- Browning Uboat
- Gallatin Pontoon boat
- Kennebec Pontoon
- Togiak Fishing Float Tube
- U-Boat 2000
- Big Horn Float Tube
- Caddis Pro 2000
- Stillwater Talon
- ODC 420
- Seven Bass Flatform
Over the years I have had lots of experience in different types of tubes as you can see. I have been able to fish them in different situations and locations. I have built rod racks and fish finder mounts for them and have generally learned a lot as far as what worked best at least for me. So what should you look for when you are buying your first or next float tube.
I believe after fishing in the float tubes with sling bottom seats that being high out of the water is a plus, and would be what most are looking for. However I have noticed that the higher you are out of the water the more you are at the mercy of the wind that comes up when you are on the water. It is simple the more body under the water the less you are moved by the wind. Of course the flip side is the more body in the water the more you are subject to the currents of the water. So be sure to look at the areas you intend to fish and choose what would work best for you.
I think the next thing to look at is the tackle storage pockets, some boats have different designs but they are not all equal. I like the pockets that open to one large pouch using 2 zippers on either end, like what is found on the Cumberland. The pockets that have 2 pockets on each side that opens with one zipper for each side limit the ability to put in and take out your tackle with out any issues. Plus the sides matters you need enough room to put in your small size tackle boxes. A quick fix for these issue are smaller sized tackle boxes or zip lock bags to hold your tackle, this may not be an option for some.
Next you should be thinking of weight of the overall tube. This matters especially if you are like to hike to those back country fishing spots. Some tubes are pretty heavy some are amazing light and still some are right in the middle. I have used some very light weight tubes and they worked well but in most cases lacked the other things I liked in a float tube like small pockets or low seats. I have used much heavier tubes as well which have the quality and float high ability, but the weight does limit the distance you can park away form the water. In my opinion if you are like me, you don't hike but you do like to find new waters, weight can be and issue and you want to find the tube that fits your weight needs.
Finally you should also be looking for overall quality, or could I say longevity. It is nice to have a boat that you know will last you a few seasons of fishing, and one that can take the abuse we have can put or tubes through. The old adage is you get what you pay for and in the world of float tube fishing that is so true. You can spend as light as $80 and as much as $1500 what is your budget and what are you looking for. If you are someone that maybe goes out 2 or 3 times a year and just for the heck of it, maybe the low cost options are a good deal for you. Whoever if you are someone that heads out 2 to 3 time a month or more and fishing is a true passion and not just a fun occtional activtiy they you will be looking to spend some money to get a float tube that with with stand the infalte and deflate over and over again and the constent tossing in and out of your truck or car. It is very true you get what you pay for. But even if you buy on the lower end of the scale as long as you take care of your boat you can make it last.
I have tried many different tubes over that last 20 years some were great and some were not. Some I miss and some I do not, if you are looking to get in to this sport I hope I gave you some insight and helped you naviagate the wide world of float tubes that are out there. Shop around and ask around there is a lot of info out there you just need to search it out. The sport of float tube fishing is a passion of mine and I know it might not be for everyone, but if you get the right tube you might have a better experiance then you thought. Good luck and happy shopping.