Saltwater float tubing

Has anybody used their float tube in the saltwater before ? I have done it once in Quilcene bay, but I was wondering if other people have done it and what their experience was, especially concerning tides.
Quilcene bay is fairly quiet and with the wind interacting against the tide I was in pretty good shape and could go anywhere I wanted. It just took some time.

I was thinking of heading out to Fox Island for some resident Coho action, but I am boatless tomorrow. So I was thinking: either my fat cat float tube or my inflatable kayak, which is not as nice to fish out of. And since it will invovle a lot of stripping in line, I prefer the fat cat.
So am I crazy for wanting to do this ?
I definetly have studied the tide grpahs as well as current velocities. Check out this cool site:

What about Marine mammals ? Has anbody ever heard of somebodys legs being mistaken for a big fish by some hungry seal? Am I just paranoid ?
Tell me about your experience !



P.s. If somebody is taking their boat out for some resident coho fishing tomorrow and has room. I am more than willing to ditch my crazy idea and jump in your boat ! Although the idea is intriguing to me....
In the same respect if somebody is crazy enough to come out with their float tube tomorrow and wants to join this adventure let me know as well.
I've used a float tube in Hood Canal several times. Worked great there. However, I've tried it in the Gig Harbor/Fox Island, and found the tides there to be far too strong. I was fighting to maintain my position constantly. Even with a 6 pound anchor it was a no-go.


Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
I saw a guy at Hoodsport one time, he was using one to get to the chums from the opposite side of the run, away from the crowds. It did not take long for some of those guys to start target practise on him using jigs, spoons etc.
It did notlook like much fun. I guess in a small or protected area it could be good and fun, very practical.

But you are at some risk using a float tube in a marine area. One thing is reduced visibility and the danger of getting run over by a big boat. You should be wearing bright colors and a highly rated floation vest-PFD,(not a manual or auto-inflatable). And you would have to be very careful about off shore exposure, weather changes and wave height etc. Maybe staying close to the edges etc. I think it could be very fun under some circumstances. But it could go wrong for you if you werent careful.


Active Member
Yep. Once at Warm Beach. That's definitely a good place for float tubing. That day, the current wasn't anything close to being a problem. Sadly, the silvers had lock-jaw. The only people catching were those vile treble-hook snaggers. :mad:


Active Member
Once in one of my more foolhardy moments many years ago, I went out in my U-boat tube off Bush Point. I fished the kelp beds near the white rock in the bay. I wrapped my legs around the kelp fronds to keep from getting washed back down to Edmonds or beyond. I cast my popper into the holes in the kelp and was doing pretty good. I kept one fish that day and in another foolish moment, I strung it on a piece of leader and let it dangle in the water by legs. I didn't think about how tasty it (or we) would look to any passing sea lion. To top off my day of foolishness, I got lazy and let the tide carry me back to the boat launch. The current was way too strong and I couldn't kick hard enough to get back to the beach and I got washed into the pilings under the restaurant. I quit worrying about my rod and grabbed ahold of a metal bolt sticking out from the concrete bulkhead and pulled my way back uptide using the bolts. I finally got around the bulkhead and on the beach where I stood up out of breath, with a cramp in my left calf and my heart feeling like it was going to come out of my waders.

My advice is to be very careful where you tube in saltwater.

I have done it in my younger more foolhardy days. I'm middle age now and more cautious. On a calm day, with little current, a slow moving tide, and staying close to shore I might try it but probably not. A PFD is an absolute must and Bob's caution about getting run over is very well placed. At the very least consider a WaterMaster or WaterStrider kickboat. If you get in trouble with current, wind or tide you can row like heck to save your rear end. I have fished several times at Point Robinson on Vashon Island. Even on a very calm day between tides the current just rips around that point. A float tube there would be in Tacoma before you know it. I have been at Kayak on late summer days when the water and the air are simply dead calm. A float tube on a day like that might be okay but on balance you're better off with more boat and some oars.
miyawaki said:
My advice is to be very careful where you tube in saltwater.
Leland, after your story, I think "be very careful" might be a little bit of an understatement.

I'm going to scratch float tubing in the Sound off my list of things to try. :)


Active Member
Here's another one for you.

