One of the biggest hurdles to fishing is getting to prime spots that cannot be accessed by land or even boat. Float Tubes (also known as Belly Boats) are the perfect solution to those who want to get to those prime fishing spots that are hard to access by land or boat. It can be overkill bringing a canoe or even a boat to a place like this.
Certainly Fishing Float Tubes are not the only option available to you in many different types of water conditions as inflatable kayaks can do the trick as well. Float tubes are best for smaller bodies of water where using a kayak would be a bit excessive. Not to mention even more difficult to transport if the lake is harder to get to. In this guide we go over not just the best fishing float tube but the best float tubes for fly fishing.
Fishing Inner Tubes come in a few different designs and shapes, they come in round, U shaped, Pontoon and Teardrip forms each has their pros and cons
Round Tubes are among the most popular and were one of the first to come into market circulation. They are however, becoming less popular for a few reasons. As the Fishing Industry grows bigger there are more innovations that come about it. Many fishing companies have come to realise that round tubes are harder to maneuver and steer across a lake because there is no keel to them. They can also be quite cumbersome in terms of getting the right position to cast because you are surrounded by rubber barriers. One of their advantages is that they are very buoyant which means you sit further up.
U shaped tubes are the evolution of round tubes that first came into production. They are easier to get in and out of because unlike round tubes, your legs actually hang over. You also have a platform/bib by your knees where you can prepare tackleand fly fishing line. Some of these even have numbers on them where you can lay your fish down and see exactly how big it really is. May not be best to over exaggerate how big the fish is if you are with some buddies! These U shaped tubes often have storage pockets on each side of the tube where you can store various different fishing accessories like tackle, bait and replacement reels. These tubes are easier to maneuver than their round cousins but some models lack in back support. Keep this in mind if you are thinking of fishing for a long period of time.
Pontoon float tubes are pretty much like miniature pontoon boards in which instead of being surrounded by a tube you simplyjust have one on each side. This gives you better tracking and maneuverability when you are foot pedaling to your favorite fishing spot. In these tubes you sit higher out of the water which makes them ideal fly fishing vessels. Compared to u shaped tubes you have a lot more room available to you as you are not squished into a corner. This helps get in and out of the pontoon boat with relative ease.
Teardrip shaped floats combine the best of the pontoon float tubes and the u shaped tubes and really they look like a hybrid because of their hydrodynamic hull. essentially the tracking you get is that of the pontoon tubes because the back part is mostly out of the water. This means you can paddle across to your honey hole without doing too much correcting in the process. These are designedsimilar to a dinghy boat. You also get more backroom as the seatback is not connected to the teardrop part of the float. These teardrop shaped floats are great for those who want to go out and fish longer This is a newer float tube design that has entered the fishing market.
Advantages of using a Float Tube for Fishing
Truth be told there are many ways that you can get into the water and fish. In environments like bigger lakes or even coastal oceans float tubes probably would not be your best bet as you can cover more distance with fishing kayaks. There are much better vessels you can use to get where you need to go. I would also not particularly recommend float tubes for bodies of water that are constantly moving. This includes quicker flowing rivers or coastal rivers that are susceptible to the tide. Reason being that you can only go as fast as your feet/oars can paddle and float tubes are typically not designed to go long distances.
Where Float Tubes shine however, is when you are in a smaller body of water that may be harder to access by boat or even kayak for that matter. Float Tubes are often a favorite for anglers who have a smaller pond or lake that has little to no water movement. While fishing kayaks are all the rage right now there are some instances where it makes no sense to portage a kayak for a mile only to paddle on a half mile lake. With a float tube you simplyjust have to take a few minutes to blow it up and set it up (electric pump anyone?) and you are ready to paddle to a potential fishing spot.
They are also a great compromiser when it comes to not being able to reach a desired casting point by shore. It is also easier to cast into the weeds from a point in the lake as opposed to from the shore as there will be a lesser chance that your lure will be snagged. They also allow you to get into that sweet spot that fishing boats just can’t reach which widens your scope of fish you can potentially catch.
