :p

Ever since, I crawfish it... put the fins on, use the tube as a stabilizer, and creep backwards to knee-deep water. Then I get in and snug up the straps one more time before kicking off. Reverse the process getting out.
 

skunkedalot

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Great post- I do a lot if walk in pond fishing and thus, I am an avid float tuber. U shape is best. easiest to get into. Crawfish style launch is best. Place tube in water with opening facing you.
Put on the fins and walk into the tube. Make sure to tether your gear- all of it. I use a rod tether that attached to back of reel and attach to your wrist.
Any gear like fly cases I attach to a zinger. Always wear a floatation device and check the air in the tube. cold deflates.
Sterling Pond is a special beauty.
PM if you want more float tube info- glad to help.
 

gpwhitejr

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. U shape is best. easiest to get into. Crawfish style launch is best. Place tube in water with opening facing you.
Put on the fins and walk into the tube.
That makes sense. The tube I have is a round one. I waded out a little bit with my fins on; I have done a fair amount of scuba diving and maneuvering with fins on is not a problem, but the leg openings in the tube are just a little narrow for the width of my fins, so there was a little monkeying around to get into the thing. I have watched videos of fancy tubes that have basically a chair in them, you just sit down and put on your fins. I imagine they are a lot heavier than mine, but if I ever buy one that is the kind I would get, as long as I can park near the water. (The one I have I got for free from an acquaintance who had no use for it.)
 

Ringneck16

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I just sold my kayak. Too much trouble to store/haul etc. Is a float tube the way to go?
 

desmobob

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I just sold my kayak. Too much trouble to store/haul etc. Is a float tube the way to go?
I prefer them greatly. I love being able to move/maneuver with my feet while having both hands free to fish. I get frustrated fly fishing in a canoe or kayak when I have to pick up and put down a paddle to make corrections from getting blown around by the wind, etc.

The downside to float tubes is the lack of ability to easily travel longer distances on the water. A "pontube" helps cover more water than a normal tube by having oars to row with, or even an electric trolling motor if you prefer.

I have an ultra-light tube for backpacking (Wilderness Lite Backpacker Pro), a heavy-duty V-tube (Outcast FatCat), and a pontube (Scadden Raptor Lite Speed X). The Backpacker Pro will fit in a daypack. The FatCat and Raptor fit in the back of my Subaru Forester.
 

Ringneck16

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I agree on the paddle hassle as it has tested my coordination and I came up lacking! I see they have pedals now on some kayaks, but man they are expensive. I appreciate the comments.
 

skunkedalot

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Float tube and Yak is a nice combination which is what I do. The tube for walk in ponds, the yak for larger water. Both give you access to water that a boat cannot.
 

bassman37

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Hi guys and gals, newbie here. I just bought a Cumberland float tube and tried it out fishing this week with some success. While I enjoyed the tube I could not figure how to turn right or left without using my hands. Could someone explain the procedure? Many thanks in advance!
 

skunkedalot

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Bassman, you make your turns using the fins. kick right to go right and left fin to go left- the other stays stationary. backwards require both fins.
pm if you need more info- glad to help.
tubing is fun and a great way to fish. Remember to tether your rods and stuff to the tube and it goes w/o saying- always wear a floatation device.
Good luck.
 

bassman37

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Bassman, you make your turns using the fins. kick right to go right and left fin to go left- the other stays stationary. backwards require both fins.
pm if you need more info- glad to help.
tubing is fun and a great way to fish. Remember to tether your rods and stuff to the tube and it goes w/o saying- always wear a floatation device.
Good luck.
Hey Skunkedalot, thanks so much for the advise as I had no idea how to make turns. I am in the process of ordering a pack of tethers for my rods and pliers, etc. and I have an auto inflatable PFD (I won't leave shore without it}. This looks like a great forum and I'm glad that I found it.
 
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