I once launched into the mouth of the Cedar River in Renton and kicked out into Lake Washington to fish for Sockeye. There were three problems with doing that. One, I was in the float plane landing path. Two, there was nowhere to pull out and go to the potty. And three, I couldn't kick back up river to where I launched from. Not saltwater, but a problem nonetheless.



Save Hood Canal
no exciting stories to tell but i have found that using my pontoon in the salt was a lot of work trying to stay in position. easier to cast from the beach and just as effective most of the time.
Thanks for all your info.
After careful consideration, or stuburn persistance, I decided to launch into the frozen waters of South Puget Sound on Friday. I studied the tide charts and currents so I figured I can take the tide out and back to the boat launch with minimal effort. Just in case something goes wrong, I decided to bring my kayak paddle for extra power.
Damn micro currents ! Of course I launched my U-Boot "Zerstoerer" into a huge eddy, which pushed me the wrong way that I wanted to go. So I had to use my paddle, which help a bit. I tied my self up to a buoy and fished for resident silvers. I only caught one in four hours, of course it happened in the first half hour which makes you think that fishing is going to be great and then you stay extra long time out there. It was a nice 15 incher that had been feeding on a sandlance and then on a chartreuse clouser. After that my wife was feeding on it ! I wonder what the sandlance was feeding on before it became part of the food chain ?
Yes. Going potty is a problem ! Oh well, the backyards of these multimillion dollar mansions need some fertilizer, too. And their cocker spaniels weren't that intimitading.
Overall, I would do it again, but I think it's is very important to know your tides and especially know the currents at the particular site you are going to.
Good luck to anybody else who is going to try this out.

P.s. The resident silvers were still out there but not in big schools as I was expecting.


Not really related to your question, but I've considered taking some people out in my boat and then deploying them in their float tubes from "the mothership" - if you can call a 17' boat that. I personally wouldn't do it, my biggest concern would be other boaters not seeing me in the tube. I think being that close to some of the big seals would freak me out to.


Good point about the seals. I've had them close enough to hit with my rod tip, (as if they would remain still long enough for that.) But one point, if you decide to keep a fish, make sure that you don't have it hanging in the water. Seals have big brass ones. They will not only take the fish you are playing, they will rip you off of your dinner.
When you are wearing fins in your tube/pontoon boat, you gotta think, does these seals know that it's a flipper and not a big black fish...................


Jeff Dodd

Active Member
Reading your post had me leaning for the bolts too! I fish Bush a lot and that tide really picks up through there. There is a guy who anchors in the hole off the point, in the backwater, and hangs there for hours. I've not seen who he is, but he's got the system down. I can't tell if he's in a float tube or a pontoon boat, but whatever it is, it's not enough for that water.

The white rock area is the best bet for this stretch of beach, but the wind and waves kick up in this area way too fast. Even in my 18' kayak I keep a close eye on the weather and tides.

What we'll do for access to a good fishing spot!
Look: if nobody else is going to say it, I guess I'll have to. Are you guys nuts?

I'm sorry but I'm worried about you guys. This is a really stupid idea and the fact that people happened to have lived through it doesn't make it any better. I'm not saying that it can't be done, or even that it necessarily shouldn't be done (people do climb mountains and jump out of airplanes I guess), but this keep your wits about ya you'll be fine attitude is a little flip. You guys need to have a little more respect for water. If you don't know what the local tide conditions are like, it's not a good idea to test them with a float tube, unless you want to send out an unoccupied test probe. Marine waters move around in big giant powerful chunks, winds are incredibly dynamic, and a float tube is a little less sea worthy than a waterlogged plank. The water in Puget Sound is cold enough in most seasons that you're unlikely to survive a five-minute swim to shore. You won't die in five minutes, but hypothermia will start setting in, and you'll decide a little nap on the bottom will help you rest up before swimming the rest of the way in.



Proud to Be Alaskan
people apparently do it in Valdez for silvers and pinks I wouldn't want to though because of sea lions tend to think you are challenger sea lion and tend to bump you (never hear of anybody getten bitten). Tides can be predicted though. I'd love to catch a silver in a float tube.