Everyone these days loves their inflatable and fishing kayaks but these options can start becoming expensive, especially if you are located up north. Where regular fishing is only good for 5 or 6 months a year. Not everyone has $500 + sitting around to spend on something they will realistically use 10- 15 times per year. With inner tube fishing, you can realistically spend between $90 and $300 and get a very good quality float tube that can last you for years.
Less Space, More Transportation!
One of the key reasons why fisherman like their fish tubes is that they don’t take up a lot of space! This allows you to skip the roof rack and go about worrying less about transportation and set up and more about fishing and what you are going to catch. You also do not need a designated launching area, you simply can just launch you and you float from wherever you desire!
Silent but Deadly
One of the things that makes inflatable fishing tubes so popular is that they do not make any noise when you are in the water. This is often a very important but overlooked aspect for many fisherman who do end up investing in boats or even hardshell kayaks. They make noise and fish tend to scare easily, a sudden start up of the motor or even thunk against a kayak can completely ruin your element of surprise reduces your chances of catching any fish to begin with. It’s one of the reasons why the Coleman Colorado Inflatable kayak is so popular. It’s inflatable which means any noises likes or rustling you make are relatively minimal compared to other materials.
Unlike motor boats or even many models of kayaks you can actually move while you are fishing. With many kinds of fishing float tubes you simply need to wear a pair of fins and kick in the water to propel you along. It is best that you do not kick frantically but rather slowly so that you do not make too much noise on the surface. Some float tubes (mostly the pontoon ones) do comes with oars that you can use as well if you did prefer paddling over kicking. Some are even compatible with trolling motors as well for those who do not want to exert any effort at all!
How to Choose the Best Float Tube for You
Step 1: Decide what Type of Fishing Float you want.
just above this paragraph we describe what the pros and cons of each vessel are. Some varieties like the round float tubes are starting to evaporate from the market while others like the tear drop shape floats are gaining momentum. Each float variety and model will have it’s pros and cons so it’s best to see what other verified customers think of the product. Find some common traits for each tube you are thinking about purchasing and figure out how it would impact your own fishing experience. An example would be if a floating fishing chair is too uncomfortable to sit in for hours then it’s best not to choose that for day long fishing trips.
Step 2: What is its Maximum weight Capacity?
One of the more important steps in the process, what kind of float tube you get should reflect your weight. If you are a bigger guy or gal then you are best to look at a float tube that has a 300 – 350 lb weight capacity. I always like to give a 40 lb lee-way in terms of which tube to pick. This is because you also have to consider what kind of gear you will be bringing with you. If you are 250 lbs I would be looking at a 300 lb + maximum capacity, especially if you are bringing more gear with you.
Step 3: Comfort
Each style and model of fishing float tubes has different levels of comfort. This is a pretty crucial step when choosing which tube will best fit you. Unlike sitting on a fishing paddle board where you can change positions and stretch. You are stuck in the seated position for a whole especially if you are a more hardcore fisherman.. If this does sound like you choose a model that verified customers say are comfortable. Use those Amazon reviews to your advantage!
Step 4: Storage Room
How much storage room refers to how much you tend to bring with you. Typically there are two kinds of fisherman: The ones that are minimalists and the ones that bring everything including the kitchen sink with them (ok that may not be viable). The more gear and gadgets the bring the more storage room you will need which would be in the forms of pockets flaps and rod holders. If you are minimalistic than you don’t have to worry about too much about this as you only need some rods, tackle or bait and some waders. Some fishermen that use these float tubes like to bring fishfinders, multiple rods, lots of tackle, gloves, food, snacks, beer, fishing line and much more. If you are the “kitchen skink” fisherman than you will especially have to keep this in mind. Another tip is to imagine what you are bringing with you on this fishing trip and try to imagine if everything would fit in the model you are looking for.
Step 5: How Portable is it?
portability of a fishing float refers to how big the fishing float is, how heavy it is and what kind of carrying case it comes in. If you are a ways away from the water and you have to hike a decent distance to get there then you will want a float tube that is lightweight. If the fishing hole you want to go to is easily accessible by car then it would not make to big of a different either way. The weight range of these fishing tubes ranges from around 7 lbs all the way up to 18 lbs.
