What have you learned about float tubes?

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by eJohn, Mar 15, 2006.

  1. eJohn New Member

    Posts: 12
    Bellevue, Wa, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I'm in the market for a float tube. I'm looking at the 'U' or pontoon variety where you actually sit out of the water (supposedly). I need the portability of the tube for some trips this year. I hate buying without experience 'cause I know what that's like. I don't necessarily need a super light weight one, but I do want to be able to carry it up to a half mile. Appreciate any tips/recommendations out there from your experience. Thanks in advance!
  2. earlsmith Member

    Posts: 499
    Seattle
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Want have you learned about float tubes?

    I started with a sit in style tube for roughly $60 and was never insatisfied with the performance, I now have a bucksbag pontoon boat that soooo much nicer, you have to wiegh portability against comfort and ease of use, if your hiking, the float tube cannot be beat, if you have accessability, then maybe a pontoon style boat is for you. The one I own was roughly $600 so there is a huge price jump to the nicer pontoons, I have a friend who has a "U boat" and I only use my float tube if we hike in, we deflate them and take along a dual action pump, it really is a decision you should make based on 90 percent of the access to the fishing you do. I do both, and use my pontoon boat more often, and use it in rivers, ect. it has served more of my fishing needs than the tube, and much faster, easier on the body, more manuverable, I could go on, but I REALLY like the pontoon boats as opposed to the tubes. Mine breaks down into a packable unit, but it weighs 65 lbs before you take along all your fishing gear, so it is prohibitive to pack in fishing, My tube deflated, wieghs maybe 20 w the pump, so it works better


    Earl Smith
  3. eJohn New Member

    Posts: 12
    Bellevue, Wa, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Want have you learned about float tubes?

    Thanks Earl, I should have mentioned I do have a 10' pontoon boat which I use a lot in both still and moving water. It just doesn't cut it when the trail in is more than a couple hundred yards. My wife and I are doing a big loop south to Santa Fe and back this spring in our camper and I'm looking at float tubes 'cause they'll be much easier to store and quicker to set up and deploy - taking our pontoons isn't really practicle for this trip.

    John
  4. Old Man Just an Old Man

    Posts: 21,540
    Dillon, Mt
    Ratings: +1,626 / 0
    Want have you learned about float tubes?

    Go to the Cabalas web site and do the search thing for float tubes. They have a comparision chart there on all that they sell. It is quite imformative. It give the sizes to the weight to the cost.

    Jim
  5. Flyn'dutchman Member

    Posts: 459
    Wenatchee, WA
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    Want have you learned about float tubes?

    Fish Cats or Fat Cats can't be beat. Fish Cats are a great value if you weigh under 200#. Fat Cat will hold up more weight. Either will hold up great and the fish cat at about $140 won't break the bank for two. Had mine for about three years now and use it a lot. Has held up well. Upgraded fish cat with inflatable seat for a little more might be better if you are trying to pack two into a car. Might be a little more comfortable also.
  6. North Sounder New Member

    Posts: 23
    Hansville, Wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Want have you learned about float tubes?

    I'm getting ready to buy another Fish Cat 4 Deluxe.
    I bought one last year for my wife and the few times she has let me use it has made me want to toss my old Caddis tube out. The best price I have found so far is at thefullcreel.com 199.00 no tax, no shipping.

    Tom
  7. Banzai FFing and VWs...Bugs & Bugs

    Posts: 786
    Bremerton, WA
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    Want have you learned about float tubes?

    Jim has some good advice there. I currently own a Fishcat Cougar 8' quad tube 'toon and a Caddis 6' toon(thanks Willie) and like them for the speed I can cover the water as well as the cargo I can carry. Used to have an old Caddis Deluxe square/round tube, the "fat guy" model. If you didn't care about covering a whole lot of water, it was a good rig. Very stable, light, but a challange to get in and out of with flippers on. I managed to provide some entertainment for others at the lake at times because of that. I had backpack straps for it and managed a few day trips with it. Final decision will be based on what you want from your floating device.
  8. IveofIone Active Member

    Posts: 3,041
    .
    Ratings: +1,034 / 0
    Want have you learned about float tubes?

    Fat Cats are a good call. I am starting on my 4th year in one and have been very happy with it. Mine has the inflatable seat so it can break down quite small. It also has carrying straps and at less than 15# is very easy to hike a mile or so with when fully inflated. Since I will be 70 next year ease of transport is important to me. Next month I will be doing a walk in to a chain of lakes with the Fat Cat on my back, breathable waders rolled down to the waist, 2- 4 pc fly rods, reels and spools, a qt. of water, some snacks and a rain jacket. Fins are strapped to the boat and I'll carry a walking staff to ward off rattlers. Total load will be under 30#.
    The FC keeps your butt out of the water, rides very well and is big and wide enough that you don't feel like you are casting out of a phone booth. I'm sure other V/U boats are equally as handy also.
    Check the warranties before you buy. Most have a one year warranty but my boat has a three year warranty. In the third year my seat got a slow leak in it that I never could find so I sent it back and they replaced it with an upgraded model with no questions asked. Excellent service.
    Happy shopping, Ive
  9. ceviche Active Member

    Posts: 2,312
    Shoreline, Washington, U.S.A.
    Ratings: +42 / 0
    Go to Outdoor Emporium (4th Ave. South, just east of Safeco Field) and check out this particular float tube they have. It is aW.W. Grigg V-style tube with an inflatable seat. I think it's still going for around $100.

