Gear Float tube setup help

Questions about flyfishing gear, camping gear, whatever.

MGTom

Living at the place of many waters
WFF Supporter
My doughnut float tube died last spring. I just got a Fish Cat 4 and took it for a quick test run. It's a lot different and been a while since I've done much of it so I have a few questions.
1) I used my canoe PFD, a foam 3 strap type. It has no material low for a seat back but is really not ideal for bulk and mobility. I use a waistbelt in the big boat but that won't work well I don't think. So, I've seen an inflatable one from outcast (MTI?) that looks like it has straps that go between the legs? And one like an onyx that goes around the waist. I'm probably missing like the mustangs. What would be good in the tube? I think I can wear an additional little chest pack under it?
2) I used my little d cell pump to blow up my old one but that doesn't work well. Since I'll be packing in some times I think the K Pump mini looks good. Is that the way to go?
3) I never used and anchor but I'll want one. Does the little 2lb outcast anchor cut it for eastern wasington? Is there a better choice?
4) The end few feet of my old rocket taper does not float well. Makes it tough to set the hook with an indicator when the lines underwater. Most of my rods are medium or MF, not fast. Is the SA Anandro a good choice, maybe cortland FO, I like cortland. Recomendations? I got sink tips and full sinks.
5) My old outcast/caddis flat fins aren't great but worked OK for now. But that will be a later upgrade.
What I'm I missing? Checklist?
 
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IveofIone

WFF Supporter
I can't agree with Buzzy that the foam seat on the Fish Cat 4 is comfortable. To me it was like sitting on a bleacher seat for a Little League game-that lasted 14 innings! It is just a prostate killer. The inflatable seat is much more user friendly.

The NRS chinook is dandy in that the flotation is high and doesn't interfere with the seat back. I used one of those Co2 inflatable vest for years but now I'm not convinced that I could save my own ass if push came to shove. Hence the Chinook with passive flotation.

And of course I still think Force Fins are overpriced and over rated but since they are all some guys have ever used they swear by them. Shop around, you can do better.
 

Kilchis

WFF Supporter
Chalk up another vote for the NRS Chinook, especially in cool seasons. It provides substantial extra insulation. In summer I wear an auto-inflate pfd.

Like others above I use a cheap 12v Coleman inflator and then top off with a few strokes from a barrel pump that gets left in the truck. I don't pack a pump into the lake because if the tube starts leaking I'll be damned if I'm going to stay on the water in it.

I like the foam seat cushion and back. In case of a blowout I think they provide backup non-pnuematic flotation. I should note, however, that my prostate appears to have passed away.
 

Bruce Baker

Active Member
I initially used a Stolquist vest with my Fish Cat, but for Christmas a couple of years ago, I got a West Marine manual/auto inflate vest similar to this....https://www.sportsmans.com/fishing-gear-supplies/life-jackets/onyx-automaticmanual-am-24-pfd-inflatable-life-jacket/p/1404434?channel=shopping&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIror1jIvD7wIVsyitBh1JeQpOEAQYAyABEgJYQfD_BwE.

Less weight and bulk. I made mine manual due to being in a float tube.

I have hiked in with a K Pump 100 model and it inflates it just fine. Though I do agree, if you do not need to bring it with you, then I would leave it at the vehicle.
 

Buzzy

Active Member
Something else to think about if you're going to huff and puff your float tube a mile or so. A dry bag to carry your waders, wading boots, rain fly, sweater, etc - tie the bag to your float tube. Walking a mile or so in your waders, wading boots and heavy sweater makes you a heavy sweater (or at least it makes me a heavy sweater). I need to practice what I'm suggesting.

This past winter many of the Basin lakes weren't frozen over very long so there were opportunities to fish in Dec - Feb. I made the mistake (a couple times) of hiking 1.2 miles wearing waders/boots*. By the time I got to the lake I was sweating head to toe. Getting into your float tube in 40F water when you're sweaty in your waders - not the best situation. Troutpocket has it down to a science - eh, Rod? Same for Bakerite - eh, Jeff?



* wading boots for fins - I can sure suggest what NOT to buy.
 