The Togiak inflatable fishing float tube is made with high quality premium material. It is durable and performs season after season without tearing or leaking. This float can hold up in harsh weather conditions and still continue to deliver when on the water fishing.
This float is specially designed to ease tracking and steering. It does this by having two seperate bladders extend into the water like a pontoon boat. This creates little drag when paddling. Togiak inflatable fishing float has a comfortable foam seat that keeps you dry and well above water. The foam seat also provides a stable base making it easier to cast and reel.
Plush and spacious armrests on this float tube double up as storage, so you can carry fishing gear and other items. Multiple zipped pockets help organize your gear better so there isn’t a tangled mess when you are out fishing.
Backrest on this float tube is adjustable as per convenience, facilitating extended use for hours. Togiak inflatable fishing tube has a good loadbearing capacity of up to 300 pounds, making it suitable for almost everyone.
Plus sized users said they absolutely loved the experience of using this float tube as it can support up to 300 pounds of weight. Online reviewers mentioned how happy they are with the thoughtfully ergonomic design as everything they need while angling, is comfortably within reach. Some customers have been using this float tube for over five years and are impressed with how easy it is to maneuver the float tube when in the water.
What We Liked
Strength and durability – this float tube delivers topnotch performance year after year, regardless the weather conditions it is brought into.
Prolonged use does not cause discomfort or backache, owing to the plush foam seat as well as adjustable backrest.
Storage is made accessible and easy with multiple zipped pockets on the armrest.
Impressive weight carrying capacity (up to 325 pound)
Made with durable, heavy duty material
Comfortable foam seat and backrest
2 ergonomically placed pockets for easy access to equipment
Sturdy design easily withstands scrapes and bumps
Features hydrodynamic hull
Caddis Sports Premier Plus float tube has been made with durable, heavy duty material that prevents rips. Front ends and bottom are lined with sturdy tarpaulin as those parts have maximum surface contact with water.
This float tube houses 2 ergonomically placed pockets for easy access to equipment and 2 additional small pockets to store other essential items. Easily accessible fishing rods are held in place with secure Velcro grips.
This float tube has an impressive loadbearing capacity of up to 325 pound. Caddis Premier Plus float tube offers fantastic buoyancy even with plus sized users. This float tube performs very well under a wide range of weather conditions.
Plush foam seat is 4 inches thick and makes for firm, stable platform to cast and reel. 2 inches thick foam backrest is adjustable as per convenience for prolonged use. Stripping apron comes with a fish ruler so you can measure the size of your catch instantly.
Online reviewers find it great that this float tube seats them higher offering a better view. The foam seat on Caddis Premier Plus float tube is so plush that users said they felt as if they were fishing from the comfort of a recliner chair. Heavyweight users are pleased to use this float tube due to its carrying capacity.
What We Liked
Good load bearing strength, making it suitable for use even for plus sized individuals.
Light in weight and easy to carry even when inflated. Heavy duty material prevents rips when walking down trails to get to the water.
Caddis Premier Plus float tube inflates easily and is equally easy to air down.
What we didn’t like
This float tube would have trumped on the convenience parameter had it been provided with straps to carry it like a backpack.
Critical seams are double stitched for added durability and strength
Ample storage with 2 large pockets, 2 small pockets and rear cargo storage
Caddis Sports PRO 2000 float tube is made with durable, protective material that is well suited for using in water. Critical seams on this float tube are double stitched for added durability and strength. It’s unique shape and design enhances stability of the float tube.
This float tube, though compact in size, has a lot of storage to comfortably carry your gear. Two large pockets can carry fishing gear and related equipment and two small pockets and a rear cargo storage to stow other necessary items.
Caddis Sports PRO 2000 float tube has a carrying capacity of up to 250 pound. The buoyancy isn’t affected even with plus sized persons aboard. The foam seat is comfortable offering a stable base to cast and reel.
Customers who have used this float tube find it very convenient to carry using the straps that come with the float tube. They found the float tube to be very light in weight even after it was inflated and they could easily walk the trail leading to the water, carrying the float tube like a backpack.Users have said the material is superior, durable and has held up even in extreme weather conditions.