    Inflatable seats, though they increase deployment time, allow for greater compactness. This is an issue when it comes to bike or hike fishing--as well as storage. They also keep your butt out of the water, though probably not as well as those bulky foam seats.

    One of the great advantages that tubes have over pontoon boats is that your legs are the sea anchor. Whenever the wind picks up, pontoon boats run the risk of flipping over or getting blown ashore a long ways from where your ride is. Yes, we've read those stories. This isn't the case with float tubes: Drift is inherently limited by the drag created by your legs. The worse thing that can happen with the float tube is you getting pooped-out or getting a cramp before making it back. That hasn't happened to me yet--fortunately. Another virtue to the 'tube is that you can troll a lot slower than a 'toon. In winter or when you have to go real deep, the tube wins out again.

    Naturally, the great thing about a 'toon is that you aren't as likely to freeze your 'nads off when the water temp is in the 40's, as well as being able to transit large distances of water in a relatively short amount of time. These are the typical "wussy" reasons people spout forth when touting pontoon boats. If there is a reason to get a 'toon, it's for when you are drifting a river. I'll stand by that rationale any day.
  10. Desmond Wiles Sir Castaline

    Posts: 812
    Snohomish, Wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    "What have you learned about float tubes?"

    You can't walk forward in the water with fins on!:eek:
  11. Dick Warnke was Pram-Man

    Posts: 761
    Federal Way Wa
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    That after 15+ years fishing in a tube...I'm much happier fishing out of a Pram...;)
  12. Keith Hixson Active Member

    Posts: 1,495
    College Place, Washington
    Ratings: +52 / 0
    Float tubes are slow moving from one area of the lake to another. "Toons" allow you to move from one area to another guicker. If you get a cramp in a tube, it may be hours before you get out.bawling: "Toons" you can also sit and use your fins for slower fishing if you desire. However, most "toons" are too heavy to do much backpacking. If you are backpacking, go with a tube. But, since you already have a pontoon, I'd wouldn't spend a lot because you won't use often unless you are backpack addict.

    K.
  13. Donald Johnson cuttman

    Posts: 121
    Seaview WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    With a tube it never failed, got to the middle of the lake and I had to take a leak. With toons, the trip back near shore is much quicker.
  14. TheShadKing Will Fish For Food

    Posts: 261
    Bellevue, WA
    Ratings: +4 / 0
    That mice looking for bedding will happily chew a hole in one. :mad:
  15. eJohn New Member

    Posts: 12
    Bellevue, Wa, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Great feedback, thanks to all. I've already looked at the fish cat deluxe and it looks good.
  16. Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Posts: 7,135
    Not sure
    Ratings: +1,224 / 0
    In my experience, the few float tubes I've seen that actually keep your ass up out of the water extract a high price in the form of a seat made from a rigid foam block that's awkward to stow or pack.

    For me, sitting down with my boys in the water is a small price to pay for a tube that rolls up to a compact cylinder which I can backpack in to lakes that aren't choked with other fishers in pontoons, prams or canoes. If I want to sit up out of the water, I'll drag my pontoon out to a drive-in lake instead and put up with the crowds.

    K
  17. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,679
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,727 / 0
    Do not, I repeat, DO NOT leave an inflated float tube inside your pickup canopy on a warm, sunny day.:ray1:
  18. marcopolo Member

    Posts: 87
    Your City ,State
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Or keep a fully inflated tube in your car/truck while driving over a mountain pass! Same for pontoons as a matter of fact.
  19. tythetier Fish Slayer

    Posts: 1,535
    WASHOUGAL, WA
    Ratings: +40 / 0
    I have the Caddis Nevada. Cheap price plus you can balance it on your head inflated for about a mile before your neck gets cramped. The only adventure I have had was while I was at my favorite lake doing a slow troll when all of the sudden I hear the sound of a Piccolo Pete, I start looking around in panic thinking somone is gonna shoot me with a bottle rocket, and my buddy says "dude...thats you!!" The cork that I was using as a plug came loose and it started to deflate.

    Other than that it has treated me well!

    Ty
  20. tippet hardcore flyfishing addict

    Posts: 113
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    I have a Bucks Bronco pontoon boat and 4 Super Fat Cats made by Outcast. (I have so many so that multiple family members can fish.) I absolutely love my Super Fat Cats! I do alot of lake fishing and my pontoon boat collects dust in the garage because I prefer fishing from a SFC on lakes. They are light, set-up is minimal ( I transport the tube in my warm car, then top off the tube with air when I get to the lake for reasons mentioned above), you sit high in the water, and they move extremely well with fins, even in fairly heavy wind. They cost alot, but you are paying for a well-constructed, safe product that has proven to be VERY durable. Good luck with your search!