MGTom

Living at the place of many waters
WFF Supporter
Something else to think about if you're going to huff and puff your float tube a mile or so. A dry bag to carry your waders, wading boots, rain fly, sweater, etc - tie the bag to your float tube. Walking a mile or so in your waders, wading boots and heavy sweater makes you a heavy sweater (or at least it makes me a heavy sweater). I need to practice what I'm suggesting.

This past winter many of the Basin lakes weren't frozen over very long so there were opportunities to fish in Dec - Feb. I made the mistake (a couple times) of hiking 1.2 miles wearing waders/boots*. By the time I got to the lake I was sweating head to toe. Getting into your float tube in 40F water when you're sweaty in your waders - not the best situation. Troutpocket has it down to a science - eh, Rod? Same for Bakerite - eh, Jeff?



* wading boots for fins - I can sure suggest what NOT to buy.
Helpful, thx. I'd half expected to strap it to my kelty like my tube. It will work, but not a slick as before. So I got the pack straps. I got the basics so now I just need to go a season and figure out the details. I'm sure I'll have questions along the way, and hopefully run into some folks out there.
 

Buzzy

Active Member
Helpful, thx. I'd half expected to strap it to my kelty like my tube. It will work, but not a slick as before. So I got the pack straps. I got the basics so now I just need to go a season and figure out the details. I'm sure I'll have questions along the way, and hopefully run into some folks out there.
I've been on the lookout for a backpack frame for sometime. I have Outcast's backpack straps and they work just fine but it sure seems like @bakerite tube on a backpack simplifies things.... or maybe the opposite.
 

MGTom

Living at the place of many waters
WFF Supporter
I've been on the lookout for a backpack frame for sometime. I have Outcast's backpack straps and they work just fine but it sure seems like @bakerite tube on a backpack simplifies things.... or maybe the opposite.
I have a nice old kelty I've used for about 45yrs. Fits just right. First I carried an old WW2 pilots emergency raft, fit well in the pack. Caught my first boat fish in Lenice from that. With a tube, I could put all the accessories in the pack, and strap the tube on the back, or fully deflate and put on top. The fishcats just bigger and more awkward.
 

Riogrande King

WFF Supporter
I have a nice old kelty I've used for about 45yrs. Fits just right. First I carried an old WW2 pilots emergency raft, fit well in the pack. Caught my first boat fish in Lenice from that. With a tube, I could put all the accessories in the pack, and strap the tube on the back, or fully deflate and put on top. The fishcats just bigger and more awkward.
Hey, I have a nice old Kelty of about the same vintage. A porcupine ate a hole in the bag during an ill-fated trip into the Gore Wilderness Area .
Planning on lashing a V boat to the frame this summer, too.
 

IveofIone

WFF Supporter
I have a nice old kelty I've used for about 45yrs. Fits just right. First I carried an old WW2 pilots emergency raft, fit well in the pack. Caught my first boat fish in Lenice from that. With a tube, I could put all the accessories in the pack, and strap the tube on the back, or fully deflate and put on top. The fishcats just bigger and more awkward.
A couple of suggestions from someone that has walked in with a Super Fat Cat for years. I use waist high waders and wear my boots on a walk-in. I don't have sweating problems and it is a helluva lot easier to pee. The waist highs are much cooler and certainly cooler than chest waders folded down.

Put some padding on the shoulder straps for added comfort. And do this!--get a waist strap to prevent the boat from swinging back and forth as you walk. If the boat swings from side to side while you are walking you will automatically compensate for that movement subconsciously, using up precious energy in the process.

I don't carry a pump but instead prefer to inflate the boat to it's recommended pressure before starting out. For this I use a float tube/pontoon boat pressure gage-something I use every time I inflate one of my boats. These don't cost much and will insure that your boat is always at it's maximum/optimum pressure. I have fished with guys that under inflate their boats-you don't want to be one of those guys.

I allow myself one quart Nalgene bottle of liquid, a large Payday bar which I buy by the carton and keep frozen and a small bag of mixed nuts. That is usually enough to keep me going for hours and doesn't weigh much. Fins are strapped to the boat, rain jacket/wind breaker in the pocket and Chinook vest either worn or strapped to the boat. Pockets on the Fat Cat boats are ample and carry the little stuff like a buff, sun gloves, a towel and some fly boxes. And always a roll of black electrical tape for emergencies, it has been remarkably useful at times.

After a couple of walk-in trips you will have it dialed and then it is just like running on cruise control.
 

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