What We Liked
This float tube comes with straps, so you can carry it conveniently like a backpack.
Very light in weight even after it is inflated.
For its compact size, this float tube packs in plentiful storage.
Works well even for plus sized and heavyweight persons.
Caddis Sports PRO 2000 float tube is great value for money. It is one of the best float tubes in its class.
What We Didn’t Like
Backrest is not adequately comfortable and causes backache after extended use.
The Cumberland float tube inflates within minutes. Storage pockets on this float tube are large enough to carry fishing gear and other essential items and are very ergonomically placed, making it easy to reach while you are seated.
The foam seat on this float tube is plush and comfortable, allowing prolonged use without any discomfort. The seat is higher in height, so you can enjoy a better view and cast well. The backrest is adjustable to suit the user’s convenience.
The Cumberland float tube has detachable straps at the bottom of the seat. These straps can be used to carry the float tube around like you would carry a backpack. Even when inflated, this float tube is incredibly light to carry around.
This float tube is made with high quality premium material that can withstand harsh weathers and strong currents. The durable build of the Cumberland float tube, helps it last through many seasons.
Online reviewers have said the Cumberland float tube is an absolute steal at the price it is offered at. This float tube has endured rough handling over years and is still working fine with no tears or leaks whatsoever. Users have said, the seat is so comfortable that it almost feels like they are in a lounging chair. They have found the float tube extremely easy to carry around, as it light in weight.
What We Liked
The seat on Cumberland float tube is higher, ensuring you get a better view, cast well and also stay dry.
Comfortably carries heavier individuals.
This float tube is made with durable material that can withstand harsh weathers.
Has ample storage area and storages are within reach while seated.
What we didn’t like
The backrest isn’t comfortable for tall people as it can cause discomfort after using for 4-5 hours.
Good capacity for carrying weight (up to 300 pounds)
Bright colored rear panel for easy visibility
High quality and durable material
Bighorn inflatable fishing float tube is just as easily to use inflated as it is deflated. The armrest is spacious and has multiple zipped pockets so you can carry fishing gear and other essential items comfortably without getting the items in a tangled mess.
The unique shape and design of this float tube offer better tracking and navigating ability. The Bighorn inflatable fishing float tube has a fish ruler fashioned on the stripping apron so you can instantly check the size of your catch.
Made with high quality durable material, this float tube holds up in the toughest weather conditions without a tear or leak. The sturdy build of this float tube ensures that it serves you season after season with the same efficiency.
Customers, who have used the Bighorn inflatable fishing float tube, say that they would definitely recommend it to their family and friends. Online reviewers have said that they find this float tube, absolutely comfortable to sit in for hours together. The comfort offered in this float tube allows users to cast easily and makes their overall experience better. Plus sized and heavyweight users have said the Bighorn inflatable fishing float tube held their weight well. Users also said that they have been using this float tube for years and have had no complains with regards to durability.
What We Liked
Multiple zipped pockets to carry gear comfortably without getting things mixed up in a tangled mess.
Sturdy and durable to withstand a wide range of weather conditions.
Bighorn inflatable fishing float tube can carry weight up to 300 pounds, making it suitable for almost everyone.
This float tube is remarkably light in weight and absolutely easy to carry around even when inflated.
What we didn’t like
There is less space to sit if the auxiliary bladder is pumped to optimal capacity making it very uncomfortable.
Looking for a comfortable float tube that is light in weight and on the pocket? Look no more. Outcast Fish Cat 4 is the ideal choice for anglers. Made with premium vinyl material, this float tube is durable and sturdy.
The Outcast Fish Cat float tube has a foam seat that provides a firm and comfortable base that makes it easier to cast and reel. This float tube is equipped with two large cargo pockets making it easy to carry fishing gear and other essential items.
Boston valves on the Outcast Fish Cat float tube facilitate quick and easy inflation. This float tube is ideal for anglers who wish to go fishing in ponds, lakes and reservoirs. The bottom of this float tube is thick lined making it easy to maneuver over branches and other debris on the surface of the water.
Users have found the Outcast Fish Cat float tube to be very durable and sturdy. They said this float tube has endured extreme weathers from blazing sun to bitter cold and has delivered flawlessly with no complains of leakages or tearing up. Reviewers have mentioned that the pockets are large and spacious enough to fit in the necessary accessories and equipment needed for their fishing expedition.
What We Liked
Outcast Fish Cat float tube is lightweight and easy to carry even when inflated.
Storing this float tube with other accessories and fishing gear is easy as its storage bag is slightly oversized.
The foam seat is a little higher, providing good leverage.
Outcast Fish Cat float tube offers great value for money and is among the best in its class of float tubes.
What We Didn’t Like
The foam seat is a little bit too rigid making it bulky when packing in.
How to Float Tube Fly Fish
When teaching a technique I always like to include a video so that you can see what you are doing. Here is a great video of beginner trying out float tube fishing for the first time.
As you can see getting a pair of fins is generally a good idea because you will be exerting less effort while traveling at a better pace. You can also see that the tear drop floats are popular because they give you more room to put accessories like nets in the back. With U shaped and round floats it would be less ergonomic.
A few tips
If you are a righty caster put your rods on the left side so that you do not cross rods
Bring a PFD, especially if you are fishing alone
When kicking keep your feet further down: this gives you more efficient strokes and there is no splashing which means no spooked fish!
Cast away from the wind (wind hitting your back) so that the line does not come back at you
Keep your rod higher when casting because you are more level with the water
How to Pack a Float Tube for Fishing
Remember when I was talking about “kitchen sink” fisherman? Well heres the setup that Ornery Bob uses. Of course you don’t have to use this setup and if you are a beginner I probably would not recommend it just because there are too many stumbling blocks that can cut into your time of actually fishing! But this does give inspiration should you one day want to give this setup a go.
These are my personal favorite fish that i always want to catch when I’m out east. Northern Pike are slender predatory fish that wait in the weeds and strike unsuspecting fish. Typically you are best trolling in weed beds and shallower waters to catch these fish. Troll quickly though as these fish like to attack faster moving prey. They tend to like bigger shiny lures/ spinners and spoon and crankbaits but smaller ones can be caught with bobbers and worms. With these fish it is best to have a net and pliers handy as these fish have very sharp teeth! I learned this the hard way!
Bigmouth and Smallmouth Bass
Bass are the poster child of fishing because of the fight that they bring. While I personally prefer my Northern Pike, Bass put up a heck of a fight, even the smaller ones! The main differences between small and largemouth bass is the jawline. Largemouth bass have a jawline that extend past their eye while smallmouth bass have a smaller jawline. To land one of these guys it is best to fish in the spring and fall seasons and they typically like to hang out in the same areas. There is a wide variety of ways to catch bass. They range from trolling to fly fishing but they tend to go for bait/ jigs, crankbaits, crayfish, spinners and minnow look alikes.
Perch and Sunfish are usually my most common catches out east, nothing to brag about really but perch can grow to become a half decent size. When casting for perch it is best to use live bait and smaller hooks. This is because perch tend to swallow hooks so if you used a bigger hook it may be more difficult to get out of the fish. I’ve sometimes used Perch as bait fish which can attract Pike and Bass.
Rainbow trout like faster moving colder water because of the abundance of oxygen in the water. It is not uncommon to catch them in in bigger lakes. The best time to catch these fish is usually in early spring to the fall months. These fish can be caught with bobbers and live bait that are as simple as a hook and a worm. Rainbow trout also respond well to fly fishing as they are one of the more popular fly fishing fish. Hot Tip: If the body of water you are in has a waterfall fish close to it. Trout like the swirling water as it gives off lots of oxygen.
The best float tube for fishing activities like trolling is the Classic Accessories Togiak Inflatable Fishing Float Tube. It is comfortable, tracks well, offers great stability and gives you many options in terms of where to put lures and other tackle. While other float tubes seemed to be more specialised in certain areas but fell short in others.
The best fly fishing float tube is the Cumberland Inflatable Float Tube. One of the biggest reasons why is that it allows you to sit higher than other float tubes which is essential, especially when fly fishing. It also features a good higher weight capacity for those who want to carry more gear such as fish finders, nets and multiple rods.